(Pitts Family Papers)
Group of Papers and other materials of Esek Pitts, his son Amos Wood Pitts and family, of Mendon, Worcester County, Massachusetts, includes papers on Abolition, Slavery, History and Genealogy, 1819-1909

13 letters (35 manuscript pp), plus various papers ( 266 manuscript pp.) on Abolition and Slavery and History and Genealogy; plus other printed and manuscript paper ephemera and photographs, all dated 1819-1909.

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Esek Pitts (1775-1834), Amos Wood Pitts (1804-1858) and Esek B. Pitts (1837-1888)

Esek Pitts was born about 1775. He learned the trade of hatter, but became a pioneering wool manufacturer in the Mendon area of the Blackstone River Valley in Massachusetts. He was chosen as captain of a military company and was for many years a Justice of the Peace. He also served for many years as a selectman in the town of Mendon, Massachusetts, and for a couple of terms as a state legislator during the period of Andrew Jackson's presidency.

Esek married Abigail Wood on 5 April 1803, at Uxbridge, Massachusetts. Together the couple had at least eight children: Maria Pitts Fairbanks(1803-); Amos Wood Pitts, born 14 February 1804; Louisa Pitts Buffum (1805-); Esek Brown Pitts (d. 1837); Fanny Willard Pitts Munyan (1810-); Abigail Pitts Capron (1813-); Job Pitts (1815-1891); and Emeline Pitts Wallis (1819-1857). Esek died 12 September 1834, his wife died shortly thereafter on 7 October 1834.

The present collection of papers seems to have descended through the family of Amos Wood Pitts (1804-1858), as several items have his name or his son's name on them. Amos Wood Pitts was born 14 February 1804, at Uxbridge, Worcester County, Massachusetts, and died 16 November 1858. He had a good education in the higher English branches of scholarship and was a school committeeman and town clerk of Mendon at one time. Amos was also a skilled accountant and served in his youth as a sub-manager of a woolen manufacturer, presumably his father's company.

Amos Wood Pitts married Mary Ann Ballou. She was born about 8 June 1806 and died 12 January 1875. Together Amos and Mary Ann Ballou had at least four children: Esek Brown Pitts (1837-1888); Seth Simmons Pitts (1838-); Joseph Pitts (1842-); and Flora Abigail Pitts (1847-1848).

Amos' son Esek Brown Pitts was born 8 Nov 1837, at Mendon, Worcester County, Massachusetts. He served as a private in Company H, 15th Mass Infantry, from at least 25 May 1861 to 28 November 1862. He died on 22 May 1888. He made a living in the manufacture of boots and moved to Chicago. The Bible that he kept with him during the Civil War is present in this collection. Esek B. married Lizzie M. Gleason (1854-?) on 15 June 1874. Esek and Lizzie had at least one daughter Flora May Pitts who was born in 1875, at Northbridge, Massachusetts.

The archive includes the following letters, papers, photographs and ephemera:


13 letters, 35 manuscript pages, dated 4 May 1819 to 10 May 1909. There are 2 letters addressed to Esek Pitts and 2 letters written by him, the other letters are by later family members. Four of the letters appear to be retained copies, a couple of which are possibly incomplete.

Manuscript Papers on Abolition:

60 manuscript pp., address on Abolition, "Whether the proceedings of the Abolitionists are or are not justifiable, was stated by us in the affirmative to depend very much upon the question whether slavery was, or was not, an evil which ought to be abolished."

The piece compares the North and South, and it mentions Calhoun and the fact that the South is waking up to the fact that the North was winning this argument in their state legislatures. It appears the talk may have been given to a society, or organization, as the writer addresses "Mr. President." Not dated, but John Calhoun is cited and he died in 1850, thus circa 1830s-1850s. The authorship is unclear, but is likely one of the Pitts men, either Esek, or his son Amos.

41 manuscript pp., address on Abolition, "There is a proposition while I believe may be safely predicated; and that is that the system of American slavery is either right or wrong. And if so, it follows of course that it ought to be either sustained or abolished. If the latter, then of course the object which the abolitionists have in view is a good one..."

Not dated, circa 1830s-1850s. The author is likely one of the Pitts men, either Esek, or his son Amos.

6 miscellaneous manuscripts on the subject of Abolition and Slavery, 20 manuscript pp., includes 3 items: "Letters to the Editor" pieces meant for publication in the local newspaper (Woonsocket Patriot), plus 2 other pieces titled "Beauties of South Slavery" numbered 1 & 2, with the subtitle "By their fruits ye shall know them."  The sixth piece dated 1838, and is perhaps notes for an address written for the Lyceum about Abolition. Five of the six pieces are not dated, circa 1830s-1850s. The author is likely either Esek or Amos Pitts.

1 volume, 14 manuscript pp., plus blanks, bound in marbled paper wrappers, not dated, c.1835-1836.Includes several pieces of verse and prose by E.B. Pitts, dated 1835 on first page, then 6 pages on Abolition, appears to have been written for the newspaper Woonsocket Patriot, plus a letter to the editor, and miscellaneous notes about Abolition, also presumably by Esek B. Pitts.

Other Manuscript Papers on History, Genealogy and Restorationist Society:

1 volume, 10 manuscript pp., plus blanks, measures 7 ½" x 12", bound in marbled paper wrappers, includes: "Records of the First Restorationist Society, Millville, Book No.1," dated 23 April 1837 - 17 May 1841. Manuscript meeting minutes for this society, of which Amos Wood Pitts and Esek B. Pitts were members. Amos W. Pitts was the clerk for the society.

28 manuscript pp., various topics, some political, some appear to be pieces written and/or rewritten for submission to newspaper Woonsocket Patriot, etc, not dated, circa 1830s-1850s. Author is likely either Esek or Amos Pitts.

26 manuscript pp., a historical paper on early American exploration (Cabot to the Puritans), not dated circa 1830s-1840s, authorship is unclear, but likely either Esek or Amos Pitts.

13 page manuscript on the importance of history, worn at edges, some tears at folds, likely by one of the Pitts men, not dated circa 1830s-1840s

54 manuscript pages of genealogical and historical notes on the Pitts family, not dated, circa late 19th Century.

Printed and Manuscript Ephemeral Material:

1 oversize certificate, torn and in pieces, for Esek Pitts (1775-1834), his appointment as a Justice of the Peace, dated 20 January 1826, partially printed and completed in manuscript.

1 U.S. Treasury Department form for $100.00 payable to Esek B. Pitts for his discharge bounty from military service with Company H, 15th Regiment of Massachusetts Volunteers during the Civil War, dated 22 April 1872, partially printed and completed in manuscript.


3 photographs, one tintype (5 ½" x 7 ½") of a woman, one cabinet card (4 ¼" X 6 ½") of two small children, one cabinet card of young man, none are dated, or signed, two taken by Albee (photographer), of Athol, Mass.

Books, Pamphlets and Printed Ephemera:

1 pocket Bible, with signature of Esek B. Pitts, 15th Regt. Massachusetts Volunteers, presented to Pitts by a member of the 20th Mass Regiment, dated 9 March 1862. Esek B. Pitts was the son of Amos Wood Pitts, and the grandson of Esek Pitts (1775-1834).

"Northbridge in the Rebellion. An Address Delivered by George L. Gibbs, before Jesse L. Reno Post 167, G.A.R., Memorial Day, May 30, 1889, at Whitinsville, Mass., with an Appendix Containing Statistics Concerning the Town of Northbridge in the Rebellion," Published by Request. Uxbridge, Mass, L.H. Balcome, Steam Printer, 1889. Wrappers, 40 pages, (lacks rear wrapper).

"Anti-Slavery Tracts. No. 9. New Series. The Duty of Disobedience to the Fugitive Slave Act: An Appeal to the Legislators of Massachusetts," By L. Maria Child. Boston: Published by the American Anti-Slavery Society, 1860.  36 pages.

"An Address to the People of Massachusetts, by the Friends of Temperance, and of the Statute of 1838, 'For Regulation of the Sale of Spirituous Liquors,'" Boston: Printed by Perkins & Marvin, 1838. 24 pages.

1 volume containing: "Literary Port Folio" No. 1-5, Jan 7-Feb 4, 1830, pages 1-34; No. 9-26, March 4 - July 1, 1830, pages 65-202, 207-208, published in Philadelphia, includes 2 plates, lacks pages 35-64, 203-206, possibly others after 208, dis-bound, very worn.

"Historical Facts and Stray Thoughts from The Old Elder Ballou Meeting House, in the town of Cumberland, R.I.," by Anna M. Whipple, 1897. [15] pages, 3 plates, good.

"Fourteenth Annual Commencement of the Women's Medical College, Chicago, Hershey Music Hall, April 22, 1884," Maria Louis Pitts was a member of the Class of 1884.

1 card announcing death of "James G. Herd," of Clark Herd Manufacturing Co., who died on 2 Nov 1913, sons to take over business.

1 copy Worcester Daily Spy (newspaper) dated April 11, 1863, worn at edges and folds, some tears, 4 oversize pages, has account of  the "Battle of Ball's Bluff."

Miscellaneous Ephemera Items:

1 folding leather wallet, worn, name of "Amos Wood Pitts, Mendon," inside flap.