Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
Grant Wilson, John Fiske and Stanley L. Klos. Six volumes, New York: D. Appleton
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PITTS, John, merchant, born in England in 1668 His father, Baruth Pitts, was mayor of Lyme Regis, England. The son emigrated to Boston in 1694, became a merchant, and held several offices under the city. Smibert painted portraits of him and his wife.--His son, James, born in Boston in 1712; died in 1776, was graduated at Harvard in 1731, and succeeded to his father's business and fortune. He married Elizabeth Bowdoin, sister of Governor James Bowdoin, in 1732, and was a member of the king's council from 1766 till 1775. On the death of Governor Bowdoin, Mr. Pitts became his executor. He and his wife and their six sons took an active part in the Revolution. His house, which stood on the spot that is now occupied by the Howard athenaeum, was Adamses and other patriots. In 1770, with Royal Tyler and Samuel Dexter, he was instrumental in persuading Governor Hutchinson to comply with the popular demand for the removal of the troops from Boston. He was for many years treasurer of the Society for propagating Christian knowledge among the Indians. Blackburn painted portraits of both James and his wife.--James's eldest son, John, born in Boston in 1738; died in Tyngsboro in 1815, was graduated at Harvard in 1757, was selectman of Boston from 1773 till 1778, represented the city in several provincial congresses, was speaker of the house in 1778, and afterward state senator.--Another son, Lendall, born in Boston in 1737 ; died in 1787, was a patriot and principal leader of the Boston "tea party." --James's grandson, Thomas, soldier, born in Boston in 1779; died in 1836, was commissioned lieutenant of light artillery in 1808, and captain in 1809, and served through the war of 1812.
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