John H. Hittle was born near Rushville, Rush county, on Septemer 15, 1863. He is a son of George and Elizabeth (Briggs) Hittle. George Hittle was born at that same place on December 20, 1833, and he was the son of Nicholas and Susan (Morgan) Hittle. Nicholas Hittle was born in Pennsylvania in 1807 and died in Rush county in August, 1867. He was of German descent and spent his early life in Pennsylvania and came to Indiana as a young man and settled in Rush county, where he engaged in farming. He entered a tract of one hundred and sixty acres of land in Jackson township, Hancock county, although he never lived there. He bought a one-hundred-and-sixty-acre tract near Rushville, which became the family homestead. This was all virgin timber. He first built a log house and a log stable and proceeded to clear his land and bring it under cultivation. He suffered all the privations and hardships of the early pioneers. He later engaged in buying and selling stock in addition to his farming interests and in those days he drove his stock to Cincinnati and personally sold them on the market. He so prospered that he became quite wealthy, owning at one time about eight hundred acres of land. He was a member of the Christian church and a strong Whig and later a Republican. His wife survived him about ten years, dying in 1877. They were the parents of nine children, four boys and five girls, of whom George Hittle was the fourth child. Only one of these children still survives, Mrs. Elmira Keaton, of Fountaintown. It was on the old homestead of his father that George Hittle was born and it was there that he spent his childhood and youth and received his education in the typical log school house of the pioneer days. He helped his father on the farm and helped him in driving stock to market. He remained at the old home until he was twenty-seven years of age, at which time he was married to Elizabeth Briggs, who was born on March 13, 1833, near Rushville, Indiana, and who was the daughter of Andrew and Martha (Farrow) Briggs, who were likewise early pioneers, both from Kentucky. They had nine children, of whom Elizabeth was the fourth, all these being now deceased. After his marriage George Hittle, with only two hundred and fifty dollars in money, bought ninety-six acres of land near the home place, for which he paid thirty dollars an acre. Here he lived until 1871, when he sold his farm an on October 19, 1871, moved to Sugar Creek township, Hancock county, and bought a tract of one hundred and sixty acres of land one and one-fourth miles east of New Palestine, on the old Brookville road,. This place had only slight improvements, yet the cost was sixty dollars an acre. Only about half of the place was in cultivation, but George Hittle cleared up the place and drained and fenced it. The farm had a good nine-room house, which is still in a splendid state of preservation. About 1900 Mr. Hittle retired and moved to New Palestine, where, on December 13, 1903, he died at the age of seventy years. His wife survived him for only a few months and died on June 19, 1904. They were the parents of the following children: Omer N., who resides in Kansas City; John H., who is the subject of this sketch; Alma E., who was the wife of Albert Parish, and who is now deceased. George Hittle was a Republican in politics and was a member of the Christian church. His wife was a member of the Methodist Episcopal church.
John H. Hittle, subject of this sketch, spent his early childhood in Rush county, where he attended the old MacMillan school He was only eight years of age when he came with his parents to Sugar Creek township, Hancock county. Here he spent the remainder of his childhood and youth. After finishing the common schools he continued to help his father on the home place. When he was twenty-one years of age he was married on April 2, 1885, to Alice Rawlings, who was born in Sugar Creek township on November 4, 1864, and who was the daughter of Stephen S. and Sallie Rawlings. To this union one child, Anna Pearl, was born on September 15, 1886, who afterward married Guy B. Westlake. She was the mother of the following children: Elsie, who was born on January 17, 1905, John, August 28, 1907, and Keitha, September 2, 1913. Anna, who was her father's pride and husband's joy, died on April 19, 1915.
On July 23, 1892, John Hittle's first wife died and on November 29, 1893, he was married to Nora Fritts who was born in Moral township, Shelby county, March 24, 1868, the daughter of John and Eliza (Anders) Fritts. The former was born in North Carolina, March 27, 1839, and his parents died when he was seven years of age. He was one of nine boys, all of whom were taken to raise by friends . When John was a young man he came overland to Hancock county. He was later married in Shelby county to Eliza Anders, who was born in Maryland on September 30, 1838. She moved with her parents to Ohio when three yeas of age and later her parents moved to Shelby county and here she was married. She was one of nine children, six girls and three boys, all deceased except Elisha, John, Martha and Eliza, who was the mother of Nora (Fritts) Hittle. After his marriage, John Fritts engaged in farming in Shelby and Hancock counties until his death. He died in Shelby county on July 28, 1891, at the age of fifty-two years. His wife still survives and resides with her daughter Mrs. Mollie Brown, at Indianapolis. They were the parents of the following children: Jennie, Leonard, Nora, Joseph and Mollie, all living. After his second marriage, John H. Hittle continued to farm the old home place. He has rebuilt his barn and built his silo, drained and fenced his farm and brought it under a high state of cultivation until today he has a hundred and twenty acres of as fine farming land as there is in this part of the county.
Mr. Hittle is a member of the Christian church and his wife is also a member of this church. He is a Republican in politics and is a member of the following lodges: New Palestine Lodge No. 404, Free and Accepted Masons, New Palestine Lodge No. 844, Independent Order of Odd Fellows, a charter member of the New Palestine Lodge No. 215, Knights of Pythias, and all the auxiliaries. Mr. Hittle is one of the substantial citizens of Sugar Creek township and is considered one of the most advanced farmers in the county.
Transcribed from History of Hancock County, Indiana, Its People, Industries and Institutions by George J. Richman, B. L., Federal Publishing Co., Indianapolis, Indiana, 1916. Pages 876-879.
Submitted by Sylvia (Rose) Duda, Laingsburg, MI September 20, 2001.
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