Born: 28 Sep 1851
Died: 18 Aug 1924
At the age of: 73
Plot Number: H5
Spouse: Jane Ann Parke Hitt
Parents: John Hitt, Laura Brown Hitt
IDAHO PIONEER IS SUMMONED AT MALTA HOME
James B. Hitt was resident of this State for fifty years and was prominent as Cattleman, Banker and in Democratic Circles.
Aged 73, died at his home in Malta early Monday morning after a long illness from Brights Disease. Mr. Hitt had been a resident of southern Idaho for almost 50 years, being engaged in the cattle and banking business. He also was prominent in Democratic political circles and was well known. A Widow, 2 sons, and 4 daughters survive.
The deceased was born at Culpeper Courthouse, Virginia, Sept 30the 1851 and was the son of John R. And Laura Brown Hitt. He was only 8 years of age when he left the old dominion with his parents, who removed with their family to Howard County, Missouri where the father purchased farmland which he tilled for some time. James B. Hitt remained at the place until 17 and then made his way westward to Elko, Nev. Where he engaged in cow punching for a year.
He next went to Sacramento, Cal. And afterward to Grande Ronde Valley in Oregon. Spending a short time in Union County,. He subsequently returned to Nev. and in Jan. 1875, came to Idaho, making his way first to Owyhee County. Again he was employed as a cowboy until 1881 where he took charge of I.J. Shirley on the Raft River, there continuing until March 15, 1883 when the Shirley interests were sold to Keough Brothers of Salt Lake City, UT. Mr. Hitt, however, remained with the latter until 1885. In the 1883 he took up his present ranch, while with Keough Brothers and secured 480 acres of land. He built a one-room frame house and with characteristic energy began tilling the soil and improving his place. He was the owner of 650 acres and is prominently know as a successful cattleman.
On Dec. 24, 1883, Mr. Hitt was married to Miss Jane L. Hitt, a daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Charles Parke. Mrs. Hit moved to Raft River District with her parents in 1871. Mr. and Mrs. Hitt were the parents of nine children: Laura Peterson of Bear River City, Utah; James Hitt of Malta; John Hitt of Malta; Maude Hitt of Chula Vista, Cal.; Margaret Jacobs of Burley; Jenna Carlstead of San Diego Cal.; Grover Hitt, Joel Hitt, and Emma Hit. The last three named dying in infancy.
When Mr. Hitt settled upon his ranch the Indians were numerous in this section of the State and at various times went on the war path. White people were killed and life was not at all safe for many years. Moreover there were many difficult conditions to face and hardships to be borne. Kelton, Utah was the nearest post office & trading post and Silver City was the County seat, a distance of 260 miles. Later the seat of government was removed to Albion and finally Burley.
Funeral services were held in Malta, Wednesday. Prof. Howard of Albion delivered the sermon. Other speakers were Robert Hutchison of Malta, William Jones of Almo, Joseph Harper of Malta and Edward Darrington of Elba. Interment was in the Malta Cemetery, with D. E. Johnson of Burley in charge.
Approximately 2,500 Cassia County citizens celebrated the first Beet and Potato Day at Burley Nov. 1, 1912. Along with a tour of the new sugar factory, picture shows at the local theatre, a dance, and a barbecue, with beef donated by James B. Hitt and local meat markets, helped make the occasion the huge success that it was.
Cassia County cattleman James B. Hitt was born Sept. 28, 1851 at Culpeper Courthouse, Va., the son of John and Laura (Brown) Hitt. When he was eight years old his parents moved to Howard County, Mo., Where his father farmed. Years later Jim was to send his sons, Jim and John, to visit his hometown in Missouri. The boys made the visits while either freighting cattle to market or on cattle trips.
At the age of 17 Jim decided to go west and try his hand at cow punching. He worked for a year at Elko, Nev. Before moving on to Sacramento, Calif., then to the Grande Ronde Valley in Oregon. Jim and his brother, Joe, cam to Idaho by way of Goose Creek in Owyhee County on Jan. 16, 1875. Jim stayed, but his brother, Joe, went back to California and settled down. The two brothers, now separated, were not to see each other for many, many years.
At the time Jim arrived in Owyhee County, the county seat was at Silver City, a distance of 260 miles. (Cassia County was created from Owyhee on Feb. 20, 1879). Kelton, Utah was the nearest post office and trading post. When the post office came to Malta in 1883 Jim got P. O. Box No. 1 which is still held by members of the Hitt family.
Jim was employed as a cow puncher by the firm of Russell and Bradley. There were large firms, J. Q. Shirley, C S. Gamble, etc., who also ran cattle on the Raft River range. In 1878, during the Indian scare (the Bannock War) more than 5,000 head of cattle were corraled at one time at Marsh Lake with Col. R. L. Wood as foreman of the operation.
In 1881 Jim took charge of the J. Q. Shirley Ranch on the Raft River. When Shirley sold his interest to the Keough Brothers of Salt Lake City, Jim stayed on working until 1885. While with the Keough Brothers, Jim bought a ranch of his own at Malta, where he built a one-room frame house on his 480 acres and started to build his herd of Durham and Hereford cattle. He had 1,2000 head and 650 acres at the time of his death, Aug. 18, 1924.
James B. Hitt and Jane Ann Parke were married at the home of her parents, the Charles Parkes’, on Dec. 24, 1883, by George Stokes. Whiteness of the event were M. T. Brown and Col. Wood.
Jane Ann Hit cam to Raft River in 1871 with her parents, Lavina (Coltin) and Charles Parke. Jane was born Sept. 19, 1861 at Washyou Lake, Nev. Which is now Carson City. The house where she was born has been replaced by the State Penitentiary. Jane, a well educated woman, received her education at the Sacred Heart Convent at Ogden, Utah.
The children of Jane and James Hitt were Laura Peterson, James, John Maude Hawk, Margaret Jacobs (a teacher in the Burley schools for many years), and Jennie Carlestead. Grover, Joel and Emma died in infancy. Maude and Jennie are the only ones still alive at this time.
All the children attended school at Malta through the ninth grade, then they wen tot Albion Normal and various colleges and schools depending upon the child’s needs and preference. The Hitt boys, Jim and John were regulars at the Albion Fair and their sister, Jennie, was queen of the fair.
James B. Hitt was a successful cattleman, a director of the State Normal College under Gov. Hawley, president of the Stock growers Bank of Pocatello, and very active in politics. Once when her fan for the governor’s seat, he told his wife, “Tonight you will sleep with the governor of Idaho” “If I do,” she retorted, “I’ll be sleeping with a stranger!” He lost the election, but he showed a deep abiding love for his chosen home by the interest he had in what happened to it.
Times were very primitive when Jim and Jane arrived in Idaho. There were hardships to overcome and the Indians were, at times, troublesome. Jane was just a young gift of 10 when she arrived with her family. Her father, Charles Parke, was a polygamist, each child called their father’s other wives “aunt.”
The family history records that one day while all the men were away, Aunt Jule called, “Margaret, somebody’s comin’.” Aunt Margaret steeped out of the house, and saw three riders in a cloud of dust—but white men usually rose abreast and slightly forward in the saddle, these riders were riding single file and leading back—like Indians! When the three riders arrived they turned out to be Chief Pocatello and two of his sons.
“Hungry!” exclaimed Pocatello, “Biscuit.” “No biscuit,” answered Aunt Jule, as she barricaded the door and got down the gun—the children sought sanctuary under the beds! Pocatello got off his horse and leaned against the house, his sons squatted on the ground. Aunt Jule went on with her work, ignoring them. Aunt Margaret stepped outside and shaded her eyes and professed to see dust up the road. “You heap isshum,” grunted Pocatello, meaning Aunt Margaret was wide of the facts. Pocatello then waved his hand across the valley, saying, “All my land, all my water, give ‘um biscuit.”
Finally the Indians left, but the children, who got out from under their beds, soon told that “the Indians were back.” Back there were bearing jackrabbits, which they proceeded to barbecue in Charlie Parkes’ dooryard! As the children peeked through the windows they saw the Indians eat every part of the jackrabbit—intrails—everything! Jane was repulsed by what she saw and remembered it all her life. (She died March 22, 1936)
Aunt Margaret could stand it no more—she baked the bread and stowed it in a sack and handed it to Pocatello. That evening two trails of dust could be seen. Pocatello leaving and the Parke men folk returning.
Page 2B Burley, Idaho, Wednesday, March 24, 1976 SOUTH IDAHO PRESS