JOHN BITTLE. No branch of commercial enterprise in Cleburne County, Arkansas, is more important or more representative in character than that of the merchant, and John Bittle is one of the leaders in this line in Heber. He was born in what is now Cleburne County in 1863, a son of Levi and Nancy (Huie) Bittle, who came to this State from Tennessee some time in the forties and located near Shiloh in the Little Red River bottom, the agricultural possibilities of which they were the first to discover. On this farm the father was called from life in 1872, at the age of sixty years, the mother’s death occurring when the subject of this sketch was a child. They were worthy members of the Presbyterian Church, and in that faith reared their children, of whom six survive out of a family of nine, and all are residents of Cleburne County.
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The subject of this sketch was the seventh in order of birth and his early education was acquired in the public schools and in Clinton Academy, after which he was engaged in teaching school for three years in this county, during which time he became known as a thoroughgoing and painstaking pedagogue. In 1887 he engaged in the mercantile business at Shiloh with S. D. Morton, the firm taking the name of S. D. Morton & Co., and afterward that of Morton & Bittle, and continued business under the latter title until 1890, when Mr. Bittle came to Heber and opened an establishment of his own, which he has since conducted with marked success. Upon first entering business with Mr. Morton he had but little means, but his enterprises have prospered and he is now in independent circumstances. While attending school in Clinton he borrowed the money to purchase what books he required and swept the school building and made fires to pay for his tuition, his board being given him on credit. He deserves much commendation for the straightforward course he has pursued throughout life, regardless of the many difficulties that have strewn his path, and for the creditable manner in which he has bent the force of circumstances to his will. He is an energetic and intelligent young man, full of energy and push, and his abilities have received recognition at the hands of his numerous Democratic friends, and he is now a candidate for county treasurer, with every prospect of winning the race. In 1889 he was married to Miss Nettie Taylor, a daughter of W. S. Taylor, of this county. She was born in Waco, Tex., and has borne Mr. Bittle a daughter and son. Mr. Bittle is a member of the A. F. & A. M., and is treasurer of Sugar Loaf Lodge No. 414.