Joseph Clinton Wampler Pittman. The passage of sixty years or more has removed from Champaign County the greater number of its earliest pioneers, although through worthy descendants their names are preserved and their memories perpetuated. It was sixty-one years ago, in 1856 that Joseph C. W. Pittman was brought into this section of Illinois, being then a child of seven years. In his home community of Mahomet Mr. Pittman is known as a man of most substantial resources and of that influence that springs from strong character and worthy motives. His early life was one of toil and the meeting of adverse conditions presented by a comparatively new country and his success is due to that good fortune which is a result of industry and honorable activities.
Mr. Pittman was born in Butler County, Ohio, February 24, 1849, the eighth in a family of nine children, five sons and four daughters, whose parents were George H. and Eliza (Bake) Pittman. Only three of these children are still living, Mary, Joseph C. and Jacob D. Mary, who was well educated and taught school in Mahomet Township three years, is now living at Rockwell City, Iowa, widow of J. L. Stearns. Jacob D., a retired agriculturist at Mahomet, married Miss Mary Abbott.
George H. Pittman was born in New Jersey, but was taken when a child by his parents to Ohio, where he grew up, was educated in the common schools, and lived in the Buckeye State until after his marriage. All his children were born in Ohio and on moving to Champaign County he continued his career as a renter, and by the hardest kind of work he provided for his family and always performed to the best of his ability the duties laid upon him as a citizen and neighbor. He was an old-time Whig and from that became a Republican, and he and his wife were very active in the Methodist Episcopal Church. He served on its official board. His death occurred in Mahomet about 1895 and his remains now rest in Riverside Cemetery, where an appropriate monument stands to mark the spot. His wife was born near Middletown, Ohio, was reared and educated there and died about 1897. She was a fine type of courageous pioneer woman and gave the best of her life to the service of her home and children. The name Pittman is of English stock.
Joseph C. W. Pittman secured his first educational advantages in Mahomet Township. His privileges were somewhat limited and most of his training was the result of experience and observation. At the age of twenty-one he started out to make his own way in the world, without any cash capital and with nothing to rely upon except a disposition for honesty and industry. For six years he rented and farmed and then accepted an opportunity to buy 107 acres in the northwest part of the township. He went in debt for the greater part of the purchase price and finally traded the land for another farm, and that, too, he sold. He then bought 280 acres in Mahomet Township, and on this he assumed a debt of $5,000. He carried these obligations and disposed of them as rapidly as possible and in the course of time his substantial success was assured. Many improvements have been made on his farm, including a new residence, four different barns, substantial fences and other improvements. About 1907 he bought eighty acres more and added a forty-acre tract in 1912. His homestead in Mahomet Township now includes 340 acres of the rich and fertile soil of that region. Besides this he has 240 acres in Calhoun County, Iowa, and is interested as a stockholder in the Farmers Elevator Company of Mahomet and in the Champaign County Fair Association.
On December 12, 1876, the Centennial year, Mr. Pittman married Miss Mary E. Boyer. Their marriage was blessed with the birth of four children, three sons and one daughter, and all of them were carefully trained and educated both at home and in school.
Claude E., the oldest, was educated in the Mahomet High School and spent two years in the Illinois State University. For the past six years he has been a salesman of agricultural implements for the John Deere Company, with home and headquarters at Indianapolis. He married Miss Clara Prather, who received her education at Anderson, Indiana, and is a daughter of Calvin W. and Arabella (Summers) Prather. Their home is now brightened by the presence of one daughter, Louise. Claude Pittman is a Republican, a member of the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks and his wife is a Presbyterian.
Mabel G., the only daughter, is the wife of Archie Herriott, a practical agriculturist in Mahomet Township. Their two children are named Harold and Frank. They are members of the Methodist Episcopal Church at Mahomet.
Elmer D., the second son, supplemented his training in the common schools by a two years’ agricultural course at the state university and is now applying his knowledge and experience as a farmer in Mahomet Township. He is a member of the Masonic order at Mahomet and he and his wife are active Methodists. He married Miss Ruth Bishop, and their son has been given the name J. C. W., Jr.
Cecil, the youngest child, is a graduate of the Champaign High School and is now successfully devoting himself to farming in Mahomet Township. He married Miss Blanche Bell and their two children are Viola and Catherine E. They have membership in the Methodist Episcopal Church.
Mrs. Pittman, the mother of these children, was born in Champaign County, December 25, 1850, a daughter of George and Mary E. Boyer. Her parents died in 1872 and 1874 respectively. Mrs. Pittman was a graduate of the Mahomet High School and also of the Illinois Woman’s College at Jacksonville. For nearly forty years she was a loyal wife, a devoted home maker, and expressed her many kindly qualities and good deeds in her community and among her friends. Her death on January 25, 1915, was a great loss not only to the family but to the entire community.
Mr. Pittman has been a loyal Republican since casting his first presidential vote for General Grant forty-five years ago. At different times he has served as a delegate to county conventions and has filled many places of honor and responsibility. For nine years he was road commissioner, was township supervisor six years, has been one of the men in his section of Champaign County to advocate consistently and unselfishly the cause of good roads, and has also accepted every opportunity to advance the interests of the local schools. He is now and has been for four years school treasurer of Mahomet Township. Mr. Pittman is also one of the prominent Methodists of his section of the county, was a member of the building committee when the present Methodist Church at Mahomet was built, is a member of the church official board and for over twenty-one years has been superintendent of the Methodist Episcopal Sunday school and is yet superintendent. For four years his brother DuBois was superintendent of this same Sunday school. He gave up that position when he went to the war as a Union soldier and died from the effects of a wound received in the battle of Kenesaw Mountain during the Atlanta campaign.
Those movements which have been undertaken for the advancement of his home county have always found Mr. Pittman a capable and effective co-operator. His is a name everywhere spoken with respect and due loyalty for a man whose life has been so consistently honest and honorable. In 1917 Mr. Pittman made a trip back to his old home in Ohio, and after an absence of sixty-one years revisited the old scenes and landmarks of his early childhood and of his parents’ early associations. One of the things that interested him most was the towpath of the old canal that went and his mother of Ohio. The father left Virginia in early youth, settling standing and people are living in it at the present time.