California Genealogy and History Archives
San Bernardino County and Riverside County
CHARLES EDWARD PITTS is one of the pioneers in the development of the citrus fruit industry in San Bernardino County, where his finely improved property is situated in the Bloomington District, at the corner of Slover Avenue and Lilac Street and on one of the rural mail routes from Rialto.
Mr. Pitts was born at St. Albans, New York, August 29, 1857, and is a son of Richard and Janice (Hewitt) Pitts the father having been a farmer in the old Empire State and his children having been six in number — three sons and three daughters. Charles E. Pitts gained his early education in the public schools of his native state, and as a youth he there learned the trade of carriage maker. After inheriting $3,000 he was for three years engaged in the grocery business, and after disposing of this business he went into a planing mill and learned the trade of manufacturing sash and doors. Thereafter he was employed at his trade in many Canadian cities, including Quebec and Montreal, and in the same way he visited and worked in various cities in the Southern states of the Union. When he arrived in Los Angeles, California, in 1885, his cash capital was represented in the sum of twenty-five dollars. Business was at low ebb at the time and he could find no employment at his trade, under which condition he took a position on a ranch near Mound City (now Loma Linda), San Bernardino County, where he received one dollar a day and his board and lodging. His available cash had been reduced to seven dollars at the time when he secured this job, and after working forty days he quit, with an even four dollars. He then obtained work at his trade in San Diego, at four dollars a day, and there he remained two years. In 1888 he found employment in a mill at Colton, but upon the subsidence of the boom in that district in 1890 he found employment at his trade in San Bernardino, in the spring of 1891. There he remained thus engaged for two years. In 1888 he had purchased from ex-Governor Merrill a tract of twenty acres of land at Bloomington, where he had selected two choice tracts of ten acres each, one on Willow Street and the other on Lilac Street. He instituted the reclamation of this land, which was covered with sagebrush and cacti, and in 1893 he planted the two tracts to oranges. Later he sold the ten acres on Willow Street, but he still owns the other ten acres, which now has one of the finest orange groves in this part of the county. More than fifteen years ago Mr. Pitts purchased an additional tract of twenty acres of improved orange land on the northwest and southwest corners of Lilac Street and Slover Avenue. He was for four years successfully identified also with the cattle business, but since 1896 has given his entire attention to the citrus fruit industry. His career has been one of strenuous application, and he has won success entirely through his own ability and efforts. He encountered his full share of the vicissitudes, trials and adverse conditions incidental to pioneer enterprise in fruit culture, and he stands today as one of the most substantial and successful exponents of orange growing in the Bloomington district, the while he has so ordered his course as to gain and retain unqualified popular confidence and esteem.
The year 1901 recorded the marriage of Mr. Pitts to Miss Ebba Lund, who was born in Sweden, and they have two children : Walter, who was born April 12, 1902, was graduated from the San Bernardino High School as a member of the class of 1921; and Dorothy, born April 9, 1905, is now (1922) a student in the same high school.
Transcribed by Peggy Hooper 2011