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John H. Pitezel

jh pitezel

18 April 1814 - 4 May 1906
Conference Cane: 1904
Age at death: 92 years

Rev. J.H. Pitezel

With the passing of John H. Pitezel the last man who was present at the organization of Michigan Conference in 1836 has gone to his reward. Bro. Pitezel was admitted on trial in the Ohio Conference in 1835 and by the division of that Conference to form the Michigan Conference the following year he fell into our territory, and maintained his Conference relation with this body ever since.

In the new Conference were such men as Leonard B. Gurley, Edward Thomson (afterward bishop), Adam Poe, Henry Colclazer, John H. Power, and other mighty men. Probably no one who looked upon the men composing the Conference at that time would have thought for a moment that the slim and feeble looking young man Pitezel would outlive all that company and reach ninety-two years of age.

Bro. Pitezel was born near Graceham, Maryland, April 18, 1814, and died at Lorain, Ohio, May 4, 1906, being a few days over ninety-two.

"His father was of German ancestry. His mother, Mary Priscilla Biggs, was a descendant of the Wilson family who were among the very early settlers of Maryland. The Pitezel homestead was at the foot of the Blue Ridge a few miles from Sam's Creek, where Strawbridge built the first Methodist meeting house in the United States. It was a plantation home — the father having inherited several negro slaves from his mother's estate. It was also a resort for the early itinerants. Poor health and loss of property at length led the family to leave Maryland for St. Albans, Ohio, settling twice in the woods within five years. The father died in 1828 leaving a widow and six children, John H. the oldest being fourteen. A year later the family moved to Tiffin, Ohio, where John learned the saddler's trade."

His early educational advantages were limited. He spent his winters in the common schools and was permitted one year in Norwalk seminary, rooming with William L. Harris, afterward bishop.

He was converted in 1824, near Delaware, Ohio, at a camp meeting; his parents having driven thirty miles to attend this meeting. He immediately united with the church and was faithful to duty, and in 1834 was licensed to exhort; and licensed to preach in 1835, joining Ohio Conference the same year. The record of his ministerial appointments is as follows: Lower Sandusky, 1835; Tecumseh, 1836; Adrian, 1837; Ypsilanti, 1838; Northville and Plymouth, 1839; Jackson, 1840; Homer, 1841-42; Sault Ste. Marie, 1843; Kewawenon, 1844-6; Eagle River, 1847; Indian Mission District, 1848-51; Kalamazoo, 1852; Allegan, 1853-54; Edwardsburg, 1855; and Paw Paw, 1856-57.

In 1858 he was made supernumerary for one year and then superannuated until 1870 when he was made effective and appointed to Flowerfield.

At the next Conference he superannuated finally, though he travelled extensively and preached many times, now working at his trade, now at life insurance, now selling books, or whatever he could find to do.

He contended with frail health all his life, and when his slight physical powers are considered made a remarkable record. He was a Methodist minister for nearly seventy-two years, being a member of but two different Conferences all his life. He had long been ready to go home, and had been waiting with patience the summons of the Master to come up higher.

Funeral services were held at Lorain where he died, and the body was brought to Three Rivers in this state, to be laid by the side of his wife who died about twenty-five years ago.

He was three times married:— in 1837 to Miss Eliza Holstock, sister of Enoch Holstock, once a member of this Conference. She died in four months after the wedding, and in 1838 he married Abbie Hathaway, who died in 1880. In 1887 he was married to the widow of Rev. G.W. Breckenridge of the Ohio Conference. She died April 1901, since which time Bro. Pitezel has lived with his daughter, Mrs. Dr. Painter of Lorain, Ohio.

Four children were born to him, three of whom went on ahead of him to the better country.

A good man has gone! He was faithful here; he lived a spotless life. For him the everlasting doors have fallen open and he has entered in through the gates into the city to go no more out forever.


- Michigan Annual Conference minutes of 1906, pp. 408-410