My name is Mary Ann Whitehead Overson and this blog is dedicated to all the amazing men and women who came before me: my ancestors. I also want to acknowledge my father, Armand Toyn Whitehead, who is the person responsible for a lot of the content in this blog; my dad has spent countless hours collecting and preserving photos and histories, and preserving them on the computer so that they can be handed down for generations. Thank you, Dad!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Obituary: Lenard Nicholi Pitt

Lenard Nicholi Pitt, circa 1908

Lenard Nicholi Pitt

UPDATE!  (2/18/2014)  Deb Stewart, my 2nd cousin, has found an article about Lenard's tragic accident and I am so happy that she has shared it with everyone  Here is the article, along with a transcript that Deb provided:


Explosion Sends Debris Hurdling Down Incline; One Man Killed, One Escapes Special to The Tribune 

NEPHI, March 16. -Yesterday afternoon an accident occurred at the Nephi plaster mill which resulted in the death of Leonard Pitt, a resident of this place. The accident happened in the gypsum quarry adjacent to the mill. A blast had been set off and after the shot Pitt, with his brother William, started up the incline. Some rock that had been loosened by the blast, but had not yet rolled down the hill, came plunging down the steep slope and deluged them with stones. The one brother, William, heard the rocks coming and ran. The other was caught by the slide and hit in several places by large rocks, one of them striking him on top of the head, killing him instantly. The brother who escaped was showered with small stones, but was not seriously injured.

Published in The Salt Lake Tribune (Salt Lake City, Utah), pg 28, on 17 Mar 1912

Lenard Nicholi Pitt was born 7 Jul 1888 to John and Mary Ann Lund Pitt.  He was their second son.  He married Emma Louisa Bale in a civil marriage 21 Sep 1908 in Nephi.  He immediately obtained work in the Nephi gypsum mine, also known as the plaster mine that was so close to Nephi city as to be seen from within the city (it is just on the East side of I-15).  Emma gave birth to their first son, Leonard (spelled differently from his father) Lund Pitt on 31 Jul 1909.

Meanwhile, Emma's sister just younger than her, Elizabeth May Bale (she went by May), married Lenard's older brother, John William Pitt on 14 Feb 1911 - St. Valentine's Day.

Lenard's headstone, with Gypsum mine in background, Nephi, Utah
Lenard continued to work in the mine, and on 15 Mar 1912 loose rock from the hillside fell and killed Lenard from a planned blast.  His brother, John William (he went by his middle name), was with him, but he managed to escape with no serious harm.  Lenard's body was so crushed that they could not have a viewing or open casket.  Emma was less than two months pregnant with Lenard's second child - she may not have even known that she was pregnant at the time of Lenard's death.  Emma was only 20 years old and she was a widow with one two-year old son, and one on the way.  On Oct 30, the day before Halloween, Walter Aschel Pitt was born, already fatherless.  One can only imagine how hard all of this was.

On March 18th, 1912, Lenard Nicholi Pitt, just 24 years old, was buried at Vine Bluff Cemetery in Nephi.  His parents were there, undoubtedly, with his pregnant widow, his young son, and many others.  As the mourners gathered around his grave, they could see, in plain view, the mine where Lenard was killed.  (see photo.)

Emma remarried in 1913 to Charles C. Jensen, a young widow himself with 3 young children.  They went on to have 9 children together.  She loved Charley, but always said that Lenard was her one and only true love.  Emma lived to be nearly 96, and died in 1987.

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