The Journal Register (Medina, NY)

Local News

November 1, 2013

Hon. Edmund L. Pitts known as 'The Little Giant of Orleans'

Medina Journal-Register — The Honorable Edmund L. Pitts, familiarly known as “The Little Giant of Orleans,” was born in the Town of Yates on May 23, 1839. He passed his early life on a farm and received his early education in district school and the Yates Academy. He first studied law with the Hon. Sanford E. Church of Albion and later graduated from the State National Law School at Poughkeepsie.

At the age of 21, in 1860, Mr. Pitts was admitted to the bar. For 11 years thereafter he was associated with Adna Brown in the practice of law at Medina. From 1874 to 1876, he was in partnership with John W. Graves and in 1876 became associated with Henry A. Cholds. In 1888, he formed a partnership with Leon M. Sherwood and Edward Posson.

Mr. Pitts was elected to the New York State Assembly in 1864 and was re-elected five times. In 1867, he was chosen Speaker of the Assembly, and was the youngest man ever thus honored. In 1868, he was a delegate to the Republican National Convention that nominated Gen. Ulysses S. Grant for President.

For five years during President Grant’s administration, Mr. Pitts served as Assessor of Internal Revenue. In 1884, he was again a delegate to the national convention, which nominated James G. Blaine for President.

Mr. Pitts was elected to the State Senate in 1879, 1881 and 1885. During his last term, he was made President Pro tern of the Senate. In 1882, he made the speech nominating Alonzo B. Cornell for governor. He was considered one of the best platform speakers in the state and was always heard in important Republican campaigns. 

While in the Assembly, Mr. Pitts worked hard for municipal reform in New York City. As an attorney he was ranked high among his colleagues and as a citizen he labored for the good of his community.

In December 1862, Mr. Pitts married Una E., daughter of James O. Stokes Jr. of Lyndonville. They had one daughter, Grace Margaret Pitts.

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