to host materials related to the descendants of Ann and
Pitts of Lance
Cove, Bell Island, Newfoundland. James was
in 1735 in Kennford near Exeter, Devon, England arriving
teenager in Newfoundland by 1751.
They had three sons - John (1783-1825) married
Elizabeth Picco (1786-1826), James (1784-1870) married her
Frances Bartlett Picco (1786-1864), and William
(1787-1869) married Ann
John Pitts drowned in Conception Bay in 1825, and his wife Elizabeth died the next year. The remaining children, lived with their double cousins (Aunt Frances & Uncle James Pitts) and relocated to St. John's, Newfoundland where the children grew up in a large combined family. Capt. William Pitts and his family remained on Bell Island.
are recorded in the Newfoundland Encyclopedia:
Three Pitts descendants Gerald Ayre, Eric Stanley Ayre
Pitts Ayre, were
of the Newfoundland Regiment and died at Beaumont-Hamel on
1916. Ethel G. Dickenson
descendant, is remembered for her wartime nursing career, and
selfless concern for others that led to her own death from the
"His [E.J.Pratt's] roots go much deeper. . . for through his mother's family he can trace back to a generation of Newfoundlanders, Joseph Pitts, who was here in 1678. The story of Pitts' harrowing experiences when he was taken prisoner on his way back from Newfoundland . . ."The article sparked research into a possible connection between Joseph Pitts who was in Newfoundland in 1678 and James Pitts who arrived in 1751. Although no documented connection between the two has been located yet - they were both from Exeter area and with the same surname likely shared a common ancestor at some point. Research into the connection mentioned by Sparkes was conducted by Miss C.F. Belam, MA, The Strole, West Buckfastleigh, Devon, UK TQ11 0JH, to undertake that research. Her conclusion was that the line from James Pitts Sr. goes back through two generations of John Pitts with the senior one being born abt 1660 who married on 15 Apr 1686, Sarah Barret.
The epic as told in his own words began in 1678 when Joseph was age 14 or 15,
"when my genius led me to be a Sailor, and to see foreign Countries."After several short voyages he left his Exeter home aboard the Speedwell with George Taylor, Master bound for
"the Western Islands, from thence to Newfoundland, from thence to Bilboa and from thence to the Canaries"
|Attempting a return from the
of Newfoundland, they are overtaken near Balboa by
Algerian pirates who
took the crew into captivity delivering them after further
at sea to the slave market in Algiers where young Joseph
Pitts was sold
into slavery. The next fifteen years of his life as
travel to Tunis, Egypt and both Mecca and Medina with his
Eumer who had purchased him from his second master,
some diplomatic assistance he escaped and reached Leghorn
a 700 mile walk through Germany in winter and eventual
where he was thrown in Colchester Prison (for
into King's Service) until he could prove his identity
The heartening story of his return to his father John Pitts' home and his enduring religious conviction throughout his ordeal, make the epic worth retelling.
The history of British relations
"famous and warlike city of Algiers - the scourge of
from its origin as a piratical state, to the abolition
by Lord Exmouth in 1816 is well documented in
agents and consuls at Algiers from 1600, preserved in
Public Records Office. Essentially a terrorist
state, Algiers was
a constant problem for European citizens.
The story of James Pitts
Cove, is well told by Lloyd C. Rees through An
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