Biography of Capt. John James Sitton

CAPT. JOHN JAMES SITTON, one of the wealthiest and most influential citizens of Oregon County, Missouri, has been prominently identified with the best interests of the county for many years, and no worthy movement is allowed to fail for want of support on his part. He is now located at Garfield, where he has a fine residence, and where he is highly esteemed. Capt. Sitton was born in Washington County, Missouri, at Palmer, July 5, 1842, and he is the son of Harvey and Martha F. (Wingo) Sitton, natives respectively of South Carolina and Virginia.

Harvey Sitton was a young man when he went to Washington County, Missouri, and he there met and married Miss Wingo, who was left an orphan at an early age and who was brought to Missouri by her guardian. She is still living and resides on the old homestead where she has made her home for the past sixty-one years. Mr. Sitton died in 1893, when seventy-seven years of age. All his life he was engaged in farming and mining, and was unusually successful, working in the lead mines in his own interest for twenty years or more. He was of Scotch descent, his ancestors coming to America and settling in South Carolina in 1747 or ’48, on account of political persecuctions. There were three brothers came over from Scotland and they changed the name from Setton to Sitton.

The great-grandfather of our subject was a soldier in the Revolutionary War, fought under Marion, and was in service a long time. His grandfather Sitton came from South Carolina to Cape Girardeau County, Missouri, and spent a great deal of money in building a mill in that section. This was swept away by the floods of 1844. He died at Dexter, in Stoddard County. In politics he was a Democrat but not an office holder. The father of our subject also affiliated with the Democratic party, and he was a member of the M. E. Church South. The mother is also a member of that church. Of the eleven children born to his parents, our subject was the third child and oldest son. Seven of these children are now living, three in this county, and all are respectable, law-abiding citizens.

Capt. Sitton secured a common-school education, and when the war broke out he abandoned his books to enlist in the army. In May, 1861, he joined the Fourth Arkansas Infantry, Col. Walker’s regiment. He went to Arkansas to save himself, as he had been offered a commission as captain to remain and command a company. Soon after he left the Arkansas troops and joined the First Missouri State Guards, Seventh Division, and was color bearer at Wilson Creek. In January, 1862, he enlisted in the Confederate service for three years, or during the war, in the Fourth Missouri Infantry, Company G, and was promoted to second lieutenant. Later he was made recruiting officer and drill master, and still later was promoted to the rank of captain, Fristo’s regiment, Company G, of Marmaduke’s division. He was shot through the body at Big Blue, during Gen. Price’s raid, and although the physicians gave him up, he was sent to hospitals at Kansas City and St. Louis, and as soon as he had partially recovered was taken to Johnson Island. There he was held until paroled. He participated in the following engagements: Wilson Creek, Dry Wood, Lexington, Elk Horn, Corinth, Iuka, Hatchie River, Grand Gulf, and the Price raid. When the war closed he had to be transported home by the Government.

Capt. Sitton then taught school one year in Union and Alexandria Counties, just across from Cape Girardeau, in Illinois, and then taught in Oregon County for four years, or until 1870. From 1872 to 1874 he was superintendent of public instruction in Oregon County, Missouri, and from that time until 1879 he was sheriff and collector of Oregon County, Missouri In 1883 he was presiding judge of the county court of Oregon County, but resigned the following year, as he had so much business of his own to attend to. He bought land from time to time and is now the owner of 1,500 acres, 1,100 in the home tract. In 1867 he married Miss Nancy George, a native of Lincoln County, Tennessee, and the daughter of David J. George. They have five children: Albert R., is cashier of the bank at Thayer; Lurah T., wife of T.B. Kilpatrick, a merchant of West Plains, this State; E. W., at home and managing the general merchandise store for J. J. Sitton & Sons; Laura A., at home, and Waif. W., also at home. Mrs. Sitton is a member of the M. E. Church South but Mr. Sitton is a Free-Will Baptist in his religious belief.

He is a Democrat politically and a Mason socially, a member of the Blue Lodge at Alton, No. 255. He commenced selling goods in 1878 and he and his sons, E. W. and A. K., carry on this business at Garfield under the firm name of J. J. Sitton & Sons. He has been postmaster at Garfield for fourteen years. J. J. Sitton devotes most of his time to buying and selling real estate and in managing his farm and stock.


A Reminiscent History of the Ozark Region: comprising a condensed general history, a brief descriptive history of each county, and numerous biographical sketches of prominent citizens of such counties. Chicago: Goodspeed Brothers Publishers. 1894.

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