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Report of Committee on Obituaries
The following members of the Association have died within
the last year:
Nov. 20, 1904, Maj. T. C. Elder, Staunton.
Memorials of some of these deceased brothers have been prepared; memorials of the others will be procured to be printed with the annual report.
Unless there be a request that the memorials already prepared be read, the Committee would recommend that they be filed with the Secretary for printing. The Committee, by
A. C. BRAXTON,
E. HILTON Jackson. August 9, 1905.
WILLIAM B. PETTIT.
William B. Pettit was born in the County of Fluvanna on the tenth day of October, 1825, and died at his home, Glen Burnie, near Palmyra, on the eleventh day of January, 1905. He was the son of Mr. Overton Pettit, a farmer of the county, and a descendant of an Irish surveyor, and schoolmaster, who had emigrated to America in the middle of the eighteenth century, and through him, the descendant of a Huguenot exile, who had made his home in the North of Ireland. Mr. Overton Pettit having met with reverses, brought on by the payment of surety debts, the son, William, was thrown upon his own resources at the age of fourteen. He first kept store and received tolls at the ferry in Columbia, and while thus employed was so fortunate as to secure a home in the family of a very scholarly man, Dr. Miller, who was a practicing physician of the village. Under him, young Pettit took a course of study or reading; and that the benefit derived from this source helped largely in the making of the man will be appreciated by his writing the doctor's aged widow a few years ago: "If I have attained any success in this life it is due in a great measure to the inspiration I received when a member of your household.”
He was very studious and became an absorbing reader of books selected for him by his interested friend. After leaving this occupation he taught school, at the same time keeping up his own studies and reading law, so that while studying the doctrines of the law he made himself a master of English ; an equipment which enabled him at once to take a high stand on his admission to the bar. It was never claimed or said of him that he was "self-made," but it is easy to imagine that he would never have attained the position he did, but for the exactions imposed by the trials of his youth.