|Birth: ||Jul., 1836|
New York, USA
|Death: ||Feb. 26, 1908|
Los Angeles County
Pitts, a New York native born July 1836, enlisted in Company F, 30th Infantry Regiment on June 1, 1861. He enrolled for a 3 year tour of duty with that unit. However on May 24, 1863, all of the three year men of the 30th were transferred to the 76th New York and Rulandus was assigned to Company F. And as you well know, on June 1st, 1863 as a member of Cutler's Brigade, he found himself involved in the fighting at the infamous "Railroad Cut" outside of Gettysburg, PA.
Rulandus was among the first to go down when Davis' Confederates attacked them about 10:30 that morning. During the fight, he was hit in the right knee, and as he lay there he was wounded again in the right shoulder. When the union troops pulled back through Gettysburg, Pitts was left behind. He lay there all night and throughout the rest of the battle.
As a result of the delay in his treatment for his injuries, he had his right leg amputated above the knee, and in the intervening years lost the use of his right hand. In spite of all this, he remained in the army, working in the commissary until he was mustered out on July 1, 1864 on a medical discharge.
Following the war, he returned to central New York, where he worked at "odd jobs" as best he could. He married and had a daughter, before his first wife died. In the early 1880s, he remarried and moved to Parson, Kansas, where he started a second family, while living on his pension and any type of work he could get. Four children were born to this new family - sons Rulandus Jr. and Jennings, and two daughters, Mary (or Nellie, according to a reader of this website) and ZaSu (named after his new wife's maiden aunts - Eliza and Susan, hence the unusual name ZASU). (according to the same reader, Eliza and Susan were Rulandus' own sisters)
In 1902, the Pitts family moved again, here to Santa Cruz, California. He was always very active in veteran affairs, being a strong member of the GAR. He died on February 26th 1908, and was buried at the Odd Fellows Cemetery in Santa Cruz (now "Santa Cruz Memorial Park"). His daughter ZaSu was a very talented girl who left Santa Cruz for Hollywood the day she graduated from high school. She quickly made it big in the movies, becoming a huge star in serious drama and later comedy. She made over 140 movies and appeared in countless television episodes. In 1994, as part of the "Silent Stars" series of stamps, the U.S. government issued a commemorative bearing her likeness in a caricature by the famous Al Hirschfeld. A famous woman indeed.
ZaSu Pitts (1894 - 1963)*
Jennings Pitts (1897 - 1957)*
Santa Cruz Memorial Park
Santa Cruz County
Plot: Block E, Lot 16.
Created by: Laurie
Record added: Nov 21, 2008
Find A Grave Memorial# 31597204