Madera has lost another link to its pioneer past. Robert C. Pitman died Saturday morning, following a short hospital stay. He is the last of the five Pitman brothers of a family well known from the early days of Madera County.
Bob was 93, and during the last 25 years of his life, I got to know him pretty well. He was a virtual library of local and family history. His story really begins in the blighted countryside of Ireland when his great-grandparents, Andrew and Catherine Craig Cunningham, came to America. They brought with them one son, Thomas, and one daughter, Jenny.
They settled in Dearborn County, Ind., where Andrew farmed, and Catherine tended to the family, which grew to include six children. At their family hearth, they drank in stories of the hardships in Ireland.
Early on, each was impressed with the advantages to be gained from obtaining a good education. These lessons firmly took root with young John Cunningham...