Dad Kitts is Crowding 80
Will Have a Birthday Celebration
With One Exception he is the Oldest Native Son of Oswego - How He Manages to Keep Young and Enjoy Life - Makes the Timber Fly on the Alleys
Willard A. Kitts, oldest active business man of the city and with the exception of Frederick O. Clarke the oldest native son of Oswego, will on Saturday next celebrate his eightieth birthday.
Mr. and Mrs. William R. Marshall will tender a reception and luncheon in honor of Mr. Kitts at his home, 119 East Fourth street, Saturday night to members of his family and about forty friends, the invitations having been issued.
Born in this city March 13th, 1835, Mr. Kitts was the son of Mr. and Mr. and Mrs. Henry Kitts, whose forebears are mingled in their veins the blood of English, Irish and German stock. His youth, and practically his entire life, was spent in this city, he having been educated in the public schools, after which he was associated with his father in the lumber business.
Later he was in the ship and boatyard business with his father and the late Andrew Miller. In those days the firm did a big business, the yard in the East cove being among the most pretentious in the city. later the elder Kitts became interested in a shingle mill near the old guard lock and did a large and successful business there. The plant was destroyed by fire, and Willard erected a new plant near the foot of West First street that gave employment to a large number of operatives, until it was also destroyed by fire, back in the seventies and then organized the Kitts Manufacturing Company for the manufacture of steam boiler specialties. Several years ago the controlling interest in the plant was sold to the Hunters of Fulton, but Mr. Kitts continued as its director until four or five years ago and, with Richard Hobby, organized the the Kitts Steam Special Company, which now has a plant on the East side, the controlling interest in the old plant having been sold to a few months ago to James Parker and Marvin E. King, who occupy the old stand in Water street.
Mr. Kitt's health is excellent. During the past Winter he has not missed a single day from business and he looks more robust than he did a dozen years ago. He was for several years the champion bowler of the old Lake City Club and there is no bowler in the City League keener today for a game than is Mr. Kitts. Last Saturday he dropped into the Crystal alleys and bowled twelve games, winning all of them with an average score of 195. His high score, however, was made on the Lake City alleys on the occasion of his seventieth birthday, when he made the timber fly and hung up a score of 269.
"I have only one suggestion to make to those who wish to live a long and pleasant life," said Mr. Kitts to a Palladium reporter today, "live a regular and temperate life in all things, take a reasonable amount of exercise and don't worry. The man that lives such a life will get about all that is coming to him."
The Palladium joins with the many friends of Mr. Kitts in felicitations and with the hope that he will live to enjoy many more pleasant birthday anniversaries."