Luther Hite was one of the pioneers of Wapello county, passing away on his home farm near Ottumwa, April 20, 1913, at the patriarchal age of eighty-five years. He was an industrious farmer, a self-made man who acquired his earthly possessions by his own efforts. When he died he owned a valuable three hundred acre farm—the outward evidence of years of arduous labor and good business management.
Luther Hite was born in Greenfield, Ohio, February 10, 1828, a son of John and Elizabeth (Ware) Hite, natives of Nelson county, Virginia. The father was born May 11, 1799, and the mother July 3, 1804. They were early settlers of Ohio, the mother passing away in that state, September 29, 1840. Her husband subsequently came to Wapello county, Iowa, where he owned a farm upon which the Jefferson school in Ottumwa now stands. In fact he donated this site for school purposes. He later went to Clarinda, Iowa, where he died March 8, 1879. He was twice married and there were five children born to the first union and four to the second.
Luther Hite was reared under the parental roof and received his schooling in Ohio. In 1849, when he had reached his majority, he decided to seek the opportunities of the middle west and came to Iowa where he devoted his energies to farming. He led a quiet and industrious life, steadily improving his land, erecting new buildings and making his farm one of the best of his neighborhood. He gradually added to his holdings and at the time of his death owned three hundred acres of most valuable land. He always followed up-to-date methods and in the management of his enterprise showed good judgment and business ability. All of his possessions were acquired through his own efforts, and there is great credit due him because of his industry and perseverance in attaining a substantial position in life.
Mr. Hite was twice married, his first union being with Miss Elizabeth Monroe, who was born April 30, 1829, and died in Ottumwa. They had four children: Elizabeth, deceased, whose birth occurred October 2, 1853, and who married W. G. Smith; John, who was born November 26, 1856, and died April 12, 1880; Rosa, who was born April 1, 1860, and died in 1861; and Frank, who was born August 1, 1862, and is an agriculturist of Jefferson county, Iowa, residing near Eidon. He married Bertha Acton and has two children, Harold and Mary. On April 6, 1876, Mr. Hite married again, this union being with Miss Elizabeth McCune, who survives him and now resides on the home place. They had one child, Hervey W., born on the homestead June 15, 1879. There he has resided all his life and now operates the farm. On February 17, 1904, he married Nellie Fern McElroy, who was born in Wapello county, April 21, 1886, and is a daughter of John McElroy. To this union have been born two children, Susie Helen and Lewis Luther. Mrs. Elizabeth (McCune) Hite was born in Ireland, September 7, 1851, a daughter of John and Eliza (Crighton) McCune, natives of Scotland, who were the parents of four sons and four daughters. They emigrated from the land of Erin to America, settling in Ohio when Mrs. Hite was yet a child. Before the Civil war they came to Iowa, making their home in Wapello county, where both passed away. In this connection it may be of interest to mention that Mr. Hite’s mother, both of his wives, his sister and a daughter were all named Elizabeth.
Mr. Hite was a republican, quietly supporting that party and always discharging faithfully his citizen’s duties. He often gave support to valuable enterprises but had no taste for public office. He was a devout Presbyterian and a charter member of the First Presbyterian church of Ottumwa. He died April 20, 1913, and with him passed from the stage of life one of the best beloved men in the county and one who had been of much use to his fellow citizens. His many friends cherish his memory as that of a man who was guided by the highest purposes in life.”
Source: History of Wapello County, Iowa, Vol. 2, by The S.J. Clarke Publishing Co., Chicago, 1914, pages 508-512