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Kittleman, Jimmy

            This good old man came here at any early date, say 1821 or 1822.  He was shoemaker by trade and lived many years on the south-east corner of Market and East streets.  He was an honest but simple man, an ardent and enthusiastic Methodist, and most of his earthly joy consisted in meeting his brothers and sisters of the church in class-meeting or love-feast.  He took great comfort in relating his experience and conversion to religion, and hot it was brought about, the temptations and trials he was exposed to, and how the devil first appeared to him, and the offers he made to him.


            He was attending to his father’s sheep-fold late in the evening, he said, when the devil appeared to him and made offers equal to those he had made our Savior when on the mountain:  the sheep and cattle upon a thousand hills, if he would worship him.  He said he knew the “old sarpent” [sic] the moment he saw him; so he leaned his head upon a big “wether,” [sic] and prayed the Lord to give him strength to resist the tempter.  When he arose the devil had gone.  He often appeared to him afterwards [sic] and renewed his offer, with the addition that he could go to all the dances and play the fiddle as much s he pleased.  But he had as often sought the same old “wether” [sic] to lay his head against and pray for grace, and he as often found it.  “Brethren,” said he, “I fell this morning that I would rather be here and hear Sister Lydia Haws sing, ‘We’ll all meet together in the morning,’ than to have all the sheep and cattle the old sinner had.”


            On one occasion, at a love-feast, the ld man said “his sun had been behind a cloud for some days, and that he had not been in close communion with the Savior, but thanked God that this morning, his sky was once more clear, and he could read “his title clear to mansions in the skies,’ and that he was able to raise his Ebenezer, and that the cloud had passed away, and that he was way beyond the reach of the devil and all his cattle.”  On another occasion the old gentleman got very happy in class-meeting.  He looked toward the roof of the house, extended his arms in an imploring manner, and said, “Do, Lord, come right down!  Come right through the roof, right now!  Do, Lord!  Never mind the shingles, but come right down, Lord!”  At this point the old man began flapping his arms up and down as wings, as if starting to meet the Savior.  When he got in one of these ways the only remedy was to sing him down, and Sister Haws contributed a good portion, which generally elicited from the old man, after he became quieted, a “God bless Sister Haws.”


            In the sincerity and earnestness of Brother Kittleman there was none to doubt, but the old gentleman’s zeal was sometimes greater than his common sense.  He left this place many years since and removed to the far West, and no doubt is prepared to meet Sister Haws “in the morning,” and “on the other side of Jordan.”

Nowland, John H. B., “Early Reminiscences of Indianapolis, with Short Biographical Sketches of Its Early Citizens, and of a Few of the Prominent Business Men of the Present Day,” 1870, pp. 85-87.