Emit Pittman – Dalton Wells CCC Enrollee

The 1943 incarceration of Japanese Americans and Moab’s role in these national-scale events were predated by Dalton Wells’ original use: a Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) camp – DG-32. This week, the Museum team dives into the story of one of the CCC enrollees: Emit T. Pittman, whose profile is displayed in the current temporary exhibition A Moab Prison Camp: Japanese American Incarceration in Grand County.

Emit T. Pittman came to Utah from Oklahoma, enrolling at the Dalton Wells CCC camp in 1935. He served as a junior technical foreman at Dalton Wells and led teams on field assignments at “spike camps” located in and around the La Sal Mountains. He taught enrollees a variety of skills, including cutting down trees and worksite safety. He was also a competitive boxer: local papers featured Pittman boxing at exhibitions and charity events during the 1930s and deemed him “southeastern Utah’s leading boxer.” 

Following his stint with the CCC, Pittman became a lifelong member of the Moab community. He acted as an official county trapper for years and is credited with trapping the area’s largest beaver on record, weighing in at 62 pounds. He also worked as a uranium mill foreman and a river guide. In his spare time, he raised acres of vegetables to sell.   

He married Hannah Simpson, a nurse who worked at Moab’s hospital. They joined a variety of community service organizations and pursuits. Emit participated in the Lions Club and the Democratic Party. He ran for Sheriff and County Commissioner. Hannah held officer positions in the Mary-Martha Circle Church Service Group, Ladies Literary Club, and County Health Board. 

This story has been developed collaboratively by Utah State Parks and the Moab Museum. The exhibition will be on display through June 29, 2024. 

The Moab Museum is dedicated to sharing stories of the natural and human history of the Moab area. To explore more of Moab’s stories and artifacts, find out about upcoming programs, and become a Member, visit www.moabmuseum.org.

This article originally appeared in the Moab Sun News Moab History Column, written weekly by Museum staff.