Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
Grant Wilson, John Fiske and Stanley L. Klos. Six volumes, New York: D. Appleton
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FITCH, Benjamin, philanthropist, born in New York, 13 June 1802; died in New York City, 7 November 1883. His father, Stephen Fitch, was a Quaker, and had him educated at the Quaker settlement in Mr. Lebanon, Conn. He was taken to Buffalo in 1812 by his father, who went there to see Red Jacket, the Seneca chief, in behalf of the government. He was in Buffalo when the British burned it in 1813. He went to Albany, and subsequently to New York, where he became clerk in a store. In 1824 he opened a general country store in Buffalo, and subsequently engaged in the dry goods business in Rochester, Buffalo, New York, and Chicago, retiring with a large fortune in 1853. Returning from Europe at the outbreak of the civil war, he induced many volunteers to enlist in the service by promising to care for their families, which led to his founding, in 1866, the Fitch home in Darien, Connecticut, for soldiers' orphans. He added a public hall and an art gallery, and also built a Church in Darien. He gave the land and building for the Fitch creche, founded in 1880. In 1881 he founded the Fitch institute, which was organized on the plan of the Cooper institute in New York. On the occasion of his last visit to Buffalo he gave $15,000 to the Charity organization society. He made liberal annual gifts of money to the children of the Fitch home.
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