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, Thomas, governor of Connecticut, born in Norwalk, Connecticut, in June 1699" died there in July 1774. He was graduated at Yale in 1721, studied law, and after middle life filled successively the offices of chancellor, judge of the superior court, and chief justice of his state. His principles were loyal, and, notwithstanding the growing unpopularity of his opinions, he was elected governor in 1754, and held office till 1766. In 1765, Ingersoll, the royal stamp master of Connecticut, put himself under the protection of Governor Fitch, and in the same year, at the general assembly held in Hartford the governor took the oath of office prescribed in the stamp act. Colonel Putnam afterward waited on him to express the sentiments of the people as to this matter, and told him that if he refused to admit the "Sons of Liberty," who were coming to destroy the stamped paper, his house would be leveled to the dust in five minutes. In consequence of persisting in the protection of Ingersoll and holding to his loyalist sentiments, the general assembly of 1766 forced him from public life by electing William Pitkin governor of the state in his stead. Governor Fitch at once retired to private life. A monument, raised by public subscription, which is still standing in the private cemetery of his home in Norwalk, Connecticut, commemorates his "large acquirements, virtuous character, and strict fidelity in discharge of important trusts." His descendants and the collateral branches of his family are still among the most public-spirited citizens of Norwalk. See Van Rensselaer's "Ancestral Sketches" (New York, 1882).
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