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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FITZGERALD, Thomas, senator, born in Germantown, Herkimer County, N. Y.. 10 April 1796; died in Niles, Michigan, 25 March 1855. His father, an Irish soldier in the Revolutionary army, was wounded and pensioned. The son received a common school education, and served with credit in the war of 1812 under General Harrison. After its conclusion he studied law, and was admitted to the bar. He then removed to Indiana, where he was elected to the first legislature that met in Indianapolis, and in 1832 went to Michigan, beginning the practice of his profession at St. Joseph. In 1837 he was made a regent of the University of Michigan, and from 20 June 1848, till 3 March 1849, served as a member of the U. S. Senate, having been appointed by the governor to fill the vacancy caused by the resignation of General Lewis Cass. Before going to Washington he was named as a commissioner to inquire into the condition of what were known as "wildcat" banks, and by his perseverance and industry succeeded in effecting the virtual extermination of those discreditable institutions. Senator Fitzgerald was appointed by President Pierce a judge in one of the territories, but refused. He was subsequently probate judge of Berrien County, Michigan, and was a leader in the Democratic Party .
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