26 Apr 2005
Source: Portrait & Biographical Album of Whiteside County, IL
Originally published 1885 Chapman Bros., Chicago, IL
Transcribed by: Becky Jones
George W. Fitch, farmer and business man of Whiteside County, has been a resident of Lyndon Township since 1837, when he accompanied his parents hither. Erastus Fitch, his father, was born in Massachusetts, where he grew up and received a good education. He began the career of a teacher in his native State, and afterwards taught school in New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Vermont and Pennsylvania.
He was married in the latter State to Harriet (Beecher) Wells, the widow of Cyrus Wells, and located in Pike, Bradford County, where he engaged in farming, spending alternate winter seasons in teaching. He removed with his family to Ohio in 1830, and obtained employment as a teacher in Shalersville, Portage County, where he was occupied in that calling four years.
In 1834 he bought a farm in the township of Edinburg, on which he operated until 1836, the year in which he came to Whiteside County. He reached Chicago via the lake route, and walked from that city to his destination. He made a claim on section 30, Lyndon Township, and soon afterward built a log house, situated on the “bluff.” He placed a few acres under improvement during the summer, and in the fall went to Ohio for his family.
He left the Buckeye State April 28 and journeyed by way of the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers. The household occupied the primitive log house about nine years, and after that they were included in the family of their son, George W., under whose supervision they remained until the close of their lives. The father’s demise took place Feb. 11, 1875; that of the mother June 6, 1877. They were aged respectively 86 and 89 years. Four of their five children survive: R. Dudley is a resident of Lyndon; George W. is next in order of birth; Lois, widow of P. Daggett, lives in Lyndon; Chauncey E. resides at Sterling; and one child died in infancy.
Mr. Fitch, of this sketch, was born Feb. 21, 1822, in Pike, Bradford Co., Pa. He was 15 years old when he came to Illinois, and soon after became a member of the household of his uncle, W. D. Dudley, a pioneer settler of Lyndon Township of 1835, and lived with him until his minority was passed. Meanwhile he had secured a claim of 80 acres on section 9 of the same township, in which he began his labor as a developer of the agricultural resources of his county, and of which he took possession when he was married. His industry, frugality and energy met with success, and at the time he sold his estate in 1881 he was the owner of 320 acres of land. In 1857 Mr. Fitch engaged in buying cattle for shipment to the cities of Boston, New York and Chicago, in which line of business he operated extensively for more than a score of years. At the same time he pushed his agricultural interests, and trafficked somewhat largely in the purchase and sale of land. At one period he held nearly 2,000 acres. He was one of the founders and original stockholders of the Lyndon Hydraulic Manufacturing Company, and served as its President.
Feb. 4, 1845, Mr. Fitch was united in marriage to Ellen D., daughter of Daniel F. and Aurelia S. (Pease) Millikan, and they had eight children: Frank E., Emily A. (Mrs. J. N. Pollard, of Fairmount, Neb.), Flora A. (Mrs. C. H. Abernethy, of the same place), and Nellie A. are the only survivors. The youngest daughter is a teacher near Fairmount, Neb.
Mr. and Mrs. Fitch are members of the Congregational Church.