Ashbel P. Fitch

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Ashbel Parmelee Fitch
Ashbel Parmelee Fitch.jpg
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from New York's 13th district
In office
March 4, 1887 – March 3, 1893
Preceded by Egbert L. Viele
Succeeded by John De Witt Warner
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from New York's 15th district
In office
March 4, 1893 – January 30, 1894
Preceded by Henry Bacon
Succeeded by Isidor Straus
Personal details
Born (1848-10-08)October 8, 1848
Mooers, New York
Died May 4, 1904(1904-05-04) (aged 55)
New York City
Resting place Woodlawn Cemetery
Nationality American
Political party Democratic
Occupation Politician, businessperson

Ashbel Parmelee Fitch (October 8, 1848 – May 4, 1904) was an American lawyer, financier, and politician.[1] He was a four-term Congressman and a one-term city comptroller.[2]

From March 4, 1887 until January 30, 1894 he served as U.S. Representative from New York.[3] In congress, he worked to have New York City selected for the 1892 World Exposition. He also defended immigrant rights and supported tariff reform,[2] urging the passage of the Mills Tariff Reform Bill.[1] He served as chairman of the Committee on Private Land Claims and the Committee on Election of President, Vice President, and Representatives.[3]

Founding president of the Trust Company of America in 1899,[3] he remained president upon his death in May 1904.[1] He was also a director of companies such as the American Light and Traction Company and the Lion Brewery.[1]

Early life and education[edit]

Ashbel Parmelee Fitch was born on October 8, 1848 in Mooers, New York.[3][1] On both his father's and mother's side, he was descended from Revolutionary ancestors[1] and was also a descendent of William Bradford.[4] He moved to New York City with his parents while young.[1] He attended the public schools of New York,[1][3] including Grammar School No. 35, a public school in Lower Manhattan.[5] He prepared for college at Williston Seminary in Easthampton, Massachusetts, before spending several years at the Universities of Jena and Berlin in Germany. Afterwards he took a course at Columbia Law School in New York City.[1]

Career[edit]

1869-1880s: Early litigation[edit]

At the age of 21,[1] he was admitted to the bar in November 1869, initially practicing law in New York City.[3]

1884-1893: Public life and Congress[edit]

He entered public life in 1884, when the Republicans offered him the nomination for Congress for his home district. However, he declined, as he was not in agreement with the high-tariff doctrines of his party.[1] After accepting the Republican nomination in 1887,[1] Fitch was elected as a Republican to the Fiftieth Congress and served from March 4, 1887.[3] In congress, he supported New York City and tariff reform, and worked to have New York City selected for the 1892 World Exposition. He also defended immigrant rights.[2] On May 1888, he gave a speech "which attracted national attention" when he urged for the passage of the Mills Tariff Reform Bill. He afterwards received the joint nomination of Tamany Hall and the County Democracy.[1]

He was elected as a Democrat to the Fifty-first, Fifty-second, and Fifty-third Congresses. He served as chairman of the Committee on Private Land Claims (Fifty-second Congress) and the Committee on Election of President, Vice President, and Representatives (Fifty-third Congress).[3] After four terms in Congress,[1] he resigned on December 26, 1893.[3]

1893-1897: Comptroller of New York[edit]

Fitch resigned from Congress to accept Tammany Hall's nomination for Comptroller of New York City in 1893. He was elected on the Tammany Ticket[1] and served in that office from 1893 until 1897.[1][3] Writes historian David Remington, as comptroller Fitch "oversaw the city's finances during a time of terrible economic distress, withstanding threats from Tammany Hall on one side and from Mayor William L. Strong's misguided reform administration on the other."[2]

In 1897, Tammany refused to renominate him. Chauncey Depew placed his name in nomination at the Republican convention to become the first Comptroller of the Consolidated New York. He was defeated.[2] Wrote the New York Times, "at the first election for Greater New York the Republicans placed him in nomination [for Controller of the city] and he was swept out of power by the Tammany tidal wave."[1]

Business career and memberships[edit]

He served as the founding president of the Trust Company of America in 1899.[3] He remained president upon his death in May 1904.[1] He was also a director of the American Light and Traction Company, the Bowling Green Trust Company, the Germania Bank, the Lion Brewery, and the Title Insurance Company of America.[1]

He was a member of various social clubs, including the Metropolitan Club of Manhattan, the Lawyers' Club, the New York Yacht Club, the St. Nicholas Club, the Ardsley Country Club, the Germania Club, the Press Club, the Liederkranz Club, the Arion Society, and the Metropolitan Club of Washington. He was also president of the Franklin County Society.[1] Further memberships included the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Sons of the Revolution, Military Order of Foreign Wars, New England Society, Municipal Art Society, New York Genealogical and Biographical Society, the Dunlap Society, and the New York Chamber of Commerce.[1]

Personal life[edit]

Fitch married Elizabeth Cross Fitch[6] of Morrisville, New York in 1874.[1] The couple had six children - three sons and three daughters.[1] Ashbel Fitch died in New York City on May 4, 1904[3] in his home at 16 East 80th Street in Manhattan. The papers reported that he died by a stroke of apoplexy, and that he had been in poor health for some time.[1] The service was held on May 6 at his home,[1] and he was interred in Woodlawn Cemetery.[3][1] His widow died suddenly in May 1913 at her home at 759 West End Avenue.[6]

His son Ashbel P. Fitch[4] also became a lawyer, at Fitch & Grant in New York at 67 Wall Street. A prominent member of the Manhattan Club, he was involved in several major cases, including a 1923 judgement to Richard Croker concerning loans to his father. He died on May 21, 1926 at the age of 49.[7]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z "Ashbel P. Fitch Dies Suddenly of Apoplexy; Had Been in Poor Health, However, for Some Time. Four Terms in Congress - Was Elected Controller of New York on Tammany Ticket and Defeated on Republican Nomination -- Business Affiliations". The New York Times. New York City, New York, United States. May 5, 1904. Retrieved May 12, 2017. 
  2. ^ a b c d e David F. Remington: Ashbel P. Fitch - Champion of old New York, Syracuse University Press, Syracuse, New York, 2011 (online)
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m
  4. ^ a b "Obituary 2 -- No Title". The New York Times. New York City, New York, United States. May 23, 1926. Retrieved May 12, 2017. 
  5. ^ Remington, David F. (2011). Ashbel P. Fitch: Champion of Old New York. Syracuse, New York: Syracuse University Press. pp. 16–7. Retrieved December 25, 2017. 
  6. ^ a b "Obituary 1 -- No Title". The New York Times. New York City, New York, United States. May 6, 1913. Retrieved May 12, 2017. 
  7. ^ "Ashbel P. Fitch dies in Theatre". The New York Times. May 22, 1926. Retrieved May 12, 2017. 

External links[edit]

 This article incorporates public domain material from the Biographical Directory of the United States Congress website http://bioguide.congress.gov.

U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by
Egbert L. Viele
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from New York's 13th congressional district

1887–1893
Succeeded by
John De Witt Warner
Preceded by
Henry Bacon
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from New York's 15th congressional district

1893
Succeeded by
Isidor Straus