Biography - William A. Fitch

William A. Fitch, who in company with his brother-n-law, George A Arnesman, is conducting a well appointed mercantile establishment at Ganntown, is a lively young merchant, with fine business qualifications and a fair promise of becoming one of the wealthy men of his native county.  He was born in Johnson County 11 October 1866 and is a son of Robert W Fitch a respected farmer of Grantsburg Township.
The father of our subject is a native of Tennessee and a son of Anderson Fitch a farmer who was a native of North Carolina, whence he moved to Tennessee and died in Henry County of that state.  Robert Fitch was brought up on a farm in Tennessee and at the breaking out of the war when he was seventeen years old, he came to Illinois with two of his brothers who had previously married coming hither by water.  He had to earn his living the first few years by working out on a farm and by that means he accumulated about $300 which enabled him to marry in 1865 Elizabeth Rentfro, a native of this county.  Her people were from Tennessee and were among the early pioneer farmers of the county.  Her grandfather was a lawyer who held the position of County Judge for eight years and subsequently entered the ministry of the Protestant Methodist Church.
Our subject's father and mother when married began their wedded life on a rented farm in this county which they occupied for a number of years.  They then bought a farm in Grantsburg Township, improved it, and selling it at a good price over the original cost bought another upon which they lived for three years.  They disposed of that one  and after four years purchased another farm in Grantsburg Twp which they still make their home.  It comprises fifty acres of well-tilled, fertile land and is provided with the necessary improvements.  Mr. and Mrs. Fitch have been blessed in their married life with eleven children, namely; William Anderson; Charlie at home with his parents; Artabron, who is married and engaged in farming; ; John Milton, who is teaching school in Massac County; Minnie Belle, wife of William Bain; and the following, who are at home:   Joseph Franklin, Rachel, Bertie, Fannie, Ora and Lillie. 
William Anderson Fitch is the eldest of the family.  He was reared on a farm and was given excellent educational advantages.  His studies in the public schools were supplemented by a course in a select school in Massac County, which he attended for two terms.   He entered the teacher's profession, and taught school in Missouri for nearly five years.  Returning home, he married and then began his prosperous career as a merchant at Ganntown.  He was first in partnership with Gann Brothers, whom he subsequently bought out and is now in partnership with his brother-n-law, George Arnesman.  They have a neatly fitted up store, well stocked with a good line of general merchandise and have the principal trade of the town and out lying country.  They are eminently worthy of the patronage they receive as they are strictly honest in their dealings never misrepresenting an article and they are always prompt, obliging and courteous with their customers, besides having the good judgment and enterprise to select their stock with reference to the tastes and demands of the people to whom they cater.  In politics, our subject is an ardent Republican and in his citizenship he is truly public spirited. 
The amiable wife of Mr. Fitch was formerly Alice Arnesman and is from Massac County of which her father is a prominent and well known citizen.  He came from Germany as did also his wife.  He worked a while in Cincinnati after landing in this country and then came her a poor man.  He engaged in farming and is now among the wealthiest men of Massac County and farms on an extensive scale and has a large amount of real estate and bank stock.

Extracted from 1893 Biographical Review of Johnson, Massac, Pope, and Hardin Counties, Illinois, pages 140-141.

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