Fitch, James, 1622 - 1702

James Fitch was born in Bocking, Essex, England to Thomas and Anne Fitch. He immigrated in 1638 and studied under the direction of Reverend Thomas Hooker and Rev. Samuel Stone. Appointed the minister at Saybrook, Fitch moved to Norwich shortly after the death of his first wife, Abigail Whitfield, in 1659 with a large part of his congregation. He married Priscilla Mason, the daughter of John Mason in October 1664.  In 1670 Fitch preached to the Tunxis at Farmington, Connecticut.  In the years following, the Connecticut General Assembly authorized him to hear matters of controversy between Indians and colonists and commissioned him to instruct the Mohegan in the Christian religion. According to Oberg, Uncas sought to make Fitch the successor to John Mason’s guardianship of the Mohegan after Mason’s death, and initially encouraged tribal members to attend Fitch’s instructions. In time, Fitch’s Indian congregation grew to about 30 members, but they were constantly harassed by Uncas, who had changed his view about Puritan Christianity by then. During King Phillip’s War, Fitch was a military advisor to Mohegan and the Pequot forces assisting the colonists. After the war, he was responsible, in part, for the surrendering Indians formerly allied to Philip that gathered at Shetucket.   In his later life, Fitch moved to Lebanon, Connecticut where he died on November 18, 1702.  PRCC. Michael L. Oberg, Uncas: First of the Mohegans (Ithaca, 2003), 167-170.

Born: 
December 24, 1622
Died: 
November 18, 1702