Family Card - Person Sheet
Family Card - Person Sheet

NameMary _____ 8
Immigr Date?
FlagsImmigrant
Spouses
Bapt Date16 Jan 1591/2
Bapt PlaceSt. Albans, Hertfordshire, England
Death Date9 Jun 1662
Death PlaceReading, Massachusetts
Immigr Dateabt 1637
FatherHugh FITCH (bp. 1563-)
MotherAnne (Agnes) SMITH (bp. 1567-)
Misc. Notes
The Massachusetts immigrant Zachary Fitch was from St. Albans, Hertfordshire, England. The most comprehensive account of his ancestry and descendants is found in Roscoe Conkling Fitch’s History of the Fitch Family.123 This work reprints in its entirety the earlier paper of Stearns,8 which remains the authority on Zachary’s descendants, although Stearns’ information about Zachary’s immediate family is superseded by Roscoe Conkling Fitch.

The parish registers of St. Albans, Hertfordshire, suggest that “Zachary Fitch emigrated to America between the date of the burial of his son Robert at St. Albans, Feb. 18, 1636-7, and Sept. 7, 1638, the date when he was admitted a freeman of Massachusetts, this later date being the earliest reference to him in America.”124 Stearns’ earlier conjecture (see below) that Zachary emigrated in 1633 was in error. Roscoe Conkling Fitch also supplies nearly complete details on the birth of Zachary’s children, information that was missing from Stearns’ earlier account. No connection has yet been established between the Fitches of St. Albans, Hertfordshire, and the well-known Fitch family of Essex, England (reports to the contrary notwithstanding).125

Stearns had earlier reported126 that “ZACHARY1 FITCH, the emigrant ancestor, of one branch of the Fitch Families of New England, came to Lynn about 1633. It is understood that he lived in Lynn a few years, and settled about 1640 in the South Parish of Reading, now Wakefield, where he lived until his death. The boundary lines of Lynn and other early towns were not clearly defined -- Zachary Fitch with others received grants of land from Lynn which fell within the town of Reading when that town was organized. It is probable that he occupied the land in Reading, now Wakefield, a few years earlier than the date assumed by Eaton’s History of Reading. He was admitted freeman in 1638. He was an original member of the Church of Reading, and a Deacon from 1645 until he died; and a selectman, 1649, ’51, ’61. In the records of Reading he is frequently named, and in the colonial papers of his time the good character of the man is fully confirmed. A facsimile of his autograph is found in the REGISTER, Vol. xxxiii, page 61, and other autographs are found in original papers. He wrote his name Zachrie, and his contemporaries frequently wrote it Zachary and Zachery, but the name of his son and many of his descendants has taken the full form of Zachariah. The name of his wife was Mary, but a record of the marriage has not been found. It is certain that he was married about the time he emigrated to America, and, so far as known, the marriage could have been consummated in England or immediately after his arrival in America. He died in Reading, June 9, 1662. His will is dated March 18, 1662. To his sons Benjamin, Joseph and Samuel, who were farmers remaining in Reading, he devised lands in Reading; and to his sons Jeremiah, Thomas and John he gave money. It is known that Jeremiah and Thomas were merchants in Boston, and as this is the only mention we have of John, it is presumed from the character of the bequest that he had removed from Reading, and possibly was engaged in business. In naming the children of Zachary and Mary Fitch, the order of age is not fully known.”

Zachary Fitch’s “occupation in England was that of a glover, as appears by a bond which he signed at St. Albans about 1620.”124 His son Jeremiah is also described as a glover, and his son Thomas as a cordwainer.127

The following items from Eaton’s Reading128 all pertain to the life of Zachary Fitch:

The early settlers of Reading probably received land grants from Lynn, but these early records are missing. Eaton gives a list of the persons who were believed to be residents at or about the year of incorporation, and the list includes “Zackery Fitch, who settled on Salem Street, near where Mrs. Elizabeth Aborn was in 1868.”129

Zackery Fitch and Mary Fitch were included in the list of brothers and sisters of the church at Reading from the 29th of September, 1648, to 1650, inclusive, which was prepared by the newly-ordained minister, Samuel Haugh of Boston.130

The town of Reading ordered “that Goodman Fitts (Fitch) shall have full sattisfacson for a towne hieway downe his Lot in land contiguous.”131

In 1651, “Nicholas Brown, Edward Taylor, Zackery Fitch, and Jonas Eaton, were fined 6d. each for being late at town meeting; and Geo. Davis was fined 1s. 6d. for absence.”132

In 1662 the town ordered “That the lottes that was to be laid out to be on Wouburn line, is to be laid out on the Playne, and are to begin at the end next to Birchen Playne; and if the Playne will not be enough for all, the rest to be laid out in the Pine Playne at Dirty Breech meadow, and to begin at the hither end next to the town.” The grants ranged from 10 to 20 acres in size, and Zachary Fitch received a grant of 18 acres.133

In 1653, “Capt. Richard Walker, Thomas Marshall, and Nicholas Holt, being appoynted by the Court to lay out the County highway from Andevour to Reddinge, have thus agreed to follow the cart-way from Andevour to Goodman Holt’s farm, leaving his howse about a quarter of a mile on the left hand, and so on in a strayte South, or nere a South lyne, to the falls of Ipswich river, according to the marked trees, and so from a river uppon the like strayght lyne to the head of a meddow, called the Great Meddow, to the Saw Mill [original footnote: “Said saw-mill stood where ‘Newcomb Saw-Mill recently stood.”] in Reddinge, and from thence through common cornfields to the Meeting house, leaving the lott of Josias Dustin on the right hand, and Zackariah Fitts, his lott, on the left hand; and we agree that the said highway shall be fower rods wide at the least in all places, except through the common fields of Reddinge, and there not to be less than two rods wide.”134

In 1654, “‘Zachariah Fitch and Joseph Dustin,’ over whose land the road from Andover was laid in 1653, ‘having petitioned the Court for the removing of a highway layd out through their planting ground,’ received this answer: ‘The said highway shall be and hereby is suspended from being made us of for the present, and that the first highway formerly layd out shall be made use of, and accounted the only Country highway till this Court take further order.’ N.B. The piece of highway suspended as above was that part of the present Salem Street that is west of Daniel Nichols’, and was early known and long called Fitch’s Lane; and the ‘first highway’ referred to above extended from the present Vernon Street westerly, over the present Sweetser Street to Main Street, near the house of Wm. White; and this last named way was long the main road to Andover and Salem.”135

In 1657 the town ordered “that a town way be laid out from the Common, in the middle of the town, to the Country Way, at the other end of Goodman Dustin’s Lott, -- one pole upon Josias Dustin and one pole upon Goodman Fitch.”136

Zachary Fitch’s name is listed, among others, as having been alloted a plot of land on the north side of Ipswich river, the number of acres in which was illegible on the original record book.137

In 1659, “‘A highway was laid out this year through Zackery Fitch’s lott, for a Town Highway for Cart and horse and foot -- this highway is layd out from the Common to County highway, at the lower end of the lotts; is to be a pole broad from the Common up to the white oak stump; and from thence to the other end of the lott, it is to be one pole and three quarters broad. Furthermore, it is agreed that Brother Fitch is to have the gate that the town made, and to hang it up, but the town to maintain it; and Brother Fitch is to make another gate at his own charge, and to sett it up at the other end of the lott, and to maintain it at his own charge.’.... N.B. -- This is the highway over Fitch’s Hill from Main to Vernon Streets.”138

Eaton’s entry on Zachary Fitch from his genealogical list of early settlers reads: “FITCH, Dea. (Zachery), settled first at Lynn; was a freeman in 1638; removed to Reading about 1644; lived in South Parish, on Salem Street, then called Fitch’s Lane; owned ‘Fitch’s Hill,’ so-called; his house stood near where D. Swett, Jr., now lives; was a deacon and selectmen. His wife’s name was Mary; had children: Zachery, who d. 1647; Joseph, Sarah, Benjamin, John, Jeremiah, Thomas. He d. 1662.”139

Zachariah Fitch heads the list of the deacons of the First Church of Reading. He was appointed deacon in 1645 along with four others; he died in 1662.140

Zachariah Fitch was a selectmen of Reading in 1649, 1651, and 1661.141

The following is a passage from “A Poem Delivered at the Reading Bi-Centennial Celebration, May 29, 1844, by Lilley Eaton, of South Reading”:142
<blockquote>
I farther look’d; and on the hill,
Where now the heirs of John Gould dwell,
Upon the western slope or pitch,
There liv’d old Zachariah Fitch,
His name he gave to hill and lane,
A name they both as yet retain;
’T was said, ‘so narrow was that street,
That loaded teems could not there meet!’
This Goodman Fitch was deacon too,
And I have heard the story true,
That when his neighbors were attack’d
As with first settlers is the fact,
With chills and heat, with cold and shiver,
Sure consequence of the aguean fever,
And so desisted from their labors,
And crawled about among their neighbors,
Old Father Fitch would laugh to scorn
Their shiv’ring pains and looks forlorn,
Would call them lazy, ’fraid of work,
And thus crack on the cruel joke;
But soon it happened, we are told,
The aguean fever, and the cold,
Seiz’d Mister Fitch, to his great grief,
And set him shiv’ring like a leaf.
His neighbors then, with roguish haste,
Came to console their friend’s distress:
‘O, Deacon Fitch! you lazy, too!
Come, go to work, we’ll venture you!’
‘Ah,’ cried old Zachery, with a sigh.
‘You were not half so sick as I.’
</blockquote>
ChildrenJohn (bp. 1621-)
 Jeremiah (Jeremie) (bp. 1622-1692)
 Marie (bp. 1623-)
 Zachariah (Zacharie) (bp. 1626-1647)
 Thomas (bp. 1628-1678)
 Benjamin (bp. 1630-1713)
 Sarah (bp. 1633-)
 Robert (Died as Child) (bp. 1635-)
 Joseph (~1638-1694)
 Samuel (1645-1684)
Last Modified 5 Apr 1999Created 1 Dec 2017 using Reunion for Macintosh
New England genealogy files of Robert J. O’Hara, automatically output by Reunion for Macintosh. For additional genealogical data in other formats, including specialized lists of immigrant ancestors and notable kin, please visit my main genealogy page: http://rjohara.net/gen/ For information about many of the localities mentioned here please visit NewEnglandTowns.org: http://newenglandtowns.org