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Saturday, March 6, 2010

Fitch, Ebenezer 1756-1833

Ebenezer Fitch (September 26, 1756 – March 21, 1833) was an American Calvinist clergyman and educator. He was the first president of Williams College.

Born in Norwich, Connecticut, Fitch graduated as valedictorian from Yale College in 1777. The American Revolutionary War was ongoing at the time, but because Fitch was a student and then resident tutor (1780–1783) at Yale, he was exempted from the military draft then in effect. He later tried his hand at business, but was largely unsuccessful, and was invited in 1790 to move to Williamstown, Massachusetts and serve as preceptor of a new free academy for boys. Fitch took the position and made many changes to the institution, converting it into a college in 1793. As one of only two faculty members at the beginning, Fitch taught many classes himself. Highly religious, he gave the sermons on Sundays at the college and introduced the Westminster Catechism to Williams. But the college foundered, and Fitch resigned in 1815. He then served as a pastor at a Presbyterian church, and continued to preach until his death in West Bloomfield, New York.

Annals of the American Pulpit, Volume 3 - 1860 (page 511)

Biographical Sketch of Ebenezer Fitch, Williams College President 1793-1815

This section is from "The American Cyclopaedia", by George Ripley And Charles A. Dana. Also available from Amazon: The New American Cyclopædia. 16 volumes complete..
Ebenezer Fitch
Ebenezer Fitch, an American clergyman, the first president of Williams college, born in Norwich, Conn., Sept. 26, 1756, died in West Bloomfield, N. Y., March 21, 1833. He graduated at Yale college in 1777, where in 1780 he was appointed tutor, and continued to act as such for several years. In 1790 he was chosen preceptor of the academy in Williamstown, Mass., and when in 1793 it grew into and was incorporated as Williams college, he was elected its first president, which office he filled till 1815, when, resigning, he was chosen pastor of the Presbyterian church in West Bloomfield, N. Y. This'charge he held till 1827, and after his resignation continued to preach occasionally almost till his death.

Memoir of Rev. Ebenezer Fitch, D.D.: First President of Williams College Calvin Durfee - 1843 - 28 pages

Sketch of the late Rev. Ebenezer Fitch, D.D. : First President of Williams College 1865 - Durfee, Calvin, 1797-1879
Biographical Sketch (page 9)
A Discourse Addressed to the Candidates for the Baccalaureate in Williams College, September 1, 1799 (page 122)
A Sermon Delivered Before the Missionary Society of Berkshire and Columbia, at Their Annual Meeting, in Husdon, N.Y., September 20, 1814 (page 143)

The Rudiments of Latin Grammar by Alexander Adam, revised and abridged by Ebenezer Fitch - 1814 - Foreign Language Study - 252 pages

A History of Williams College Leverett Wilson Spring - 1917 - Education - 341 pages

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