BURT FITCH

History of Idaho, Volume 3, by Hiram T. French, M.S.
The Lewis Publishing Co., Chicago and New York 1914, Page 912-913



Burt R. Fitch. In estimating the relative success of men more consideration should be given to the difficulties they have overcome than to the position they have attained. Always more interesting is the career of one who, unaided by the advantages of birth, of education or capital, and with only those resources within himself upon which to rely, builds up a definite success. Burt R. Fitch, one of the alert and enterprising business men of Fruitland, Idaho, started out independently at the age of sixteen and in the twenty years that have passed since then has experienced many ups and downs but has never swerved in his determination to finally succeed. Such pluck and resolution seldom fails of its merited reward.

Mr. Fitch was born March 23, 1876, in Burt county, Nebraska, and received his Christian name for the county of his nativity. His father, a native of Indiana, removed to Nebraska in 1873 and was one of the earliest settlers in Burt county. He established friendly relations with the Indians, numerous there then and for some years afterward, and frequently loaned them his shot gun, in return for which favor they kept his family well supplied with deer meat and other game. As a blacksmith he followed his trade forty-two years quite successfully, but he had many misfortunes and had the care of an invalid wife for twenty-two years. He is now a retired resident of Omaha, Nebraska. The mother was Josephine West as a maiden, a native of Indiana who came to Nebraska with her parents when she was a young girl and was married in that state. Her father was a veteran of the Civil war and lived to the age of seventy-six; her mother lived to be ninety-nine years old. Josephine (West) Fitch passed away at Omaha, Nebraska, February 27, 1904, when fifty-two years of age. Of the twelve children that came to these parents all are living except two that died in infancy.

Burt R. Fitch, the second in this family in order of birth, was educated in Herman, Nebraska, to the age of sixteen, and after leaving school was apprenticed to learn the printer's trade. He served but a few months, however, and then became owner and editor of the Herman News. After continuing this publication eighteen months he sold the plant and joined a surveying outfit in Nebraska, with which he remained two years; then once more he entered newspaper work, this time as a half-owner of the North Bend Eagle published at North Bend, Nebraska, but shortly afterward he married, sold his newspaper interest and rented a farm. Two years later he removed to Kearney, Nebraska, and during the hard times period of 1897 he worked on a celery farm for $1 per day, walking five miles to and from his work and boarding himself. That fall he took employment as deliveryman for a furniture store at Kearney, improved his opportunity for business training and ended his five years' service for this firm as their head buyer. The next two years he farmed. In 1904, on account of his wife's ill health and by the advice of her physician, he came to Idaho, locating at Payette; he first engaged in farming and fruit raising, but subsequently entered the real estate business. In February, 1912, he established his present business, that of B. R. Fitch Mercantile Company, and conducts one of the largest stores in Fruitland. The business was a success from the start and from sales that averaged $10 per day the business has now increased to average $100 per day. Mr. Fitch has had a long, hard struggle but Idaho has given him opportunity and he is improving it. He is not definitely aligned with any party in politics, but has always taken an active part in furthering prohibition, and while a resident of Payette he served as a director in the Young Men's Christian Association there two terms. Fraternally he is a member of the Royal Highlanders and served as state deputy of that order in 1908. In church connections he is identified with the Baptist denomination, and he is a member of the Fruit land Commercial Club.

He was married at Fremont, Nebraska, October 2. 1895 to Miss Emma Lucas Howard, a daughter of Fayette Calvin and Ella A. Howard and a native of Nebraska. To this union have been born four children, two of whom surviveóNeal Rutherford and Charlotte Kathaleen.



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