Missionary; b. Boston. Mass., April 10, 1805; d. Malden, Mass., Sept. 15, 1881. He was the son of Abraham Fitton, an English wheelwright, and Sarah (Williams) Fitton of Wales. He attended public schools in Boston and Virgil Barber's Academy in Claremont, N.H. Bishop Benedict fenwick personally supervised his theological studies and ordained him on Dec. 23, 1827. Fitton's labors were divided between urban pastoral assignments and missionary posts in Connecticut, western and central Massachusetts, and Rhode Island. After ministering to the Passamaquoddy people in Maine (1828) and the scattered Catholics of Vermont (1829), he was assigned to Hartford, Conn., in July 1830. There and at Worcester, Mass. (1836–43), he organized the Catholics, opened new schools, promoted temperance societies, lectured, and compiled devotional books. A pioneer in Catholic education, he founded Mt. St. James' Seminary, Worcester, which became the College of the Holy Cross. He was editor of the Hartford Catholic Press and author of The Youth's Companion (1833), The Triumph of Religion (1833), Familiar Instructions (n.d.), and St. Joseph's Manual (1877). He wrote his best-known work, Sketches of the Establishment of the Church in New England (1872), while he was pastor (1855–81) of the Church of the Most Holy Redeemer in East Boston, where he had been transferred after having served (1844–55) at Newport, R.I.
Bibliography: r. h. lord et al., History of the Archdiocese of Boston in the Various Stages of Its Development, 1604–1943, 3 v. (New York 1944). l. p. mccarthy, Sketch of the Life and Missionary Labors of Rev. James Fitton (Boston 1908).
[w. l. lucey]