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Charles V. Fitch. Valeda is one of the flourishing small villages in Labette County and to a large degree the business activities of the place are concentrated in the enterprise of one citizen, Charles V. Fitch, who owns and manages the leading store of that community and is also the present postmaster.
Mr. Fitch was born in Fleming County, Kentucky, May 2, 1875. His Fitch ancestors came from England to Virginia in colonial days. His grandfather, Nathan Fitch, was born in Kentucky, spent his life there as a farmer, and died in Fleming County.
S. E. Fitch, father of the Valeda merchant, was also prominently known in that part of Kansas. He was born in Fleming County, Kentucky, in 1848, was reared and married there, and his early years were spent as a farmer. In 1886 he moved to Valeda, where he continued farming, but for the last twelve years of his life was engaged in general merchandising at Valeda. He died there in 1913. When he first began to cast his vote it was as a republican, but later he identified himself with the populist movement and still later became a democrat. For two terms he served as township trustee of Howard township. He was an active member of the United Brethren Church. S. E. Fitch married Fannie Wallingford, who was born in Fleming County, Kentucky, in 1850, and is still living at Valeda. Her children were: Charles V.; Walter, who died at the age of twenty years, having been drowned near Lenapah, Oklahoma, while engaged in a cattle drive through that territory; Lula, wife of F. P. McCarty, who is a farmer at Blue Mountain, Arkansas; Mary, wife of F. G. Mulenix, a steam shovel operator living at Denver, Colorado.
Charles V. Fitch received his early education in Fleming County, Kentucky. He was about eleven years of age when brought to Kansas, and he attended the public schools of Valeda. The first twenty-one years of his life he spent on his father’s farm. Then for five years he was an independent farmer at Valeda, and after that became associated with his father in the general merchandise business. After the death of his father the store was turned over to him and he has since managed it and his genial popularity and his ability as a merchant have caused a large volume of trade to center at Valeda in recent years. His store is well situated on Main Street.
In October, 1914, Mr. Fitch was appointed postmaster of Valeda by President Wilson, and is now giving a capable administration of the affairs of that office. He is a democrat, is affiliated with the Independent Order of Odd Fellows at Coffeyville, with Camp No. 7511, Modern Woodmen of America, at Valeda and is also a member of the Homesteaders’ Order.
In July, 1896, at Valeda, Mr. Fitch married Anna McCarty, daughter of Isaac and Margaret (Sharp) McCarty, both of whom are now deceased. Her father was a farmer and also a preacher, representing what is known as the Hardshell Baptist denomination. Mr. and Mrs. Fitch are the parents of a fine family of seven children: Claude, born January 26, 1897; Albert, born February 16, 1899; Esther, born June 24, 1902; John, born July 31, 1904; Clifford, born August 28, 1906; Wayne, born June 29, 1908; and Hazel, born May 22, 1910.