William M. Fitch was born in the year 1870, near Plattsburg, Clinton county, Missouri. His father, John G. Fitch, was born near Dayton, Ohio, and his grandfather, Humphrey F. Fitch, was born in New York. His mother, Elizabeth M. Johnson. was born near Maysville, Kentucky, near the place where her father, Milton Johnson. was born. John G. Fitch and Elizabeth M. Johnson were married in Clinton county, Missouri, during the year 1869.
William M. Fitch was the only child. He obtained his education in the country schools; in the high school of Stewartsville, and in Stewartsviile Academy. In 1889 he entered William Jewell College, where after four years he graduated with the degree of Bachelor of Arts. In 1894 he began his law studies in the office of Simrall & Trimble, Liberty, Missouri. Mr. Trimble is now presiding judge of the Kansas City court of appeals. During the greater portion of this time Mr. Fitch acted as clerk of the probate court of Liberty, Missouri, while William E. Fowler was judge, and in such capacity wrote the court records for about three or four years. He was admitted to practice law at Liberty, Missouri, in February, 1896. After a few months’ association with the flrm of Simrall & Trimble, he entered the firm of Ellis, Reed, Cook & Ellis of Kansas City, Missouri, which firm was composed of Congressman Ellis and Senator James A. Reed. He continued with this firm until March 1, 1898, when he moved to Maysville, DeKalb county, Missouri, and entered into partnership, in the general practice of law, with Judge Thomas D. Williams.
Three years later Mr. Fitch was elected prosecuting attorney of DeKalb county and served two terms. After completing his work as prosecuting attorney he entered into partnership with James T. Blair, under the name of Fitch & Blair, which connection continued until Mr. Blair accepted the position of assistant. attorney general under Attorney General Major, in January, 1909. Mr. Blair is now judge of the supreme court of the state.
After the dissolution of the firm, caused by Mr. Blair leaving for Jefferson City as assistant attorney general of the state, Mr. Fitch again entered into partnership with Judge Thomas D. Williams, which connection continued until Mr. Fitch accepted the position of assistant attorney general of Missouri, under Attorney General John T. Barker, in January, 1913. Mr. Fitch remained in this position until April 1, 1915, when he resigned to accept the position as manager of the farm loan department of the Mississippi Valley Trust Company. At the following annual election of officers of the trust company in February, 1916, Mr. Fitch was elected vice president and remained in the service of the trust company in its farm loan mortgage department and in the trust and legal departments until March 15, 1921, when he resigned to accept the position of president and counsel of The Indemnity Company of America, an insurance company carrying all lines of automobile insurance, doing business in eleven states.
On June 22, 1904, Mr. Fitch was married to Miss Ruth Hart, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Nathan S. Hart of DeKalb county, Missouri, Mr. Hart was one of the early settlers of that county.
Politically, Mr. Fitch has always been a democrat and has been very active in state as well as national politics. He is a member of a number of fraternal orders, which include the Knights of Pythias and the Grand Lodge of Missouri. He is also an Odd Fellow and a member of Masonic bodies of the Blue lodge, the Royal Arch Chapter, the Knights Templars Commandery, the Council and the Shrine. He Is a member of several of the Scottish Rite bodies.
Mr. Fitch has taken an active interest in church and educational matters. He is a member of the Third Baptist church of St. Louis. For a number of years he has been a member of the board of trustees of William Jewell College of Liberty, Missouri, and is also a member of the board of curators of Stephens College of Columbia, Missouri. He Is a member of a number of business organizations in St. Louis, where he has actively supported all matters of a civic nature in behalf of his city.