Early Settlers

James and Elizabeth Fitch

193 Bratenahl Road

James Gurdon Fitch was born on April 15, 1821 in Cherry Valley, New York, to Gurdon and Hannah (Peck) Fitch.  He was educated in the Cleveland schools and was graduated from Yale College in 1847.  He studied law in Philadelphia. James returned to Cleveland and became associated with the prominent firm of Hitchcock, Wilson & Wade for a short time and was admitted to the bar in 1849. In 1852, he became a school manager for the Cleveland Schools. Fitch together with figures such as J. D. Cleveland, W. D. Beattie, R. B. Dennis, Harvey Rice, Ansel Roberts, and Thomas Jones, Jr. was a crucial figure in the history of the Cleveland schools.

James married Elizabeth H. Sanburn on December 4, 1856.  Elizabeth was born in Painesville, Ohio on November 2, 1907 to John and Alethea (Owen) Sanburn.  They had six daughters and a son.

In 1852, James and Elizabeth Fitch developed a 54-lot allotment south of Brookwood Avenue (now the entrance to Lakehurst) and on both sides of Lakeshore Boulevard from Clark Avenue (now Bratenahl Road) east to Dugway Brook. They also owned 34 acres along Lake Erie west of Dugway Brook.  They lost the title to the property along Dugway Brook by failing to repay loans secured by a mortgage on the property.  The land was purchased by Warren and Mary Helen Corning in 1890 and became Corning Place.

James Fitch died on February 16, 1904 and Elizabeth Fitch died on November 2, 1907.  They are buried in Lakeview Cemetery.