Thomas B. Fitzgerald
THOMAS B. FITZGERALD is a native Virginian who has honored his native state by his character and his achievement, and, now venerable in years, he is living virtually retired from active business, his attractive home in the City of Danville being at 134 Virginia Avenue.
Mr. Fitzgerald was born in Halifax County, Virginia, near the place now known as Cluster Springs, and the date of his birth was August 23, 1840. His father, Alfred B. Fitzgerald, was born and reared in Pittsylvania County, this state, was long and successfully engaged in business as a contractor and builder and was seventy-four years of age at the time of his death. He was a son of Thomas Fitzgerald, who passed his entire life in Pittsylvania County, and who was a farmer by vocation. The original American representatives of the Fitzgerald family came to this country from Ireland in the early Colonial days ,ind made settlement in Nottoway County, Virginia. The maiden name of the mother of the subject of this review was Theodosia Lipscomb, and she was born in Halifax County, as was also her father, Clement Lipscomb, who served as a soldier in the War of 1812.
Thomas B. Fitzgerald, eldest of the three surviving members of a family of six children, was not yet six years of age when his mother died, and he thereafter lived in the home of his maternal grandfather until he was nine years old. He then moved from Halifax County to Pittsylvania County and rejoined his father, who had in the meanwhile contracted a second marriage. He received the advantages of the schools of the locality and period, and by his father received thorough training and experience in the building business. It has been a matter of enduring satisfaction to Mr. Fitzgerald that he remained with his father and stepmother and repaid their love and devotion by caring for them in their old age. He was nearing his twenty-first birthday when the Civil war was precipitated on the nation, and he forthwith tendered his services in defense of the Confederate cause. He enlisted in the Thirty-eighth Virginia Infantry, and his mechanical ability led to his being assigned to duty in the arsenal department, but he took part in several raids in and around Richmond and continued in service during virtually the entire period of the war. After his return home he resumed building operations in association with his father, and in this line of enterprise he continued in an independent way from 1867 until 1.882, with residence and headquarters in the City of Danville. And in 1882 he identified himself with the manufacturing of cotton cloth, and for twenty years he was president of the Riverside Cotton Mills, in which corporation he is still a director, besides retaining other financial interests of a business order. After retiring from the presidency of this concern lie lived retired in a beautiful rural home during the ensuing seventeen years, and as his wife was then in impaired health they returned to Danville, so that she might be with her children. In this city he has since lived retired, and in addition to his interests in the Riverside Cotton Mills lie is financially interested both in a local hardware business and in a brick manufacturing enterprise. Though he was in the country seventeen years, is noted above, Mr. Fitzgerald has considered Danville his home since the year 1862, and he is now one of the venerable and honored citizens of this fair Virginia city. He has contributed much to the civic and material development and progress of Danville, has served as a member of the City Council, and has exemplified the most loyal and liberal citizenship during the course of a long and worthy career.
Mr. Fitzgerald has been affiliated with the Independent Order of Odd Fellows for approximately thirty years, and be has held membership in the Methodist Church since he was a youth of fourteen years.
In the year 1868 was solemnized the marriage of Mr. Fitzgerald and Miss Martha J. Hall, who was born in Rockingham County, North Carolina, but who was reared principally in Pittsylvania County, Virginia. Mr. and Mrs. Fitzgerald reared to maturity seven of their children, and five of the number are living at the time of this writing, in 1923; Harrison R. is individually mentioned on other pages of this publication; Alfred Benton is a resident of Blackstone, Nottoway County; Elizabeth is the wife of J. A. Parkinson; Fannie is the wife of Herbert Martin; an Katie remains at the paternal home, in extending the gracious hospitality of which she shares with her loved father.
Source: Virginia and Virginians, Vol. VI, pp. 281-282.