Congregational minister, later Presbyterian minister, Millerite leader, the designer of the “1843 chart.” Early in 1838 Fitch accepted Miller’s views, producing a sensation with his sermons. But his ministerial associates treated the new doctrine with such searing ridicule and contempt that for a time he lost confidence in it, and lapsed into his former views of the world’s conversion.
It was Josiah Litch, who had known of Fitch’s experience, who brought him again to the definite acceptance of the Adventist faith. From then on he was one of the most fearless, aggressive, and successful Millerite leaders. Fitch, assisted by Apollos Hale, designed the widely used “1843” prophetic chart, painted on cloth, which he presented to the Boston General Conference of May 1842.
In the latter part of 1842 Fitch was asked to go to Cleveland, Ohio, and vicinity. Despite opposition, a definite interest in the Advent message developed at Oberlin College, where Fitch was given opportunity to deliver a series of lectures on the Second Advent in September 1843.
By 1843 Fitch was one of the most prominent of the Millerite leaders. In January of that year he began to edit a weekly journal called the Second Advent of Christ. In this he printed (July 26, 1843) his sermon (from Rev. 14 and 18) on the mighty angel who cried, “Babylon the great is fallen,” and who was followed by the warning voice, “Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues.” In this Fitch contended that the term Babylon was no longer limited to the Roman Catholic Church, but now included also the great body of Protestant Christendom. He maintained that both branches of Christendom had, by their rejection of the light on the Advent, fallen from the high estate of pure Christianity. He contended that Protestantism was either cold to the doctrine of the Second Advent or had spiritualized it away. This address was put into pamphlet form and later reprinted in various Millerite papers.
Early in October 1844 Fitch accepted the “seventh month” concept, and looked to Oct. 22 as the time for the coming of Christ. He was ill in Buffalo at the time, and died on Oct. 14, shortly before the day of expectation, from pneumonia contracted after prolonged exposure while baptizing outdoors in cold weather.