Title: Writer, Dramatist, Newspaper Publisher
Birthdate: December 22, 1819
Death Date: June 26, 1891
Plot Location: Section 44, Lot 28

signed portrait of Colonel Thomas Fitzgerald

Thomas Fitzgerald was born in New York City. He first worked as a journalist for the New Brunswick Fredeonian. He moved to Philadelphia in 1844 and worked for the Bulletin and other journals. In 1847 he established the weekly The Item, which became a daily paper in 1852 due to its success.

Colonel Fitzgerald published his first drama, “Light at Last”, 1868 and it ran in New York, Boston, Chicago, and other major cities. His other pieces included “Wolves at Bay”, “Tangle Threads”, “Patrice”, and “Perils of the Night”.

Fitzgerald was controller of Philadelphia public schools and was the first to introduce music into the curriculum. His pamphlet, “Music in Our Public Schools” achieved wide popularity.

He retired from The Item in 1890, leaving the business to his three oledest sons. Fitzgerald’s death occurred while visiting London with his son, Riter, in 1891. After the three boys, he and wife Sarah had a daughter and three more boys. The youngest, Gerald,  lived only 10 days after his birth in 1867 and was the first to be buried here. All but two boys joined their brother and parents in the family plot, and all have modest stones like this one:

One final question is why was he called Colonel? He was not a “Southern gentleman,” never in the military, and no such title or honor was ever bestowed on him by a U.S. governor or anyone other than himself. No other answer has yet been discovered. Read the obituary below by clicking part 1 (left) and part 2 (right):

Japanese maple tree in front of a monument at Mount Moriah Cemetery

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