James Harris Fitts, 1830-1912



James Harris Fitts, 1830-1912


Fitts, James Harris, 1830-1912
Banks and banking


A photograph of J. H.(James Harris) Fitts from the book, Genealogy of the Fitts or Fitz Family in America by J. H. Fitts, 1897.

Fitts was born in 1830 in Jackson, Alabama.  He graduated from the University of Alabama in 1852 with a M.A. degree.  He was admitted to the Alabama bar the following year.

He served as Tuscaloosa city attorney and was hired by the state of Alabama to oversee the closing of the failled State Bank of Alabama then located in Tuscaloosa.  In 1863, he was hired by the Confedrate Congress to oversee the Confederate State Depository in Tuscaloosa.  In 1890, he was elected President of the Alabama Bankers Association.

Fitts established the Bank of J.H. Fitts in 1865.  He purchased the State Bank of Alabama building in the 1870's to house his bank.  He used the building not only to house the bank but also as a residency.  In 1887 the bank moved to a new location but the family continued to use the building as a private residency.

The second home of the Bank of J.H. Fitts was on the north side of University Blvd in a new structure which featured a cast-ion facade topped by an acroteria that featured a statue of Mercury.

On April 1, 1902, the bank was nationalized as the City National Bank and moved to a new building at 2303 University Blvd in 1922.  On December 31, 1973 City National joined First Alabama  Bankshares, and became known as First Alabama Bank of Tuscaloosa. In 1967 this bank moved to 2222 9th St.

His other commercial interests included the Warrior Insurance Company; Leach and Avery Foundry; Fitts, Maxwell and Jesper Shoe Manufacturing;  Tuscaloosa Cotton Mills, and Castle Hill Real Estate and Manufacturing Company.

James Harris Fitts was inducted in the Tuscaloosa County Civic Hall of Fame in 2003.


Elizabeth Bradt (Description)






Tuscaloosa (AL)

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