Col. Fite is featured in a display at the Smith County Heritage Museum in Carthage, Tennessee. The museum is a real jewel, situated in the old W.E. Stephens apparel factory which at one time was one of the major employers in Smith County.

jaf-judge-headshotThis portrait of Col. Fite is in the Heritage Museum. The following details of his legal career are from the Fite family genealogy: “After the war he returned home and began anew the practice of law, in which he was actively engaged until 1880, when he was elected to the Legislature; being out of the county at the time of his nomination, which was by acclamation. He was elected judge of the Fifth Judicial Circuit of Tennessee in September, 1886. His circuit was composed of nine Counties, two of which were on the Cumberland Mountains. He held the court for nearly seven years, when he resigned, after the death of his wife. In three Counties of his Circuit, a jury was never demanded in a civil suit; this he regarded as the highest honor that could be paid a Judge. During his term of office he had twenty-eight appeals to the Supreme Court of the State; was sustained in twenty-four of the cases, and was reversed in only four.”


mmf-headshotThis portrait of Col. Fite’s wife Mary Micheaux Mitchell is also featured at the Heritage Museum. He said about her in his memoir: “I think it must have been 1857, was the first time I ever saw her. I fell in love with her the first time I put eyes on her, and it wasn’t long before I told her so.” Again from the genealogy: “Judge John Amenas Fite was married December 27, 1866, to Mary Micheaux Mitchell; born August 21, 1840; died August 2, 1890. She was of French extraction and a descendant of a Captain of the Revolution. She was a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church South.” They had two children, Elizabeth Mitchell Fite born in 1867, who died at 13, and Matilda McClary Fite, born 1869, who married Nathan Glenn Robertson, who like her father was a prominent lawyer and politician in the late nineteenth century.


Mrs. Fite is buried next to Col. Fite behind the church which sits next to the courthouse in Carthage. They lived in a house just down the street. The Heritage Museum is just a couple of blocks over at 3rd Avenue and Main Street. It is open Thursdays noon-4pm and Fridays and Saturdays from 10am to 2pm. For further information call 615-735-1104.

Col. Fite’s Memoir is available at Just click the book image to see the listing.