Author: John Fea

professor of American history at Messiah College in Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania
ENTRY

Fithian, Philip Vickers (1747–1776)

Philip Vickers Fithian tutored the children of Robert Carter III at his Westmoreland County mansion and is best known for the diary he kept detailing life in colonial Virginia. Born in New Jersey, he experienced a religious conversion in 1766, after which he attended a Presbyterian academy and college, preparing for the ministry. While tutoring the Carter children, he kept an account of plantation life in Virginia on the eve of the American Revolution (1775–1783), one that provided insights on slavery, religion, and society and has long been consulted and cited by historians. Fithian returned home to New Jersey after a year and for a year traveled the Pennsylvania and Virginia backcountry as a Presbyterian missionary, keeping a journal during this time as well. In June 1776 he was appointed chaplain of a battalion of New Jersey infantry died in camp later that year in New York.

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