Fisher Family History Bulletins


by Rob Fisher


Bulletin No. 11 (25 February 2007)

Rumours of a mini-Fisher family reunion in Florida are shaping up to be true! My father and uncle, Fred and Neil Fisher, will be in the Sarasota area in the middle of March and are hoping to see many of their cousins who live in South Florida. Target date is March 18th. More details are available from Neil Fisher: andesign@ns.sympatico.ca. All are welcome!

Congratulations to Stephanie Brown, daughter of David and Ann (Fisher) Brown, and her team who won the girls provincial bantam curling championship of Ontario last month! See the story and team picture here. Follow the link to the Middleton Sports Wall of Fame on my web site if you wish to see other Fishers of "championship" calibre, including the 1923 provincial baseball champs.

In the category of other interesting discoveries, there is a "Fisher Road" in Mahwah, New Jersey, close to the site of the old Fisher homestead. A map from 1769 shows Michael Fisher's farm near the present-day Airmont Avenue and Williams Drive. Just to the east of this location is Fisher Road, off Apple Ridge Boulevard. Through the miracle of Yahoo maps you can view it here. If you download the free version of GoogleEarth, you can also see aerial photographs of the location of the homestead today (and just about anywhere else on the planet).

Going to the Maritimes this summer? Why not visit the John Fisher Memorial Museum in Kingston, New Brunswick. Depicting pioneer life in the St. John River valley, the museum is named in honour of John Fisher, the celebrated CBC broadcaster who was known as "Mr. Canada". The museum's web site is still a work in progress but it does include some images of the collection.

As ever, please keep me informed of changing e-mail addresses and pass on names and e-mail addresses for anyone else who would like to receive these bulletins. Scans of old photographs or family documents are also always welcome!

Cheers,
Rob



Bulletin No. 10 (12 April 2006)

Tomorrow is the 190th anniversary of the death of Lewis Fisher! Also known as Lodewick Fisher (from the German version of Lewis), he fought for the King with the New Jersey Volunteers against George Washington’s patriots in the American Revolution. Lewis and his family left with the other loyalists who wished to remain under British rule and settled in Fredericton, New Brunswick in October 1783. We are all descended from him and his wife Mary Barbara Till.

Check out the new look of our family history web site at www.familyheritage.ca ! New content includes a family bulletin board for sharing news and connecting with long lost cousins; recent obituaries of family members (please send me any that are not listed); family portraits in the virtual gallery; a roll of honour to remember those who served in the two world wars; a directory of Fisher businesses on the web; screensavers of historic art work depicting Saint John and Fredericton in the 1800s; and Peter Fisher’s book describing the province of New Brunswick, first published in 1838. I hope you enjoy your visit and I am always interested in suggestions, new ideas, and corrections. And of course, new photographs, memoirs, and other content for the web site is always welcome!

Happy Easter!

Cheers,
Rob



Bulletin No. 9 (31 December 2004)

Happy New Year!

I am making a New Year's resolution to keep you better informed about the progress of the Fisher family history! For the record, progress is slow but sure. The big news is that my article "The Grandmother's Story: Oral Tradition, Family Memory, and a Mysterious Manuscript" was published in the journal Archivaria last month to rave reviews. (Okay, so there haven't been any reviews). The article tells the story of the creation and survival of an old manuscript which preserved the recollections of Mary Barbara Fisher (1749-1841) of the coming of the loyalists to Fredericton in 1783, as told to her granddaughter. It also reveals the secret identity of the author and discusses the manuscript's importance for the history of New Brunswick. For those who do not subscribe to Archivaria (probably most of you!), an electronic copy is now available on my web site.

There is some other new content In honour of Remembrance Day, November 11th, I added a "Roll of Honour" which lists all of the Fishers who served in the two world wars of the past century. It includes links to the Books of Remembrance for the three Fishers who died in the two wars. (Please let me know if anyone who served is missing from the roll of honour). In addition, the web site boasts several additional watercolours of 19th century New Brunswick and new portraits of our Fisher ancestors – including a photograph of L. P. Fisher, the philanthropist of Woodstock.

Recent months also brought some sad news. Robert Thorburn of South Harpswell, Maine, husband of the late Patricia Fisher, died 3 September 2004, and Arthur Tingley of Sackville, New Brunswick, husband of Nora Margaret Tapley, died 4 November 2004. My sympathy goes out to both their families.

As ever, please keep me informed of changing e-mail addresses and pass on names and e-mail addresses for anyone else who would be interested in receiving these bulletins. Scans of old photographs or family documents are also always welcome. Drop by the web site and say hello!

Cheers,
Rob



Bulletin No. 8 (7 September 2004)

An update on the family history is long overdue. But first of all, I have some personal news to share. Sheila and I got married in May! Naturally, planning and preparing for the big day necessarily delayed researching and writing the family history. But I am getting back to work.

My chapter on the third generation, 1840-1870, is coming along well. With a little more work, it should be completed sometime this fall. It concentrates heavily on the political career of Hon. Charles Fisher and the prosperous years known as the "golden age of wood, wind, and water" in the Maritimes. Our family shared in the good times and in the political crusades for responsible government and Confederation. The chapter on the fourth generation, 1870-1900, will follow but is already in part written in my articles titled "The Exodus from New Brunswick: Tracing the Out-migration of a Family" and "Destination Unknown: Tracing Strays from Atlantic Canada", both available on the web site.

The web site of the CBC archives has just added an audio clip of John Fisher, known as "Mr. Canada", broadcasting from postwar Europe on the devastation of the war and the plight of children in the postwar chaos. Though there is some static, this is a rare opportunity to hear a legendary Canadian broadcaster. Just follow the featured link on my family web site. John Fisher was the grandson of William Shives Fisher of Sackville and a sixth generation descendant of the loyalist Lewis Fisher.

Please let me know if any of your e-mail addresses have changed, or if you know anyone else who would like to be added to my mailing list. Of course, I am always interested in receiving old family photographs, pictures of family heirlooms, family news, and genealogical information!

Cheers,
Rob



Bulletin No.7 (1 December 2003)

Hello everyone! My work on the Fisher family history continues in fits and starts. Currently, I am writing the introductory chapter for the third generation which flourished in New Brunswick between 1840 and 1870, years of economic prosperity, democratic reform and Canadian Confederation. My family history web-site has found a new home at www.familyheritage.ca where it continues to grow. The latest additions are 17 "new" photographs in the Old Family Portraits gallery, donated by Ray Stothers, Doug Dougherty, and George Fisher. In addition, a picture of the copper kettle which once belonged to the loyalists Lewis and Mary Barbara Fisher and is now at the New Brunswick Museum in Saint John is now available online in the family heirlooms gallery.

Our ancestor Peter Fisher (1782-1848) is well-known as the author of two books on the early history of New Brunswick, published in 1825 and 1838: Sketches of New Brunswick and Notitia of New Brunswick. Both of these classic works of Canadiana are now very rare in their original form although reprints published in 1921 and 1980 are more readily found at used booksellers. Now his works have been digitized and are available online at www.ourroots.ca, a web-site devoted to Canadian local histories now out of copyright. In reading his books, you will discover that Peter Fisher was in many respects ahead of his time. He was very concerned about the environmental damage caused by the timber trade, criticized the wastefulness of many lumbering operations, and promoted a form of sustainable development. He was also tolerant of other peoples and encouraged the cultural and educational development of his province. Click here to see or read his books online: Sketches of New Brunswick and Notitia of New Brunswick.

In other news, earlier this year Dr. George Fisher of Kemptville was awarded the Queen Elizabeth Jubilee medal, to celebrate her 50th year on the throne, for his many contributions on behalf of the Rotary Club of Canada. Congratulations George!

That's all to report for now! As always, any additional family history information and scans of old family photographs are always welcome. Keep them coming!

Cheers,
Rob



Bulletin No.6 (30 August 2003)

An update on the Fisher family history is long overdue; much like the family history itself! Do not despair, however, progress is being made. I have completed the first draft of the introduction to the second generation, entitled "Timber Traders and Homesteaders" which gives an overview of their life experiences. In the finished book each generation will begin with an introductory chapter like this which will set the scene for the following biographical and family sketches.

The introductory chapters for the first generation, "New Jersey Loyalist" and "New Brunswick Pioneer" are, of course, still available on my web-site. Speaking of my web-site, there is some new content. You may wish to visit the Old Family Portraits Gallery which now has a picture of the famous "Connell stamp". Now a rare collectors' item, Charles Connell (husband of Anne Fisher) caused an uproar when he replaced the likeness of Queen Victoria with his own on a new issue of New Brunswick stamps in 1860. Outraged voters forced him to resign from the office of Postmaster General. See what all the fuss was about here.

Long-lost Fisher cousins continue to contact me by e-mail. Most recently, the Stothers family of Alberta and British Columbia have corresponded with me. They are descendants of Dr. Bayard Fisher (1867-1939) who moved from Fredericton to Medicine Hat in 1918 with his wife and daughters. I am hoping to get more information and possibly photographs from them! Shari Goodwin has shared with me some fascinating stories about Barney Fisher, one of the most shadowy figures in Fisher family lore. Barney made his living by hunting and trapping. After moving from New Brunswick to Moose River, Maine in the 1890s, he left his wife and children there in 1908 never to return. He went to Alaska and later settled in the Yukon or Northwest Territories where he married an Indian woman. We know very little about his life up north but he died in 1964, over age 90, and his cabin is now mentioned as a landmark in the treaty with Sahtu Dene and Metis people, the cabin is situated at 66-57-50 degrees North and 130-09-41 degrees West.

Remember that I am always looking for old family photographs, ca. 1850-1950, and pictures of family heirlooms! If you are scanning them for me, please make high-resolution scans so they will reproduce well in the final publication. I am also closing in on a cutoff date for inclusion in the book. If you haven't sent me information about your own family, please do so soon! I want to include everyone but at some point I will have to draw the line and get ready for publication. 2004 is shaping up to be a big year!

Thanks again for all of your support in the past!

Cheers,
Rob



Bulletin No. 5 (15 December 2002)

Merry Christmas!

With the holidays upon us, it seemed like a good time to update everyone on the Fisher family history. No, the family history is not done yet! But the good news is that I have finished drafts of the first two chapters about Lewis Fisher. The first is called "New Jersey Loyalist" and the second is "New Brunswick Pioneer", and they are packed with new discoveries about his experiences as a loyalist in the War of Independence and as a pioneer in the New Brunswick wilderness. The first chapter tells the story of his capture by the patriots in 1776, imprisonment, return to service with the New Jersey Volunteers, and skirmishes and battles with Washington's army. The second chapter tells the story of his settlement in Fredericton, hunger and hardship in the wilderness, and efforts to tame the land and raise a family. It owes much to research by Elizabeth Morrison this past summer and fall into the murky world of New Brunswick land records and the mystery surrounding when and where Lewis Fisher first settled near Fredericton. You can read these chapters on the genealogy page of my web-site: familyheritage.ca. There are also family portraits, pictures of heirlooms and homes, and images of historic documents. Let me know what you think!

Many of you will be visiting with family over Christmas so it is a good time to think about our family history and share memories with loved ones. Get out the old photographs and dig those family treasures out of Grandma and Grandpa's closets for all to see and touch. Write down stories or anecdotes about your parents or grandparents. As always, I would love to have copies (real or electronic) of photos of any of our Fisher ancestors, especially those not already represented on my web site. Images of heirlooms or old family homes are also very welcome. Take some time over the holidays to scan some photos and send them to me! New or additional information about our family is also welcome. I want the family history to be as accurate and complete as possible!

Speaking of which, there are still some lines of the family for which I have very little information. Some of these are the children of Peter and Naomi Fisher of Florida, John and Nora Mabel Tapley of Sackville, and Gilbert and Doris Fisher of Lanark, Ontario, among others. Perhaps some of you will see them over the holidays and remind them of my interest? Addresses, telephone numbers, or e-mail addresses for them would also be appreciated.

Please accept my best wishes for the holiday season and a happy and healthy New Year! Feel free to share this bulletin with anyone else.

Cheers,
Rob



Bulletin No. 4 (23 July 2002)

So little time and so much to tell! I have just returned from a week-long vacation/ research trip in New Brunswick with much news to report. I drove out with my parents who were travelling in convoy with my brother Fred and his family. We parted ways in Fredericton as they headed on to Nova Scotia to visit my Uncle Neil & Aunt Jean and cousin Bruce & Alena, before going on to PEI. I did research in New Brunswick and met some long-lost cousins: Elizabeth Morrison, Joan Davis, and Virginia Fisher. Time was too short unfortunately to meet everyone that I wanted!

Bob Guthrie of the Department of Heritage responded to a letter to the editor that I had placed in the Fredericton Daily Gleaner asking for information about the location of Lewis Fisher's original home on Forest Hill, or the home where his granddaughter Georgianna Fisher was living in the 1880s or 1890s, which I had surmised were probably one and the same. Bob had grown up on Forest Hill and is interested in local history. He showed me a paper from 1934 by Captain H.F.G. Woodbridge telling about the old Fisher home on the Woodbridge property on Forest Hill. Woodbridge said they had torn down the old home sometime before 1934 but had taken photographs of it while taking it down–one showing shingled walls and another showing the squared timber construction underneath. These photos are now available from the Provincial Archives of New Brunswick as part of the Woodbridge Collection. Bob pointed out that they are not identified as the old Fisher home in the archival collection but he clearly matched them up with the description provided by Woodbridge in his 1934 paper.

Bob kindly walked over the site with myself and Eliz Morrison pointing out where the Fisher home would have stood. Two other old homes are still standing near where the Woodbrige place once stood and provide a point of reference for it when comparing old photographs with the location today. The site of the Fisher home is now a parking lot for a low-rise apartment building on Forest Hill Road opposite its intersection with Woodbridge Street. In his paper, Woodbridge stated that his brother excavated on the site of the old Fisher house and found some pot chains, pots and other implements. It is not known what happened to these items but Peter Dickinson of Kings Landing confirmed that they have a Woodbridge collection of artifacts in their holdings. I will find out more about the contents and provenance of this collection!

There were many other family artifacts to be seen! Eliz Morrison showed me Lewis Fisher's powder horn from the New Jersey Volunteers in the American Revolution and a pewter plate with German stamps which may have come with the Fisher family from Germany to New Jersey. She also showed me a number of old family photographs and heirlooms from the Lewis Fisher (grandson of the loyalist) home in New Maryland and allowed me to photograph them. Her guided tour of New Maryland helped to put a lot of local family history in perspective for this farming community where Fishers and their descendants have lived since about 1801, and which is rapidly transforming into a "bedroom" suburb of Fredericton. Eliz also introduced me to Bob Hetherington who now has the Lewis Fisher musket from the American Revolution. You can imagine the thrill of holding it in my hands! Joan Davis and Virginia Fisher also graciously shared photographs and other heirlooms with me, including Virginia's 1900 watercolour of Walter James Fisher, his wife Jessie McKnight, and son Ross McKnight Fisher.

I resolved one question in the negative. I wanted to know if "Fisher's Building", built about 1877 by Charles H.B. Fisher and his brother G. Fred Fisher on the southeast corner of Queen and York Streets in Fredericton, was still standing. During the 1880s and 1890s this large brick building had been home to their law firm "Fisher & Fisher", Moses S. Hall's book store, the Davis & Staples Drug Store, the offices of the New Brunswick Reporter, and other businesses. Alas, "Fisher's Building" had burned during 1942. It was replaced by the Victory Building. There are pictures of the fire on the wall in Ross's Drug Store which has been in business there since 1914 and still occupies the corner location where Davis & Staples Drug Store had been before 1914. They have an old-fashioned soda fountain which I highly recommend! I did find some photographs of "Fisher's Building" in the Provincial Archives and also a photograph of G. Fred Fisher's home–now McAdam's Funeral Home on the corner of York and Brunswick Streets. Other side trips took me to the York-Sunbury Museum in Fredericton, the New Brunswick Museum in Saint John, and Kings Landing in Prince William–the latter has the Peter Fisher House which unfortunately is not yet open to the public though you can still walk around it.

In short, it was a very successful trip and has opened up many new avenues for research. You can view photographic highlights of the trip on my web-site: family heritage.ca. Just go to the Genealogy page. I have also added a lot of old family photographs (and better organized them by branch of the family tree) and documents to the genealogy page. In addition, I have made a "Virtual Gallery of Historic Fredericton" which paints a visual portrait of life in early Fredericton.

Do you have any old photographs of Fishers from 1860 to 1930? If so, please send me scans of them for our "virtual" family album! If you do not have a scanner, you can send me the originals by post and I will make prints and return the originals to you. I am looking to fill in the gaps and share photos now while we can still identify our ancestors from the past century. Please share this Fisher family bulletin with anyone who would be interested in reading it!

Cheers,
Rob



Bulletin No. 3 (1 May 2002)

The family history progresses slowly but surely. Who would have thought there were so many Fishers to track down? First there are two quick news flashes. A photo of the Peter Fisher House (built ca. 1800) may be seen on-line at the web-site of King's Landing Historical Settlement in New Brunswick. You will find it in the photo gallery at Kings Landing where it is the ninth or tenth image. Better yet visit it in person! My second news flash is that I have created my own web-page with information on our family history. It includes the opening chapter about Lewis Fisher and Mary Barbara Till and genealogical photographs and images. If you have old family photographs in digital form, send them along to me and I will put them in our virtual family album!

I want to tell you about one of the most remarkable family connections that I have made during this project. My great-great-grandfather George Frederick Fisher died in 1894 and his family dispersed. My great-grandfather went to Middleton, Nova Scotia to live with some elderly aunts; his sister Minna married Ernest Brydone-Jack and they moved to Winnipeg and later California; his other sister Madeleine became a nurse and ultimately also went to California. G. Fred Fisher's second wife Bessie Eloise Addison returned to South Carolina or Georgia where she was originally from with her baby daughter Frederica who had been born four days after her father had died. Frederica returned to the Maritimes as an adult to visit her half-brother Charles and his family in the 1940s or so but little connection was maintained after that.

With only a name and birth date in the family bible, I set out to find Frederica and discover if she had married and had a family. Without knowing her married surname, it would be tricky. An on-line search in the Social Security Database of the United States, however, produced one match for a woman born "30 January 1894" named "Frederica" in the state of Georgia. She was Frederica McComb who died in May 1986. I ordered in the newspaper the Atlanta Journal-Constitution for that month on Inter-Library Loan. Alas, her obituary said that she was the former Frederica Ellison, no mention of being a Fisher. What next caught my eye though, was that her sons were named Robert G. Ellison and Frederick F. Ellison which suggested that "Ellison" was also a married name. The "Frederick F." was also intriguing, could it be "Frederick Fisher Ellison"?

In an on-line telephone directory, I found the phone number for a Dr. Robert Ellison of Augusta, Georgia. A gentleman with a distinguished southern accent answered the phone and quickly confirmed that his mother was the late Frederica Fisher, formerly of Fredericton! Robert Ellison and his wife Lois, also a doctor, were excited to hear from a long-lost cousin and delighted to provide information about their five sons (three of them also doctors) and nine grandchildren. Robert and Lois also gave me a copy of a precious photograph of the family of G. Fred Fisher, ca. 1890, in Fredericton. No one in our family had ever seen this photo which must have returned to Georgia with Bessie Addison in the 1890s. This story shows what can be accomplished with a little research and luck!

That's all for now. Please feel free to share this e-mail with others who are not on my mailing list.



Bulletin No. 2 (3 March 2002)

It is hard to believe that it is March already and that the worst of the Canadian winter is over! The family history is progressing well but I still have a lot of work to do if I hope to hit my target publication date of this spring or summer.

The good news is that the Sackville branch of the family (the descendants of William Shives Fisher and Mabel Shaw) is almost complete. Since they form a substantial part of the family, about 30% of the Fisher descendants, it will be nice to have that large block of the family done. My father and I visited George and Norma Fisher of Kemptville, Ontario earlier this January and had a wonderful time hearing about his Sackville roots and sharing family stories. We established that George and Dad were third cousins once-removed!

Recently, I had the good fortune to discover Doug Dougherty of St. Stephen, New Brunswick. Doug is the son of Jessie Kathryn Fisher and Hazen Dougherty and is a local historian of note who has written several books on the history of St. Stephen. Though very interested in family history, he did not know the connection between his great-grandfather David Michael Fisher (1828-1906) and our loyalist forebear. He was excited to learn that David Michael was a grandson of the well-known loyalist Lewis Fisher of Fredericton. Fortunately for me, Doug kept detailed notes on the family of his grandfather Charles Frederick Fisher (1859-1933) and has generously shared them with me. As a result, we have fairly complete information on the descendants of his six sons and four daughters!

That's all for now. Please feel free to share this family history "bulletin" with other members of our family who are not on my e-mail list.



Bulletin No. 1 (6 January 2002)


Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

My history of the Fisher family is coming along very well thanks in large part to the help which so many of you have given me. The support and interest shown by you and other descendants of Lewis and Mary Fisher across Canada and the United States has been tremendous and I wish to express my appreciation at this time of year! I hope to publish it in the spring or summer of 2002 and will be making a big effort this winter to pull it all together in presentable form.

The past few months have seen many breakthroughs and contacts made with "new" cousins. Members of the Sackville branch of the family, the descendants of William Shives Fisher (William3, Peter2, Lewis1), 1854-1931, have been very cooperative in updating the information on their families originally collected for the large family tree chart prepared in the 1960s by a draughtsman at the Enterprise Foundry. Carol Gay and Bill Fisher, descendants of William Hamilton Fisher (David3, Michael2, Lewis1), 1866-1943, of Fredericton have brought his line up-to-date and sent me many scanned photographs. Closer to my own line, Wayne Fisher of Bergen County, New Jersey has visited and photographed many of the historical sites in the county where Lewis and Mary Fisher lived before they went to New Brunswick as loyalists, including the church and cemetery where his parents were buried. It has been a very exciting year!

Many of you will have received notice of my change of e-mail address from robandsheila @home.com to robandsheila @rogers.com; last month. The changeover did not go smoothly and some of my e-mail may not have come through cleanly, particularly those with attachments. If you sent me anything recently to which I have not replied, please send it again!

Over the next few months, I plan to send out periodic notices like this about the progress of the family history. Please feel free to share them with other members of the family who are not on my e-mail list. New e-mail addresses would, of course, be welcome! Thanks again for all of your support and my best wishes for a holiday season filled with comfort and warmth and a happy, healthy New Year!



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