Friday, April 22, 2011

Line 3.4 Mary Fisher Clapp; Living the Dream

Mary Fisher was born in America, grew up in America and although we don’t know when or where (but probably Dedham, Massachusetts), she died in America. Her heritage may have been English but her life was American. Living on a firm Christian foundation, Mary’s faith may have been as strong as her parents or it may have weakened or strengthened in a different direction. The generations following the first was less strict in their faith but they were still believers; living their lives in the shadow of the church and giving what would become the United States of America, it’s Christian favor for generations to come.

Mary Fisher was born 02 April 1621 in Dedham, Norfolk, Massachusetts
Married 10 November 1662 in Dedham, MA to Thomas Clapp who was born 15 March 1638/39 in Weymouth, MA and died 07 August 1689 in Dedham, MA
Mary’s death date is unknown
The children of Thomas Clap and Mary Fisher were:
1.      Thomas Clapp born 26 September 1663 married Mary ?
2.      John Clapp born 28 February 1664/65
3.      Joshua Clapp born 1667 married Silence  Bird
4.      Mary Clapp born 13 December 1669
5.      Eliezer  Clapp born 04 November 1671
6.      Abigail Clapp born 12 December 1674
7.      Hannah Clapp born 28 March 1679 married William  Robbins
8.      Samuel Clapp born 21 August 1682; married Elizabeth Fisher

I only know a few details of Mary fisher’s life. She was born 23 March 1643/4 in Dedham, Massachusetts where her parents, Joshua and Mary (Aldis) Fishers had meet and married. Her baptismal record in that same town reads, "Mary ye daughter of our Brother and sister Joshuah Fisher and his wife Mary was baptized 31d 1 m 1644." We know Mary survived her husband, Thomas Clapp, as he left her household goods, one end of the dwelling-house and 8 pounds a year while she remained his widow. She was a young widow and had children to rise. There is no indication that she remarried. Thomas had been the son of Thomas Clapp Sr. and probably his first of three wives, Abigail whose maiden name is unknown. Thomas Sr. came from Sidbury, Co. Devon, England. While not extremely wealthy men, both Thomases left estates that suggested a middle class comfort created from a strong work ethic.

Mary and her husband Thomas Clapp were of the first generation born in the New World. They probably never knew England except in their parent’s reminiscences. Their world was made up of the forested New England, full of new world ideas and dreams. They never saw the castles or cathedrals of England. The England they knew was through their parents’ stories. They were separated from the Old World by a three months sea voyage and a wilderness stretching west into the unknown. Their parents were bent on creating a City on the Hill, a shining beacon of the true way to worship and live. But it was a rigid “city” that had little room for individuality or a spirit of seeking a bigger more complicated God. Mary Fisher and Thomas Clapp’s generation lead a quiet rebellion, not losing their Puritan spirit but become less ridged in their beliefs. Mary and Thomas were also bent on creating a comfortable living, in a land between wilderness and the open sea that lead to far away England. They were still bound them in the English thought patterns and traditions. However they were the first generation to truly create an American ideal. Their “puritan work ethic” would persist through many generations, coloring the American people. The importance of education, faith and a representative government was established in the hopes and faith of these people so saturated in a need to purify their religion that they would uproot their families and seek out a place where they could be independent and express their beliefs in all aspects of life. Mary and Thomas’ generation was less fanatical about their “religion” their parents. While their parents were intent on witnessing to the native population, Mary and Thomas’ generation and that of their children, was more intent on owning a piece of the dream through land ownership and moving up in the world. The zeal of the puritans was not quit so obvious in proceeding generations. But it was still there, coloring not just New England but all of what would become the United States of America. In our age we, in our sophistication, we tend to laugh and sneer at the simple faith of the early New England settlers, jeering at their witchcraft trials, their exiles of dissenters and hanging of Quakers and their ridged belief system. We don’t need to whitewash Puritan New England, but we need to be fair in judgment. These were men and women of uncommon faith and courage who, indeed, built a foundation that has stood strong for many generations. Mary and Thomas Clapp’s generation and the ones that preceded them ebbed and flowed with the need to worship God; each new generation created men and woman of exceptional faith just as it created villains.

1. The Record of Baptisms, Marriages, and Deaths in the Town of Dedham, Mass.  Edited by Don Gleason Hill
3.  "Ancestry of Nathan Aldus of Dedham" New England Historical and Genealogical Register Vol 150, page 489

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Line 3.4 Joshua Fisher Jr. -- Living the Dream

Joshua Fisher Jr. was born in England but left as a young boy/man to live out the dream of John Winthrop and the Puritans in the City on the Hill. Faith, bravery and a sense of adventure must have filled this young man’s heart as he left the familiar landscape of Syleham, England for the unfamiliar forest of Massachusetts.

Joshua Fisher was born 02 April 1621 in Syleham, Suffolk, England
Married 1. Mary Aldis was the daughter of Nathan and Mary Aldis and the mother of his eight children.
      2. Lydia, the widow of Samuel Oliver
Died 10 August 1672 in Dedham, Hampshire, Massachusetts
The children of Joshua Fisher and Mary Aldis were:
1.      Mary Fisher born 23 March 1643/44 in Dedham, Massachusetts; married Thomas Clapp
2.      Joshua Fisher born 30 October 1645 in Dedham, Massachusetts where he died as an infant on 14 January 1645/46
3.      Hannah Fisher born 14 February 1646/47 in Dedham and died young
4.      Abigail Fisher born 28 February 1648/49 and married John Houlton
5.      Joshua Fisher born 09 January 1650/51, married Esther Wiswell and had at least seven children.
6.      John Fisher born 18 February 1651/52 in Dedham and died 1727 in Medfield, MA. He married Hannah Adams in Dedham
7.      Hannah Fisher born 19 January 1652/53, died young
8.      Vigilance Fisher born 21 November 1654 in Dedham, Massachusetts. He married Rebecca Partridge

Joshua Fisher was born sometime shortly before his baptism on 02 April 1621 in Fressington His baptismal record reads: “Joshua Fysher, the sonne of Joshua Fysher, was baptized on the ii daye of Aprille“.

Joshua emigrated from Syleham, co. Suffolk to Dedham, MA about 1637 or 1638 with his uncle Anthony Fisher and his family. As a teenager of about 16 or 17 years, he began life in the New World with the big responsibility of creating a working post for his father. "The First of ye 11th Month (1638) Jan 1, 1638/9 Joshua Jr. entered upon the lot granted the smith and is to hold it and make improvements for the behalfe of his Father who is expected this next somer”Dedham Massachusetts record of 1 January 1637/8: "vpon a motion made by ant Fisher it is condescended that Josua Fisher [nephew of Anthony and son of Joshua] may enter vpon the Smithes Lott & ther fitt himselfe ye building & otherwise for to doe some worke of ye trade for ye Towne in the behalfe of his Father wth is expected this next somer. Provided yt yf he cometh nto insuch a tyme as may be conceived fitting by our sayd society Then the syd Josua shall leave ye sayd Lott & ye Towne to be at liberty to put in another Smith; aloweing vnto the sayd Joshua his whollCharges vpon the same to be alowed by 2: Judicious men." Joshua had to relinquish his “job” as his father did not arrive before the set date. His father and new wife arrived soon after though and the Fisher family continued to have influence in Dedham. The third Joshua of the Fisher line was among the 18 men who signed the Dedham Covenant. In 1639 he joined the Dedham Church where he probably married Mary Aldis, daughter of Deacon Nathan (or Nathaniel) Aldis and his wife Mary . Joshua Jr. became a freeman of the town in 1649. Joshua was a talented man who was a draughtsman, mapmaker and eventually a state surveyor. He was a member of the Ancient and Honorable Artillery Co., a town selectman, clerk of the court of writs and for twenty-one years representative. This busy man became a lieutenant of the Military Company of Dedham in 1643, one of the commissioners who laid out the boundary between Plymouth colony and Massachusetts (for which he was granted three hundred acres of land) and on the commission to lay out the boundary between Sudbury and Watertown.

In between all this activity, Joshua ran the “Fisher Tavern” or “publicke house” in Dedham, on the corners of High and Court Streets. The town “publicke house” was an important building in a small New England town. It was here that many business and town meetings were held as well as well as being a social center. It is not hard to imagine Joshua as a sociable, energetic man. He seems to never to have stopped running, living the Puritan ideal of being a successful businessman but also having strong religious ties. Joshua was the picture of the ideal Puritan; educated, churched, and a successful businessman. He portrays the puritan work that permeates so much of the American culture.

Joshua and Mary had eight children, five of whom lived to marry and have children of their own. Mary died in 1653. The following year Joshua married Lydia, the widow of Samuel Oliver of Boston. Joshua died in 16 72. Lydia survived him by a number of years, dieing on 02 February 1682/83.

Joshua did not leave a will. Public reads records the following: "10, 6 mth in 1672; Lieut. Joshua Fisher, Late of Dedham, dyeing without a will wee whose Names are under written, being the only Children of the said Joshua our deare Father, doe agree as deviding the Estate as follows... Noting the estate was in 'a considerable Same in Debt," the children agreed together to sell property to pay the debts. Their mother [Lydia] should have her thirds of the house and lands or ten pounds annually, whichever she choses, and the remainder of he estate to be divided into seven equal parts, 'each child to take one part and the eldest Sonne to have two parts.” The distribution agreement was signed by Joshua Fisher, William Avery for John Fisher; Thomas Fuller for Vigilance Fisher; Thomas Clapp, John Holton and Daniel Fisher for Hannah Fisher.

1. "The Dedham Historical Register," 1890 by Dedham Historical Society
2. The Records of Baptism, Marriages and Deaths in the town of Dedham Edited by Don Gleason Hill
3. Dedham Historical Register, Vol I, "The Fisher Family" page 24-26 and page 58
4. Brother, John Fisher's Will of July 4, 1668
5. Vital Records of Dedham, Mass., Vol 3: Marriages 1638-1844, Edited by Robert Brand Hanson
6. "English Records of Joshua Fisher of Dedham, Mass." by Robert Charles  Anderson from the American Genealogist, Vol 66, No. 3 July 1991
7. English Ancestry of Joshua and Anthony Fisher by Myrtle Stevens Hyde and John Plummer, New England Historical and Genealogical Register, Vol 151, April 1997
8. Towns of New England and old England, Ireland and Scotland ..., Part 1 By Allan Forbes, State Street Trust Company (Boston, Mass.)
9. Transcript of Parish Records, Sylehame, Suffolk, England
10. Dedham Massachusetts record of 1 January 1637/8

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Line 3.3 Joshua Fisher Sr.; Following the Winthrop Fleet

The mighty Winthrop Fleet consisted of a fleet of eleven ships, arriving in Massachusetts in 1630. Anthony Fisher’s sons were among the puritans that followed in the later 1630s, up until Cromwell and the Commonwealth took over the government of England. The Fishers belonged to a movement of faith, looking to build that “city on a hill” that would proclaim the glory of God.

Joshua Fisher was baptized 24 March 1587/8 at Fressingfield, Suffolk, England the son of Anthony Fisher and his wife Mary Fiske.
Married 1. Elizabeth (maiden name unknown)
      2. Anne Orfor on 7 February 1638/9
Died 18 October 1674 in Dedham, Massachusetts
The children of Joshua and Elizabeth Fisher were:
1.      Elizabeth Fisher baptized 4 Jun 1618 in Syleham, Suffolk, England and probably died young.
2.      Joshua Fisher baptized 2 April 1621 in Syleham, Suffolk, England. He married Mary Aldis and died 10 August 1672 in Dedham Massachusetts
3.      Mary Fisher baptized 1623, in Redenhall with Harleston, Norfolk, England married Thomas Battle and died 06 August 1691 in Dedham, Massachusetts
4.      Hester Fisher baptized 1625 in Redenhall with Harleston, Norfolk, England where she died days later
5.      Sarah Fisher born and died 1627 in Redenhall with Harleston, Norfolk, England
6.      Amos Fisher buried 05 September 1630 Redenhall with Harleston, Norfolk, England
7.      John Fisher baptized 26 January 1633/34 Redenhall with Harleston, Norfolk, England; married Elizabeth Boylston. He died 03 July 1668 in Medfield, Suffolk, MA
8.      Samuel Fisher baptized 11 October 1635 at Redenhall with Harleston, Norfolk, England and died there in 1638.

Joshua Fisher was baptized as “Joseph Fysher” in the church at Fressingfield on 24 March 1587/8.  A baptismal record reading "Anno Domini 1585, Joshua Fysher et Maria Fysher, Gemini, baptized fuer 24th die Februarii" confused genealogist was a long time. This turned out to be another Joshua when it was realized that “Joseph” had been written instead of Joshua in the 1587/8 record. This was one of the few times, Joshua would be confused about just who he was. In later years he would have the strength of will and faith to travel to the New World in order to live out his faith as he felt was proper.

 Joshua Fisher married twice. His first wife is only known by her first name, Elizabeth. His second wife, who also cause some debate among later generations of genealogists, was finally determined to be Anne Orfor whom Joshua married the 7th of February 1638/9 in Syleham.

By 1621 Joshua and his family, which consisted of wife, Elizabeth and possibly two children, if daughter Elizabeth was still alive, move across the river to Harleston, Norfolk, England. Four young Fisher children (and possibly Elizabeth Jr. as well) would be buried in the Harleston churchyard. Elizabeth Sr. would be buried there in 1638. Joshua, a widower with three living children, one of whom had left for New England, married Anne Orfor only five months later.

We don’t know if Elizabeth Sr. was already ill in the summer of 1637, but she was about to “lose” another child. Her sixteen-year-old son, Joshua Jr. left England with his Uncle Anthony Fisher for the colonies. Maybe the family was already planning to join young Joshua and his uncle’s family in the New World but they delayed long enough for Elizabeth to die and for Joshua Sr. to remarry. Anne was most certainly a Puritan herself and a kind person. She had no children of her own but her stepchildren certainly respected and loved her. Stepson, John Fisher called her “my mother Anne Fisher” in his will. Anne and Joshua Sr. had deeded property in Medfield [Massachusetts] to “our Sonne John.” Anne herself, named “daughter Battlie” [Mary Fisher Battle] and grandsons and granddaughters as well as “my late Son Lieftenant Joshua Fisher whom I brought up from his Childhood” in her 8 April 1675 will. The stiff, cold stereotype of a Puritan woman just doesn’t fit the little we know about Anne. Joshua Fisher was fortunate indeed to have married so loving wife who loved his children as well. He most certainly had known Anne long before he married her. It is possible that he was planning to go to the colonies to join his son when his wife Elizabeth died. As winter drew near, he may have decided it would be better to bring a wife to the colonies with him, rather then to see who was available there. Anne, herself, may have been planning to leave for the colonies but having no husband and possibly losing family at the same time that Elizabeth died, may have realized that she could not now go. While the marriage may have been for convince, documents suggest (as noted above) that it was a happy marriage.

Puritans followed the Calvinistic doctrinal thought. They believed in God’s absolute sovereignty and man’s total depravity and hence man’s total dependency on God’s grace and the hope of salvation. Puritans believed in predestination; that some were chosen or “elected” to be saved by God. Those chosen reflected the teachings of Scripture in their actions and lifestyle. Joshua and his brother, Anthony, and their siblings, were born during the reign of Elizabeth I. James of Scotland succeeded Elizabeth in 1603 when Joshua and Anthony were still boys. There must have been some hope of better reform in the Church of England from a king who came from a strongly puritan country. The “Puritans” in England felt that Elizabeth’s Church of England was too full of rituals and pomp and wanted change. James came from a Scotland heavily under the influence of John Knox’s theology and the Puritans must have hoped for the continuance of this influence by James.

However, James I found it easier to stay with the church that Elizabeth had established. In January of 1604, shortly after James became King of England as well as of Scotland, the Hampton Court Conference was held to hear the two dominate sides of the protestant movement in England; the Church of England and the Puritans. The Puritan idea of replacing bishops with “presbyteries” didn’t set well with James. This type of church government was made up of pastors, elders and other theologians, rather then having the church headed by a bishop who didn’t know the congregation.  James saw this as exclusion of his role as the head of the Church of England and didn’t like it. While the Puritans were able to co-exist in a somewhat civil way with the Church of England, the divide grew with the years and by the end of James’ reign there was much persecution of the Puritans and the Exodus to the New World gained momentum. The Fisher brothers, Joshua, Anthony and Cornelius became a part of the 17th Century Exodus.

With young Joshua already in New England, Joshua Sr., his wife Anne and daughter, Mary, and young son, John, probably set sail for Massachusetts in the spring or summer of 1639. The younger Joshua Fisher had been given the right to be Dedham’s blacksmith until his father arrived from England. Joshua senior, however, had not arrived by 28 August 1638 when Edward Kempe was given half of the “smith” lot. Joshua Sr. was first mentioned in Dedham, Massachusetts record on 23 March 1639/40. "Joshua Fisher" is signer number 78 on the "Covenant of Dedham, Massachusetts" first signed on August 15, 1636. Also listed were Anthony Fisher, John Eaton, Nathan and John Aldus, Cornelius Fisher, and Samuell Fisher.

The Joshua Fisher family settled in Medfield sometime after Joshua Fisher was mentioned in the Dedham records in 21 September 1650. Medfield was not far from Dedham but was far enough to be considered a new village. Joshua died there on 18 October 1674.

WILL of Joshua Fisher: "In the Year of our Lord one thousand six hundred seventy four the second daye of May, 1. Joshua ffisher of Medfield Senior...brought to old age and being thourby with the inffirmities...wife Ann...the bed with all belongings in the little chamber next to the stairs and all soe two good blankets more and two payres of sheets and two pillows and that trunke now standing in the bed Chamber below marked A.F. with what soe ever is now in it and all hir wearing apparrell as well linen as wooling and one payer of andirons...and payier of tongs one trammel...and two heaters one payere of pothookes two brass vesselles...bellows...two chairs two  fouer ffooted stolles two chushings such as she shall chuse and three puter dishes two of the..and one...and three bushels of Endian corne and forty pound wayt of butter and forty pound of chese and fifty pound wayght of porke and one cow such as she shall chuse and all my fire wood that is cut out when god shall take me away whether in the woods or in my yard and soe much more of my moveable goods as shall be vallued at ten pound in such as she shall chuse or also soemuch in good and merchantable wheat as com to ten pound, and fifteen pound in good and curant ne England mony and further my will and desire is that my above said wife may live in that end of the house that I live in according to the will of my son John ffisher deceased untill such time as the heirs shall cum of age (and then to injoy...with the benefit of any one now of the apple trees in the orchard) and then too live in the other end and there to injoy During the terme of her naturall life all such Liberties and prevelidges as are enjoyed in my deed of gift fformerly made to my son John ffisher...
     Unto my daughter Marcy Battle the wife of Thomas Battle and her heires ffor ever thirty grandson Joshua 60 pounds it being already in his hands payd to him out of that Estate which I had in his fathers Mary Clap my grand daughter and wife of Thomas Clap 5 pounds...John ffisher grand child, son of Joshua ffisher 5 Hannah B...grand child 5 pounds...John ffisher son of my son John ffisher all land in Medfield, etc....further that John ffisher son of my son John ffisher within the space of two years after he shall com to one and twenty years of age shall pay 40 pounds to his brother Jonathan ffisher...Vigilance ffisher my grand child son of my son Joshua ffisher 40 shillings...and I constitute appoint and ordain my trusty and well beloved cosen Daniel ffisher of Dedham and Joshua Fisher my grand child
executors of this my last will...
Joshua ffisher
John Wilson
Ralph Wheelocke

1. Dedham Historical Register, 1890, Vol. 1, published by the Dedham Historical Society
2. John Fisher's (son) Will
3. Transcript of Parish Records, Syleham, Suffolk, England
4. "A Genealogical Register of the First Settlers of New England" by John Farmer
5.  "English Records of Joshua Fisher of Dedham, Mass." by Robert Charles  Anderson from the American Genealogist, Vol. 66, No. 3 July 1991
6.   New England Historical and Genealogy Register, Vol. 151, April 1997 "The English Ancestry of New England Settlers Joshua and Anthony Fisher" by Myrtle Stevens Hyde and John Plummer
7.   Genealogy Research in England "The Fiske Family" by G. Andrews Moriarty
8.   Joshua Fisher's will
9.      List of signers of the Covenant of Dedham, Massachusetts
10. Dedham Massachusetts record of 1 January 1637/8