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

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