Milton Fuller & Trader John Fish (1766-c1819)

By Muriel Bristol | June 5, 2022

John Fish [III] was born in Mendon, MA, February 26, 1766, son of John [Jr.] and Deborah (Sheffield) Fish.

At some point, the Fish family left Mendon, MA, and the Ober family left neighboring Upton, MA, and both removed to Townshend, VT, a distance of about 120 miles.

John Fish married, probably in Townshend, VT, circa 1788, Rebecca Ober. She was born in Upton, MA, July 5, 1766, daughter of Ebenezer and Hannah (Fiske) Ober (given elsewhere as October 12, 1766, perhaps a baptism). (Her mother had died in Upton, MA, December 22, 1780).

Ira Fish, son of John and Rebekah Fish, was born in Townshend, VT, January 4, 1790. (The Ninth (1870) Federal Census gave his birthplace as having been “Townsend, Vt.,”, i.e., Townshend, VT).

John Fish Junr headed a Townshend, VT, household at the time of the First (1790) Federal Census. His household included one male aged 16-plus years [himself], two females [Rebecca (Ober) Fish and another], and one male aged under-16 years [Ira Fish].

His father, John Fish, headed also a Townshend, VT, household at that same time. His household included one male aged 16-plus years [himself], two females [Deborah (Sheffield) Fish and another], and three males aged under-16 years; while father-in-law, Ebenr Ober, headed yet another Townshend, VT, household. His household included one male aged 16-plus years [himself], two females, and two males aged under-16 years.

Sophia Fish, daughter of John and Rebekah Fish, was born in Townshend, VT, April 6, 1792. (Census records and, at the end of her life, her death certificate gave her birthplace as having been “Vermont State”).

Townshend, VT, delineated its school districts in May 1793. The house of John Fish, Jr., stood within the new Fifth District, while those of his father, John Fish, and his father-in-law, Ebenezer Ober, stood within the adjoining Sixth District.

The Fifth District to include all the families within the following described lines, viz: Beginning at the south-easterly corner of the fourth district, and running on the easterly line of said Townshend, to the southeast corner of said Townshend; thence, turning and running on the southerly line of said Townshend so far as by turning northerly in the most convenient place will include the families of Razey, and Nathan Wood; then, running a straight line from said Wood’s to the house of John Hazeltine, Jr., including said Hazeltine; from thence, by a straight line, to the house of John Fish, Jr., including the said Fish; thence, by a straight line, to the house of Jesse Murdock; to be known by the number of the Fifth District.
The Sixth District to include all the families within the following described lines, viz: Beginning at the house of Ensign Fish, Jr., and running down the road that leads to John Fish’s, including said John Fish’s family; thence, along the road to Ebenezer Ober’s, including the families on said road; thence, west, to the east bank of West River; thence, up said river, to the farm belonging to Dr. Wheeler, including the same; from thence, north, to the line of the second district; thence, easterly, by the lines of the other districts, till it strikes Brookline road, so called; from thence, by the line of the fourth district, to Jesse Murdock’s house; from thence, to the place of beginning; to be known by the number of the Sixth District (Phelps, 1877).

At some point, between 1793 and 1794, the younger John Fish’s family left Townshend, VT, and removed to the Northeast Parish of Rochester, NH, i.e., Milton Three Ponds, a distance of about 130 miles.

Among the first who settled at Three Ponds were Samuel Palmer, Levi Burgen, John Fish, Paul Jewett, Pelatiah Hanscom, Robert McGeoch, and others. Daniel Door and Jonathan Door settled at the head of the Pond quite early. The old tavern house at Three Ponds, burned a few years ago, was built by Robert McGeoch in 1786 or 1787, and was perhaps the first tavern in town (Scales, 1914). 

(The births of all of the children of John and Rebekah [(Ober)] Fish were recorded in Milton vital records, including the first two who had actually been born in Townshend, VT. It would not have been unusual for an existing family record, such as a bible record, to be copied all at once into local town vital records, regardless of geography).

At the time of Milton’s Centennial (in 1902), visitors were shown John Fish’s house at Milton Three Ponds, which was said to have been built in 1794 (Mitchell-Cony, 1908).

The valuable mill privilege at the Three Ponds naturally made this the trading center, and a considerable village gradually sprang up, its growth being accelerated, at periods, by the prospect of large manufacturing establishments. Among the earliest traders were Joshua Hartford, John Fish, and a Mr. Hovey. In 1810 Simon Chase, who had been a clerk with Joseph Hanson in Rochester, commenced business there being the only trader at that time. There was a fulling mill operated by John Fish, and the houses of Hartford, Gerrish, Fish, Palmer, and perhaps one or two others (McDuffee, 1892).

FULLING, in the manufacture of textiles, process of shrinking or condensing woolen and worsted fabrics to render them firmer and stronger. The primitive method of fulling cloth was to tread it with bare feet in water. It is said that our surnames of Fuller, Walker, and Tucker all came from the fact that those who performed this labor, variously called fulling, walking, and tucking were called by these names.
The present process of fulling is understood more readily by one to whom the condition of woven fabrics as they come from the loom is familiar. Many of the fabrics admired and found serviceable by reason of their close, firm weave appear loose, elastic, and almost flimsy before the fulling process. The shrinking of blankets and woolen garments, whereby they lose elasticity and gain in thickness and hardness, is avoided carefully by the housewife. The fulling process performed in the manufacture of the very fabrics from which these garments are made is, however, a necessity. Not only the beauty, but in many instances the durability and warmth of a material would be lacking were this process omitted.
Fulling is effected by the application of moisture, heat, and pressure. The cleansing and scouring of the fabric is accomplished ordinarily at one operation with the fulling. This scouring rids the cloth of the oil used previous to spinning, and of the sizing used in dressing the warp. The cloth is well saturated with hot water and soap and, in the fulling mill, as the machine is called, is pressed and squeezed between wooden rollers partly immersed in water. Twelve hours in the mill will shrink ordinary cloth two-fifths in breadth and one-third in length. The goods are taken out of the mill frequently, and are stretched, turned, and inspected. Experience and judgment are required by the fuller, as the length of time cloth should be fulled varies. After fulling, the soap is washed from the fabric, and it is tentered, that is, stretched carefully that it may dry evenly (Welles Brothers, 1912).

Here one may find several contemporary descriptions of similar fulling operations (complete with ancillary clothing shops, i.e., trading,) in Hartland, VT, and Pittsfield, MA.

A FARM FOR SALE, IN HARTLAND, ON the great River road four miles north of the Court House in Windsor, containing 5 acres of excellent land, with a convenient Dwelling House, Barn and Store – together with a Clothier’s Shop, and Fulling Mill and tools, new and in good repair, with a good dam and floom, built for other mills; said dam is founded on a rock bottom and sides, and is as good a stand for a Clothier as any in the State – and said farm is as good a stand for a tavern, of trader, or both, as any on the river, as it has answered a valuable purpose for both; and is now licenced the present year for a tavern. The whole will be sold together, or the Clothier’s works with accommodations by itself, or the other premises in the same manner – Some part of the pay down, and the other on undoubted credit. For particulars enquire of BLISS CORLISS, Living on the premises. N.B. Said place will be let if not sold by the 1st of September. Hartland, August 3d, 1797. 32tf (Vermont Journal, September 22, 1797).

Clothier’s Business. The Subscriber takes this method to inform the Public, that he has erected A new Fulling-Mill and Clothier’s Works, at an Old Stand in the west part of Pittsfield, formerly occupied by Elder Volintine Rathbun, and is ready to DRESS CLOTH of all kinds, and all sorts of Colors, in the best and neatest manner, for all those that will favor him with their custom – and all favors received will be gratefully acknowledged, by their humble servant, DAN MUNROW. AUGUST 28, 1801 (Pittsfield Sun, September 1, 1801). 

John Fish, son of John and Rebekah Fish, was born in Rochester, NH, January 15, 1795. He was a namesake for both his father and grandfather.

Hannah Fish, daughter of John and Rebekah Fish, was born in Rochester, NH, September 3, 1797. She was a namesake for her maternal grandmother, Hannah (Fiske) Ober.

Deborah Sheffield Fish, daughter of John and Rebekah Fish, was born in Rochester, NH, April 1, 1799. She was a namesake for her paternal grandmother, Deborah (Sheffield) Fish.

Son John Fish died in Rochester, NH, June 2, 1799, aged four years, four months, and seventeen days.

John Fish headed a Northeast Parish, Rochester, NH, household at the time of the Second (1800) Federal Census. His household included one male aged 26-44 years [himself], one female aged 26-44 years [Rebecca (Ober) Fish], one female aged 16-25 years, one male aged 10-15 years [Ira Fish], and three females aged under-10 years [Sophia Fish, Hannah Fish, and Deborah Fish]. (See Northeast Parish in the Second (1800) Federal Census).

Father John Fish headed still a Townshend, VT, household at the time of the Second (1800) Federal Census. His household included one male aged 45-plus years [himself], one female aged 45-plus years [Deborah (Sheffield) Fish], and one female aged 26-44 years. (Other Townshend households were headed by his other sons Jacob Fish and Ward Fish). Father-in-law Ebenr Ober headed another Townshend, VT, household at that same time. His household included only one male aged 45-plus years [himself].

For whatever reason, John Fish did not sign the Rochester division petition of May 28, 1802. He would be elected nevertheless as one of the first three Milton selectmen.

The first town meeting in Milton was called by William Palmer, Esq., and held at the dwelling-house of Lieut. Elijah Horn (now the dwelling house of Lewis B. Twombly) on the 30th day of August 1802, at which meeting Beard Plumer was chosen moderator; Gilman Jewett, town clerk; and William Palmer, John FishJohn Remick, Jr., selectmen (Hurd, 1882).

He served also on the meetinghouse building committee in 1804. (See also Milton Congregational Society Petition – 1814).

The first meetinghouse in Milton was erected on the Ridge in accordance with a vote passed at the annual meeting in 1802. John Fish, Beard Plumer and Gilman Jewett, were the executive committee. The lot on which the building was erected was purchased of Thomas and Aaron Downes for $26. The meetinghouse was completed at a cost of about $2,400, by Caleb Wingate, Capt. Daniel Hayes and Gilman Jewett. The net cost of the church, however, was not so large, as the pews were sold for nearly $2,000. The first service was held in 1804 and from that time until after 1830, the meetinghouse was constantly in use. The first preachers to occupy the pulpit were Rev. Gideon Burt and Rev. Christopher Page both of whom were here in 1804 (Mitchell-Cony, 1908).

John Fish, son of John and Rebekah Fish, was born in Milton, March 9, 1803. He was a namesake both for his father and paternal grandfather, but also for an older sibling that predeceased him.

Milton sent John Fish to the NH state legislature as its NH State Representative in 1804. He was both preceded and succeeded in that office by separate terms of Beard Plumer.

Jacob Fish, son of John and Rebekah Fish, was born in Milton, April 26, 1805. He was a namesake for his paternal uncle, Jacob Fish of Townshend, VT.

Ebenezer Clifford (1746-1821), Esq., of Exeter, NH, invented an improved diving bell, with which he and Capt. Richard Tripe (1756-1817) of Dover, NH, experimented as early as 1803. (Several Milton residents, including John Fish, would become associated with these men and this technology in other salvage ventures in future years).

He [Clifford] was an ingenious mechanic, studied architecture, and made scientific experiments outside of his regular calling. He manufactured a diving bell, with which he brought up from the bottom of the sea valuable property from one or more wrecked vessels (Antiques, August 1960).

THE DIVING-BELL. The diving-bell consists of a heavy vessel in the form of a bell with the mouth downward and generally constructed of cast iron or of wood, the latter loaded with weights to make it sink. It is usually furnished with shelves and seats on the sides for the convenience of those who descend in it; and several strong glass lenses are fitted into the upper part for the admission of light. There is likewise a stop-cock, by opening which the air, rendered impure by respiration, may from time to time be discharged and rise in bubbles to the surface of the water; and provision must be made for the regular supply of fresh air, which may be sent down through pipes from one or more large condensing syringes, worked on the deck of a vessel above or by the person in the bell. The bell must be properly suspended from a crane, or cross-beam, furnished with tackles of pulleys, that it may be lowered raised or otherwise moved according to circumstances (Gale, 1834).

By 1805 Ebenezer Clifford was hard at work retrieving bar iron from a sunken gundalow boat beneath the harbor at Portsmouth, NH.

Diving Bell - 1851In Vol xxii of the American Journal of Science is an interesting account of the experiments made with a diving bell in Portsmouth Harbor, N.H., in 1805. The bell inside was 5 feet in diameter at the bottom, 3 feet at the top, and 5¾ feet high. Two men descended in it at a time; when about 12 feet below the surface, the painful sensation experienced in the ears would pass away with a sudden shock, and this would be repeated at each interval of about 12 feet. It might, they found, be avoided by having the bell raised a foot or two every 8 or 10 feet of the descent. The greatest descent made was about 72 feet. “In a clear day, with an unruffled sea, they had light sufficient for reading a coarse print at the greatest depth, as they moved the pebbles with their gaff at the bottom of the river, fish in abundance came to the place like a flock of chickens and as devoid of fear as if it was a region where they had never been molested by beings from the extra-aquatic world. From the description of the adventurers, no scenery in nature can be more beautiful than that viewed by them in a sunshiny day at the bottom of the deep Piscataqua. It does not appear that the health of either of the men was in the least impaired by their submarine excursions. Their pulsations were quick and their perspiration was very profuse under water; and upon coming out of it they felt themselves in a fit condition for a comfortable sleep.” One of the men, it is further stated, found himself much relieved of rheumatic complaints, from which he had been suffering, which was attributed to the great heat produced in the bell, which was like that of a steam bath (Preble, 1892).

No prismatic colors, no cave of Antiparos, no changes in the Kaleidoscope, no woodlands bending with icy sleet, are equal in beauty to the scenery described by the adventurers, at the bottom of the Piscataqua (Boston Post, August 23, 1832).

Father-in-law Ebenezer Ober died in Townshend, VT, August 17, 1806.

John Fish was Milton’s second town clerk, from 1807 to 1810. He succeeded Gilman Jewett in that office and would be replaced in his turn by Levi Jones.

Father John Fish died in Townshend, VT, in 1808.

Milton sent John Fish to the NH state legislature as its NH State Representative in 1809-10. He was preceded in that office by Beard Plumer and succeeded in it by Theodore C. Lyman.

By the summer of 1809, Ebenezer Clifford of Exeter, NH, and his associate or partner, Samuel Palmer of Milton Three Ponds, were together salvaging cannons from ships scuttled by the Massachusetts Navy in Maine’s Penobscot River during the disastrous Penobscot Expedition of 1779. (Maine was until 1820 a non-contiguous “province” of Massachusetts). Palmer was a son of Maj. Barnabas Palmer and elder brother of William Palmer, Esq.

A Diving Bell, invented for the purpose of raising property from the deep, has been found on experiment in Massachusetts to be very valuable. Two persons can remain in it under water nearly two hours and labor advantageously. From a vessel sunk opposite Frankfort, a brass howitzer worth 200 dollars has been raised by its aid; from a vessel sunk between Hampden and Orrington, 28 pieces of iron ordnance of 6 lbs. calibre have also been raised (Vermont Gazette, October 30, 1809).

DIVING BELL. We understand that Ebenezer Clifford, of Portsmouth, (N.H.) has invented an improved and ingenious Diving Bell, of a new construction; in which labourers can descend with great ease and safety, to almost any depth, and work with convenience. During the last summer he has been industriously employed in weighing the ordinance in Penobscot river, from the wrecks of the vessels lost and destroyed in the unfortunate expedition in the time of the American revolution, against Bagaduce, on that river. He has already weighed thirty-six pieces of artillery and one brass howetzer, together with several tons of cannonball; all of which, it is said, were more than sixty feet below the surface of the water. We hope such ingenuity and enterprize will be suitably rewarded (Sentinel & Democrat (Burlington, VT), February 9, 1810).

Daughter Sophia Fish married in Milton, December 25, 1809, Samuel Twombly. He was born in Milton, March 26, 1780, son of Samuel and Mary (Burrows) Twombly.

John Fish was one of sixty-four Strafford County inhabitants who recommended that Colo James Carr be reappointed as Strafford County sheriff, January 22, 1810. Wm Palmer, John Plumer, Junr, Jonas C. March, and Joseph Plumer signed also.

Fish, John - Signature - 1810Jno Fish headed a Milton household at the time of the Third (1810) Federal Census. His household included one male aged 26-44 years [himself], one female aged 26-44 years [Rebecca (Ober) Fish], one male aged 16-25 years [Ira Fish], three females aged 10-15 years [Sophia Fish, Hannah Fish, and Deborah Fish], and two males aged under-10 years [John Fish and Jacob Fish]. His household was enumerated between those of Saml Palmer and Simon Chase.

Son-in-law Saml Twombley Jun headed a Milton household at the time of the Third (1810) Federal Census. His household included one male aged 26-44 years [himself], one female aged 16-25 years [Sophia (Fish) Twombly].

Massachusetts did reward or pay Ebenezer Clifford and Samuel Palmer in February 1810, for the cannons they had raised from naval wrecks at the bottom of the Penobscot River, in the previous summer.

February 22, 1810; On the petition of Ebenezer Clifford and Samuel Palmer, Resolved That the Quarter-master-general be, and he is hereby directed, to purchase of the said Clifford and Palmer, thirty-six pieces of cannon, and one brass howitzer, and several tons of cannon balls, recovered by them, by the use of their diving bell, from the bed of Penobscot River, if the said several articles of ordnance, or any of them, are wanted for the use of the Commonwealth, and can be had at a reasonable price (MA Secretary of State, 1810).

As we have seen, Samuel Palmer had become an associate of diving bell inventor Ebenezer Clifford. John Fish and Theodore C. Lyman, both of Milton, became also associates of them, or of Palmer only, or succeeded them in similar ventures.

Samuel Palmer and John Fish engaged in several diving bell adventures, endeavoring to raise the cargoes of sunken vessels, one at Portsmouth, and one upon a western lake, but were unsuccessful (McDuffee, 1892).

By January 1811, Milton’s Theodore C. Lyman and John Fish petitioned the U.S. Congress for salvage rights in any public property that might be lying at the bottom of Lakes George and Champlain in New York state. (U.S. Representative William Hale (1765-1848) of Dover, NH, presented their petition).

Mr. Hale presented a petition of Theodore C. Lyman and John Fish, of the State of New Hampshire, stating that they have invented a machine for exploring the bottoms of Lakes Champlain and George; and praying that they may have the exclusive property in all articles which belonged to the public prior to being lost, and which they may recover. Ordered, That the said petition be referred to the Committee of Commerce and Manufacture (US Congress, 1826).

That summer, a party led by Samuel Palmer descended in a diving bell on the wreck of the British frigate HMS Huzzah, which had sunk off Hell Gate, a strait separating New York harbor from Long Island Sound, during the Revolutionary War. (One may note with some amusement the gentile substitution of Hurl-Gate for Hell-Gate).

By a gentleman ho came in town yesterday morning, we learn, that Mr. Palmer, who directs the DIVING BELL, on board the gun-boats, now in Hurl-Gate, and who has been for some months past, without avail, endeavoring to obtain a part of the wrecked British frigate Huzza, which sunk there during the revolution – on Saturday last succeeded in getting up her rudder. The quantity of copper which is on it, together with the chains and bolts, will be of considerable value. The greatest difficulty Mr. P, met with, is now surmounted; as the rudder, from the situation in which the ship lays, heretofore prevented them from taking her to pieces, which they now confidently expect to do. The Huzza was a frigate of 28 guns, and was going to Boston with money to pay the British troops then there, when she struck upon a rock a short distance below the country seat of John Graham, Esq., and soon afterwards sunk.
She is described, by those, who went down in the
Bell, to lay on her larboard side, with her keel towards the Morrissina shore, from which she is not distant more than 180 yards. Neither time or the water have made any perceptible impression on the copper of her sides, and her timbers still remain so strong and tight that two men, who went down with axes, wedges, and other tools, could make no impression. One of the divers stated, that he had rubbed his hand over the top of one of the cannon, which, from its peculiar smoothness, he conceived to be brass. The copper bolts which were taken out of the rudder, were so perfect that many would not believe they had ever been used; and the wood (which is of oak) one inch from the surface of the rudder, is as solid as when the ship was built. The aid and assistance which the government has afforded to the company who own the Diving Bell, give us reason to hope that the industry and perseverance of this sub-marine exploring party will be well rewarded, as there is little doubt they will get up the cannon, and a great portion of the imperishable articles that were on board when she foundered (Pittsfield Sun (Pittsfield, MA), July 27, 1811).

Thursday, May 21. Mr. Bartlett presented the petition of Ebenezer Clifford, praying Congress will grant to him all cannon, &c. which he may recover from the bottom of rivers and water courses by means of a diving bell, of which he is the inventor. Referred to a select committee (Washingtonian (Windsor, VT), June 1, 1812).

John Fish received an appointment as a Milton justice-of-the-peace, June 24, 1814. (He would have been due for a renewal in 1819, but at that later time the record acquired instead the bare notation that he was “dead.” (See Milton Seeks a Magistrate – 1820)).

Daughter Hannah Fish married in Rochester, NH, September 22, 1817, Israel Nute. He was born in Milton, May 12, 1792, son of Jotham and Sarah (Twombly) Nute. (See Milton Seeks a Magistrate – 1805).

The Norton Scates family took over John Fish’s house at Milton Three Ponds after his death, which would seem to have taken place in or around 1819. Eri N. Scates was born in the “Fish House” in Milton in 1820.

He was a son of Captain Norton Scates and was born in Milton at the “Fish house,” where his father dwelled and kept the post office in the early twenties (Farmington News, July 28, 1899).

The “Fish House” had nothing to do with fish, as such. It was instead the former residence of John Fish, who was said in April 1820 to have “recently been removed by death.” (See Milton Seeks a Magistrate – 1820). Several married Fish daughters remained in Milton, but the bulk of their siblings removed first to Wakefield and other places in New Hampshire, prior to settling in Penobscot County, Maine. (Maine became independent of Massachusetts, as of March 1820).

Son Ira Fish married in Milton, March 6, 1820, Abra Hayes. She was born in Milton, June 14, 1795, daughter of James C. and Betsy (Twombly) Hayes.

Son Ira Fish was one of nine Wakefield, NH, residents who joined with a greater number of Middleton and New Durham, NH, residents, May 12, 1820, in recommending appointment of John Hill of Middleton, NH, as a Middleton justice-of-the-peace.

Daughter Deborah Fish died of a fever in Jamaica Plain, MA, November 8, 1821, aged twenty-three years. The local church records identified her as “a stranger from Milton, New Hampshire” (Roxbury, MA, Third Parish Church Records).

Son Ira Fish is said to have moved to Lincoln, ME, and he and his brother, Jacob Fish, to have built its sawmills in 1824-25.

In the fall of 1825 Ira Fish came to Mattanawcook from New Hampshire to build saw-mills on the Mattanawcook Stream. He was the agent of the Wendell brothers, manufacturers and merchants of Portsmouth, N.H. There were three brothers whose names appear in connection with the Mattanawcook enterprise, namely, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob Wendell, sons of John Wendell.
Work was begun on the upper ·mills in September, 1825, seventeen men that Mr. Fish brought with him and some others being employed. Israel Heald, who was employed by Mr. Fish to clear the stream preparatory to the building of the dam, has told the writer’s father that, after removing everything, not a drop of water was found running in the stream. Fish argued strongly that a dam would· not be useful where there was no water. It was realized, however, that the preceding season had been one of unusual conditions, which might not arise again. Fish hesitated, and finally he secured the services of an Indian as guide and went up to the ponds. They were found to be all well filled with water and he decided to proceed with the work. A like condition has never arisen since, though at times the water has not been sufficient to run the mills. The dam and the mill were constructed mostly during the fall and winter, Mr. Reddington of Vassalboro acting as engineer and superintendent. The following spring the work was completed and the sawing of logs began. During the next summer, 1826, a saw-mill was erected at the location always known as the lower mill. This was raised in June and was known as the double mill, having two runs of saws (Fellows, 1929).

[LINCOLN] INDUSTRIAL ACCOUNT. As we have already shown, Ira and Jacob Fish erected the first saw mills in town, in 1824; connected with this was also a grist mill. This mill stood on the site of the old dam near the postoffice, and was the center of activity for some years. It was operated chiefly by Ira Fish, he naming the mills “Mattanawcook,” while the place was for many years known by the residents as “Fish’s Mills.” Wm. R. Ayer succeeded Mr. Fish in operating the mills, continuing for many years to manufacture lumber extensively. Finally the old mills were vacated, and have decayed, but the old stones used to grind the early grist are now used by Mr. Haynes in his new mill (Mitchell, 1905).

Son Jacob Fish married in Tuftonboro, NH, November 12, 1826, Sarah “Sally” Canney, he of Moultonborough, NH, and she of Tuftonboro, NH. She was born in Tuftonboro, ME, May 30, 1806, daughter of Joseph and Anna (Kinnison) Canney.

Son Ira Fish was one of the first selectmen of a newly incorporated Lincoln, ME, in 1829, as his father had been of a newly incorporated Milton, in 1802.

In response to a petition made by six of the leading men of the town, Ira Fish, Esq., issued his warrant, dated March 30, 1829, calling the inhabitants to assemble in town meeting in the school house at “Mattanawcook Mills” on Monday, April 6, following. At this meeting the necessary town officers were chosen, Mr. Fish serving as moderator. After the election of Chesley Hayes for clerk, the meeting was adjourned to Mr. Fish’s barn, probably for room. Ira Fish, Benj. Chesley, and Israel Heald were chosen selectmen and assessors and Chesley Hayes treasurer. Joseph Hammond was made collector and constable, collection to be made at 8 per cent. The selectmen were chosen a committee to district the town for schools and highway districts (Mitchell, 1905).

Son Ira Fish headed a Lincoln, ME, household at the time of the Fourth (1830) Federal Census. His household included one male aged 40-49 years [Ira Fish], one female aged 30-39 years [Abra Fish], two males aged 20-29 years, one male aged 15-19 years [Ezra O. Fish], one female aged 15-19 years, and one male aged 5-9 years [Ira D. Fish]. His household appeared in the enumeration between those of Daniel Forbes and Hiram Wiley.

Ira Fish was an extensive land owner and lumberman in [Lincoln] town, and Fish Hill was named for him. It is sometimes called Lindsay Hill (Bailey, 1950).

Son-in-law Samuel Twombly headed a Milton household at the time of the Fourth (1830) Federal Census. His household included one male aged 50-59 years [himself], one female aged 30-39 years [Sophia (Fish) Twombly], two males aged 15-19 years [Thomas B. Twombly and Josiah F. Twombly], one female aged 15-19 years, one male aged 5-9 years [Ira F. Twombly], two females aged under-05 years [Sophia Twombly and Rebecca Twombly], and one male aged 80-89 years [Samuel Twombly Sr.]. His household appeared in the enumeration between those of John Wentworth and Wentworth Dore.

Son-in-law Israel Nute headed a Milton household at the time of the Fourth (1830) Federal Census. His household included one male aged 20-29 years [himself], one female aged 30-39 years [Hannah (Fish) Nute], one male aged 15-19 years, one male aged 10-14 years [John F. Nute], one male aged 5-9 years [Frederick E. Nute], one female aged 5-9 years [Deborah Nute], one male aged under-5 years [George Nute], and one female aged 60-69 years [Rebecca (Ober) Fish].

Son Jacob Fish headed a Moultonborough, NH, household at the time of the Fourth (1830) Federal Census. His household included one male aged 20-29 years [himself], two females aged 20-29 years [Sarah (Canney) Fish], one male aged 15-19 years, and two females aged under-5 years [Harriet N. Fish]. His household appeared in the enumeration between those of N.V. Shannon and Joseph Hoyt.

Mrs. Rebecca [(Ober)] Fish joined the Congregational Church in Lincoln, ME, at some point between its founding in 1831 and her death in 1849 (Fellows, 1929).

Jacob Fish kept a store and, perhaps later, a hotel, in Lincoln, ME. His nephew, John Fish Nute, worked in the store for seven years from circa 1836. (This would have been just after the death of his father, Israel Nute).

At the age of seventeen years our subject entered the store of his uncle, Jacob Fish, at Lincoln, Maine, where he remained seven years and developed an aptitude for the mercantile business, which induced him to start in trade for himself. This he did in the same village and soon had built up a large and paying business. He continued this store for twenty-one years (Lewis, 1900).

Son-in-law Israel Nute died in Lincoln, ME, February 15, 1836, aged sixty-three years, nine months, and one day.

Israel Nute learned the trade of carpenter and followed that business for many years in Great Falls, when failing health obliged him to seek other employment, and he chose agricultural pursuits as being at once healthful and remunerative. He was elected to the office of justice of the peace, a position he held for many years, discharging the duties of the office in a manner which elicited the commendation of all. The maiden name of his wife was Hannah Fish. She was a daughter of John Fish and came from the state of Vermont. Six children were the fruits of this union, three whom are living, namely: J.F., our subject; Frederick E., a resident of Maine, and George H., of Easton, Pennsylvania. The family were reared in conformity to the teachings of the Congregational church, of which Israel Nute was a consistent member; and his death, which occurred in 1836, was sincerely regretted by a large circle of friends (Lewis, 1900).

WANTED. A FEW good Men to work on the Aroostook road, to whom fair wages will be paid. For particulars call on the subscriber at Lincoln or the Land Office, Bangor. IRA FISH. june27. lwd&w (Bangor Daily Whig & Courier, June 29, 1837).

STATE OF MAINE. Land Office, Bangor, April 30, 1S38. } The twelfth section of “an act additional to promote the sale and settlement of the public lands,” passed March 24, A.D. 1835, making it the duty of the Land Agent “to advertise the settling lands in market, once a year, for two months, in one paper in the city of Boston, one in Concord, N.H., and in one paper in each county in the State, describing the quality and situation of said land and the terms of sale,” the Land Agent hereby gives public notice that Township number 4, in the fifth range of Townships west from the cast line of the State, has been lotted for settlers, and is now in the market for sale and settlement under the provisions of the following law passed at the last session of the Legislature. The price will be from fifty to seventy-five cents per acre, according to the quality and situation of the lots. The lots average 160 acres each. The soil in this township is good, being remarkably free from stones, and the land lying in moderate swells. The location of this township is favorable for settlement, as the Aroostook road passes within one mile of the western line of the township. There are between 40 and 50 settlers in the adjoining township No. 4 in the 6th Range, and a good saw mill and grist mill have recently been built there by Ira Fish, Esq., only one mile distant from this township (New England Farmer (Boston, MA), August 15, 1838).

Son Ira Fish headed a Lincoln, ME, household at the time of the Fifth (1840) Federal Census. His household included one male aged 50-59 years [Ira Fish], one female aged 50-59 years [Abra Fish], one male aged 20-29 years [Ezra O. Fish], two males aged 15-19 years [Ira D. Fish], one male aged 5-9 years [Charles Fish], and one female aged under-5 years [Louisa Fish]. His household appeared in the enumeration between those of Daniel Emery and Israel Hall.

Son-in-law Samuel Twombly headed a Milton household at the time of the Fifth (1840) Federal Census. His household included one male aged 60-69 years [himself], one female aged 40-49 years [Sophia (Fish) Twombly], one male aged 15-19 years [Ira F. Twombly], two females aged 10-14 years [Sophia Twombly and Rebecca Twombly], one male aged under-5 years [Samuel Twombly], and one male aged 90-99 years [Samuel Twombly Sr.]. Two members of his household were engaged in Agriculture. His household appeared in the enumeration between those of Joshua Hanson and Dudley Wentworth.

Daughter Hannah [(Fish)] Nute headed a Lincoln, ME, household at the time of the Fifth (1840) Federal Census. Her household included one female aged 40-49 years [herself], two males aged 20-29 years [John F. Nute and Frederick E. Nute], one female aged 15-19 years [Deborah Nute], one male aged 10-14 years [George Nute], one female aged 5-9 years [Hannah A. Nute], and one male aged 5-9 years [Charles W. Nute]. Her household appeared in the enumeration between those of Chas. H. Dunklee and James Huntress.

Son Jacob Fish headed a Lincoln, ME, household at the time of the Fifth (1840) Federal Census. His household included two males aged 30-39 years [himself and another], one female aged 30-39 years [Sarah (Canney) Fish], three males aged 20-29 years, three females aged 15-19 years, two females aged 10-14 years [Harriet N. Fish], one male aged 5-9 years [John A. Fish], and one female aged under-5 years [Frances R. Fish]. His household appeared in the enumeration between those of Winthrop Frost and Timothy Fuller.

IN THE HOUSE. Petitions presented and referred – Jacob Fish and 242 als. for a new County to be taken from the north part of Penobscot and to be called Mattanawcook (Bangor Daily Whig & Courier, January 27, 1840).

LOST, ON the 14th instant, at Oldtown, by the subscriber, a calf skin pocket book, containing $21 in bills, one of $10 on the Bank of Bangor, one of $5, on the same, six ones, banks not recollected. Also, a note of hand, against W.H. Smith for $50, dated July, 1839, payable to the subscriber at Oldtown. One note against William Smith for $130, $60 endorsed on same given in July, 1836. Also, one signed by Ira Fish for $7 as Agent of Maine and Massachusetts, and one against I. & J. Wadleigh for $50 $25 being endorsed on same, and some other small notes. Whoever will return the same to the subscriber at Oldtown, shall be handsomely rewarded, and all persons are cautioned not to purchase either of the above notes, as their payment has been stopped. JAMES WALCH. Sept. 17, 1840 (Bangor Daily Whig & Courier, September 18, 1840).

Washington Philbrook, and Isaac C. McColister were arrested at Lincoln and examined on Monday last before Justice Jacob Fish for passing counterfeit bills on the Eastern Bank of this city. They were ordered to recognize in the sum of $1000 each to appear at the Supreme Court to be holden in this city in June next, and for want of security they were yesterday brought to this city and committed to Jail. After arriving here one of them tried the virtue of his legs in an attempt to get away from, the officer but was soon secured (Bangor Daily Whig & Courier, May 4, 1842).

Timothy Fuller and Jacob Fish were advertised as the local Lincoln, ME, agents, i.e., shopkeepers, selling Wright’s Indian Vegetable Pills – 25¢ per box – in September 1842 (Bangor Daily Whig & Courier, October 6, 1842).

Daughter Mrs. Hannah [(Fish)] Nute married (2nd) in Lincoln, ME, April 28, 1844, Dr. Daniel Forbes. He was born in Bangor, ME, August 15, 1802, son of William and Lucy (Griffin) Forbes. (His first wife, Olivia, had died in Lincoln, ME, April 15, 1842, aged thirty-two years).

Mrs. Rebecca (Ober) Fish died of old age in Lincoln, ME, December 21, 1849, aged eighty-three years, two months, and nine days.

Son Ira Fish, a lumberman, aged sixty years (b. VT), headed a Patten, ME, household at the time of the Seventh (1850) Federal Census. His household included Abra Fish, aged fifty-five years (b. NH), and Charles Fish, a student, aged seventeen years (b. ME).

Son-in-law Samuel Twombly, a farmer, aged seventy years (b. NH), headed a Milton household at the time of the Seventh (1850) Federal Census. His household included Sophia [(Fish)] Twombly, aged fifty-eight years (b. VT), and Samuel Twombly, aged thirteen years (b. NH). Samuel Twombly had real estate valued at $3,500. His household appeared in the enumeration between those of Mark H. Hart, a farmer, aged forty-three years (b. NH), and Dudley Wentworth, a farmer, aged fifty-five years (b. NH).

Son-in-law Daniel Forbes, a physician, aged forty-six years (b. ME), headed a Lincoln, ME, household at the time of the Seventh (1850) Federal Census. His household included Hannah [((Fish) Nute)] Forbes, aged fifty-three years (b. NH), George H. Nute, aged twenty years (b. NH), Amanda Nute, aged eighteen years (b. NH), and Charles W. Nute, aged fifteen years (b. NH). Daniel Forbes had real estate valued at $400. His household appeared in the enumeration between those of [her son-in-law,] Asa K. Bither, a merchant, aged thirty-one years (b. ME), and David S. Plumley, a merchant, aged thirty-six years (b. PA).

Daughter-in-law Sally [(Canney)] Fish, aged forty-three years (b. NH), headed a Lincoln, ME, household at the time of the Seventh (1850) Federal Census. Her household included Edmund Dorr, a clerk, aged thirty-six years (b. NH), Harriet M. [(Fish)] Dorr (b. NH), aged twenty-one years, John A. Fish, aged eighteen years (b. NH), Frances R. Fish, aged thirteen years (b. ME), Sophia Fish, aged nine years (b. ME), Oscar Fish, aged seven years (b. ME), Mary E. Fish, aged four years (b. ME), E.B. Pike, a physician, aged forty-three years (b. ME), Albert Pearson, aged thirty years (b. ME), Thomas Lewis, a joiner, aged forty-five years (b. NH), Benjamin Gaston, a laborer, aged twenty-eight years (b. England), John Tobin, a laborer, aged twenty-five years (b. Ireland), Stephen Davis, a laborer, aged twenty-six years (b. ME), Charles Giddens, a laborer, aged twenty-five years (b. England), Charles Knowls, a cabinetmaker, aged twenty-seven years (b. England), Reuben Damon, a laborer, aged twenty-four years (b. ME), Eliza Coffey, aged fifty years (b. Ireland), Susan Mills, aged eighteen years (b. ME), and A. Hamilton, a carriagemaker, aged forty-five years (b. NY). A marginal notation indicates that her residence was a “Hotel.” Meanwhile, her husband, Jacob Fish, a waiter, aged forty [forty-five] years (b. NH), appeared on the staff of another hotel in Lincoln, ME, one run by Samuel B. Jameson, an innholder, aged twenty-six years (b. ME).

Son Jacob Fish died of erysipelas in Lincoln, ME, March 1, 1850, aged forty-five years. He had been employed as a merchant and in a hotel.

Son Ira Fish, a farmer, aged seventy years (b. VT), headed a Patten, ME, household at the time of the Eighth (1860) Federal Census. His household included Abra Fish, aged sixty-five years (b. NH), Maxey Ordway, aged twenty-two years (b. ME), and Geo Voyer, aged sixteen years (b. Canada). Ira Fish had real estate valued at $4,000 and personal estate valued at $300. Maxey Ordway had real estate valued at $300 and personal estate valued at $300.

Son-in-law Samuel Twombly, a farmer, aged eighty years (b. NH), headed a Milton household at the time of the Eighth (1860) Federal Census. His household included Sophia [(Fish)] Twombly, aged sixty-eight years (b. NH [SIC]). Samuel Twombly had real estate valued at $10,000 and personal estate valued at $5,000. His household appeared in the enumeration between those of Henry D. Witham, a farmer, aged thirty-eight years (b. NH), and Benjamin F. Hayes, a farmer, aged forty-three years (b. NH).

Daughter-in-law Sally A. [(Canney)] Fish, keeps hotel, aged fifty-one years (b. NH), headed a Lincoln, ME, household at the time of the Eighth (1860) Federal Census. Her household included John A. Fish, aged twenty-six years (b. ME), Frances B. Fish, a teacher of music, aged twenty years (b. ME), Sophia Fish, a common school teacher, aged seventeen years (b. ME), Oscar R. Fish, aged fifteen years (b. ME), and Mary E. Fish, aged fourteen years (b. ME).

Son Ira Fish of Patten, ME, lent his name to a patent medicine for “catarrh” symptoms in February 1862.

The following letter from the Hon. Ira Fish, aged 80 [72], of Penobscot Co., Me., speaks for itself: DR. LIGHTHILL, 8 BOLSTON PLACE, BOSTON. Dear Sir – For several years I have been afflicted with catarrh. I have tried many prescriptions for it without receiving any benefit therefrom. I have taken your medicine about two months, and it has cured me. I would recommend to those afflicted with the disease, that they apply to you. I am confident that if they will strictly follow your directions a cure will be effected, however inveterate the case may be. IRA FISH. Patten, Feb. 24, 1802. lw (New England Farmer (Boston, MA), March 22, 1862).

Daughter-in-law Sarah (Canney) Fish died in Lincoln, ME, June 30, 1865, aged fifty-nine years, one month, and three days.

Son-in-law Daniel Forbes is said to have died in Florida, in September 1865, aged sixty-three years.

He was Assistant Surgeon in the army during the latter part of the Civil War, and died while in charge of a hospital in Florida, in September 1865 (Fellows, 1929).

(A David Forbes died of anthrax in a Florida military hospital, September 29, 1865, but he was listed as a cavalry private, rather than an assistant surgeon, and aged twenty-five years, rather than sixty-three years).

A Hannah Forbes filed for a Civil War widow’s pension, November 7, 1866, for the service of her husband, Daniel Forbes, in Co. E. of the 2nd ME Cavalry Regiment.

Son-in-law Samuel Twombly died of consumption in Milton, November 26, 1868, aged eighty-eight years, eight months.

Son Ira Fish, a farmer, aged eighty years (b. Townshend, VT), headed a Patten, ME, household at the time of the Ninth (1870) Federal Census. His household included his wife, Abra [(Hayes)] Fish, keeping house, aged seventy-five years (b. Milton, NH), and Sarah Hayes, a domestic, aged fifty years (b. Lincoln, ME). Ira Fish had real estate valued at $900 and personal estate valued at $200. Abra Fish had real estate valued at $1,000.

Benjamin F. Hayes, a farm laborer, aged fifty-three years (b. NH), headed a Milton household at the time of the Ninth (1870) Federal Census. His household included Sophia [(Twombly)] Hayes, keeping house, aged forty-three years (b. NH). They shared a two-family dwelling with the household of [her mother,] Sophia Twombly, keeping house, aged seventy-eight years (b. VT). Benjamin F. Hayes had real estate valued at $1,000 and personal estate valued at $757. Sophia Twombly had real estate valued at $1,000 and personal estate valued at $1,000.

Son Ira Fish died in Patten, ME, May 24, 1872, aged eighty-two years.

Death of an Aged Citizen. Hon. Ira Fish of Patten died a few days since at the advanced age of 82 years. In 1824 Mr. Fish moved from New Hampshire to Lincoln, where he remained about twenty years, when he moved to Patten, which has since been his home. He was one of the most prominent and influential business men in that section of the county, had been several times elected to both branches of the Legislature, and frequently held other offices of public trust. He was respected by his neighbors, friends and acquaintances for his many excellent traits of character, as was especially testified by the immense throng which gathered to pay the last tribute of respect to their departed friend (Bangor Whig & Courier, May 31, 1872).

Daughter Sophia (Fish) Twombly died of old age in Milton, March 30, 1874, aged eighty-one years, eleven months. (She was said to have been born in Vermont State).

Daughter Hannah [(Fish)] Nute [Forbes] died of stomach paralysis in Ionia, MI, September 26, 1874, aged seventy-eight years.

Daughter-in-law Abra (Hayes) Fish died in Patten, ME, February 1, 1879.


References:

Bailey, Mary M.E. (1950). History of Trans Alpine: The Southernmost Part of the Town of Lincoln, Maine, Beyond the Alps. Madison, WI: University of Wisconsin

Fellows, Dana W. (1929). History of the Town of Lincoln, Penobscot County, Maine, 1822-1928. Retrieved from core.ac.uk/download/pdf/230407597.pdf

Find a Grave. (2011, December 29). Ebenezer Clifford. Retrieved from www.findagrave.com/memorial/82641972/ebenezer-clifford

Find a Grave. (2012, July 28). Ira Fish. Retrieved from www.findagrave.com/memorial/94349593/ira-fish

Find a Grave. (2013, January 26). Jacob Fish. Retrieved from https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/104179113/jacob-fish

Find a Grave. (2013, March 1). Rebecca Fish. Retrieved from www.findagrave.com/memorial/106015877/rebecca-fish

Find a Grave. (2011, May 25). Hannah Nute. Retrieved from www.findagrave.com/memorial/70350923/hannah-nute

Find a Grave. (2013, November 30). Capt. Richard Tripe. Retrieved from www.findagrave.com/memorial/120996046/richard-tripe

Find a Grave. (2012, October 7). Sophia Fish Twombly. Retrieved from www.findagrave.com/memorial/98444616/sophia-twombly

Gale, Leonard D. (1834). Elements of Natural Philosophy. Retrieved from books.google.com/books?id=8yVbAAAAcAAJ&pg=PA92

Garvin, James L. (1975). Ebenezer Clifford, Architect and Inventor. Retrieved from hne-rs.s3.amazonaws.com/filestore/1/2/8/5/1_b674977800b7e29/12851_7bb45b27bc6a913.pdf

Lewis Publishing Co. (1900). Biographical, Genealogical and Descriptive History of the First Congressional District of New Jersey. Retrieved from books.google.com/books?id=btUwAQAAMAAJ&pg=PA232

McDuffee, Franklin. (1892). History of the Town of Rochester, New Hampshire, from 1722 to 1890. Retrieved from books.google.com/books?id=RY0-AAAAYAAJ&pg=PA155

Mitchell, H.E. (1905). Lincoln and Enfield Register. Retrieved from books.google.com/books?id=q7UTAAAAYAAJ&pg=PA12

NH General Court. (1808). Journal of the House of Representatives of the State of New-Hampshire. Retrieved from books.google.com/books?id=mSZGAAAAcAAJ&pg=PA325

Phelps, James H. (1877). Collections Relating to the History and Inhabitants of the Town of Townsehend, Vermont. Retrieved from www.ancestraltrackers.net/vt/counties/windham/collections-relating-history-and-inhabitants-town-townshend.pdf

Preble, George H. (1892). History of the United States Navy-Yard, Portsmouth, N.H. Retrieved from books.google.com/books?id=f5E5KhEzfIgC&pg=PA77

Welles Brothers. (1912). Standard Reference Work, for the Home, School and Library. Retrieved from books.google.com/books?id=LSRMAQAAMAAJ&pg=PP101

Wikipedia. (2022, May 13). Cave of Antiparos. Retrieved from en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antiparos#The_cave_of_Antiparos

Wikipedia. (2021, September 20). Fulling. Retrieved from en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fulling

Wikipedia. (2022, April 10). Mendon, Massachusetts. Retrieved from en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mendon,_Massachusetts

Wikipedia. (2022, May 19). Penobscot Expedition. Retrieved from en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Penobscot_Expedition

Wikipedia. (2022, April 21). Townshend, Vermont. Retrieved from en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Townshend,_Vermont

Author: Muriel Bristol

"Lady drinking tea"

One thought on “Milton Fuller & Trader John Fish (1766-c1819)”

  1. Just visited Twombley Cemetery off Mason Road last night and have been researching the Fish family this am so I found this article most timely! I have linked 5 of the Fish children to their mother Rebecca Ober in Findagrave but have not yet found where John Fish was buried. Todays article will likely help me locate daughter Deborah S Fish and I have yet to find the graves of Hannah and Israel Nute, but their son Frederic Electus is with other family in West Broadway Cem in Lincoln ME. It was fun to learn more about their lifetime endeavors and the reasons some family moved from VT to NH to ME. I so appreciate the time you put into your research and the interest you have in local history. I learn much with each article. Katherine

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