FISH Vermont: Nathan Fish family
last updated 08/25/02008
See also Fish Vermont research
Fish Vermont queries
Nathan Fish family
information received via email....
Vital Records of the town of Waltham, Massachusetts (Marriages) include:
FISH, Nathan of Reading, Vt, and Abigail Pierce, Jan. 27, 1785. [Fisk, and Abigail Peirce, M.R.]
Vital Records of the town of Windsor, Vermont (Births) include:
Nathan, son of Nathan & Abigail, 28 Feb 1786.
Polly, daughter of Nathan & Abigail, 18 Jan 1788.
Abigail, daughter of Nathan & Abigail, 13 Mar 1790.
Additional children (dates based on later records) see below:
Lydia, circa 1794.
Nancy, circa 1796.
Sally, circa 1798.
Vital Records of the town of Reading, Vermont (Marriages) include the following entry:
FISH, Nathan, and HALE, Betsey, 2 March, 1815. He of Woodstock, she of Reading.
Vital Records of the town of Woodstock, Vermont (Births) include the following entries:
Marcia, daughter of Nathan & Betsey, 8 Feb 1816.
Lucia, daughter of Nathan & Betsey, 12 May 1817.
Harriet, daughter of Nathan & Betsey, 16 Mar 1820.
Linus, son of Nathan & Betsey, 28 Jul 1822.
Laura, daughter of Nathan & Betsey, 8 May 1824.
Jasper, son of Nathan & Betsey, 23 Mar 1826.
Isabel, daughter of Nathan & Betsey, 6 Sep 1827.
Excerpt taken from:
BIOGRAPHICAL SOUVENIR OF BUFFALO COUNTY (Nebraska)
JASPER FISH. This much honored and esteemed gentleman is one of the early settlers of Buffalo county,
having settled in the Wood River valley in the spring of 1872. He was born at Woodstock, Vt.,
March 23, 1826, and is the son of Nathan and Betsey (Hale) Fish. The former, a farmer by occupation,
was a native of Vermont, born February 28, 1786; the latter, a native of New Hampshire, was born March 80,
1786. There were seven children in Nathan's family, two boys and five girls, as follows--
Marcia, Lucia, Harriet, Linus (died 1877), Laura, Jasper and Isabel. The father died in 1843,
aged fifty-seven years; the mother in 1868, aged eighty-two years.
The paternal grandparent, Nathan Fish, was a native of Massachusetts, born in the year 1758,
and was a farmer by occupation, and a soldier in the Revolutionary war. The paternal grandmother,
Abigail (Pierce) Fish, also a native of Massachusetts, was born in 1757. The maternal grandparents
were John and Mary (Whitcomb) Hale, both natives of Massachusetts, and born respectively in 1754 and 1753.
Jasper Fish, the subject of this biographical memoir, resided at home on his
father's farm in Vermont, until nineteen years of age, during which time he attended school
in the winter and helped his father on the farm in summer. In the spring of 1845 he went to Lowell,
Mass., and after working there one year, entered Newburg seminary, Vt. He continued his studies there,
and at Springfield, in his native state, working and teaching to pay his expenses, until the spring of 1851,
when he entered the sophomore class in Wesleyan University, Middletown, Conn. He graduated with honors in
the classical course, in 1853, receiving the degree of A. B. After leaving the university he taught in
Virginia and in Massachusetts, and in 1856 came West and taught in Illinois, Iowa and Wisconsin.
May 16, 1864, he responded to his country's call for more troops and enlisted in Company C, Forty-fourth
Iowa volunteer infantry. He served on picket and guard duty in Tennessee under General C. C. Washburn
and was mustered out September 15, 1864. He went East in 1885 and continued teaching until the spring
of 1868, when he located at Syracuse, N. Y., residing there until 1872, during which time he worked
on directories and gazetteers.
He came to Buffalo county, March 21, 1872, and entered a homestead, a quarter-section in the Wood
river valley, four miles north of Kearney, and built an eight by twelve board shanty on his claim, in
which he kept bachelor's hall. This was the third house built in the township, and the first one north
of the Wood river. The Pawnee Indians were quite numerous in those days, and were engaged in trapping
and hunting on the Wood river. They paid his cabin an occasional visit, for the purpose of begging flour
and meal, but other than this they never molested him. Deer and antelope were plentiful, and elk were
to be seen occasionally.
Mr. Fish boarded with a family, for a time, on the opposite bank of the river, and relates a rather
humorous experience which occurred during a spring freshet. He arose one morning, and, proceeding in the
direction of his boarding house, found the river had risen during the night beyond the capacity of its banks,
and the bridge gone. He was in a sad plight, as there was no bridge for miles on which he could cross.
His landlord contrived a plan for relief by tying a cord to each handle of a dish-pan and throwing one
end across the stream. In this manner he received his breakfast; milked the cow, which was on his side
of the river, retained enough for his dinner, then started the remainder on the return voyage, in the
dish pan. But, alas! in midstream the vessel swamped, and the milk mingled with the turbid waters. After
this, the liquid refreshments were transported in a jug, tightly corked, while chunks of bread and meat
were thrown to him by his landlord, with all the accuracy of a professional baseball player. In this manner
Mr. Fish received his meals for three days.
During the winter of 1878, Mr. Fish built himself a sixteen by twenty story-and-a-half frame house.
He raised fair crops for the first two years, but in 1874 the grasshoppers destroyed everything, with
the exception of a few bushels of wheat. The crops of 1875 were fair, and 1876 were a repetition of 1874,
and Mr. Fish states that if he had sold his seed and turned his team to pasture, he would have had more
money in the fall. By selling butter and eggs, eating wild game and practicing the most rigid economy,
he was able to keep soul and body together.
In 1882 he sold his quarter-section for $2,500, and bought for $1,000 the quarter just east of it,
where he now resides. One thing can be said of Mr. Fish which can be said of few Western farmers, that
he has never mortgaged a single dollar's worth of real or personal property, and has never paid a dollar
of interest on money at a higher rate than ten per cent.
He is a member of the Methodist church; was one of the first trustees of the church in Kearney, and
in the early days he was prominent in the organization of a Sunday-school in his district school house.
Mr. Fish has never been married. His sister, Lucia Fish, has been his housekeeper since 1873. She is a
native of Vermont, born at Woodstock, May 12, 1817. A consistent member of the Methodist church, with her
brother she helped to organize and conduct the first Sunday school in their vicinity.
Mr. Fish is a firm believer in the principles of the republicans, having voted that ticket ever since
the organization of the party.
In the 1790 Census for Windsor Township, Vermont, the entry does in fact read Nathan Fisk but
only an alphabetic COPY of the original census exists. It's entirely possible the name had simply been
transcribed incorrectly from the original.
In the 1800 Census for Windsor Township, Vermont, the name was CLEARLY written Nathan Fish and in
this case the photocopy was of the original census document. The 1800 Vermont Census INDEX lists
the name as Fisk.
In the 1810 Census for Windsor Township, Vermont, Abigail Fish was listed as a head of household thus
her husband must have deceased prior to 1810.
Probate records dated 23 Jun 1816: "We Levi Whitney, Lydia Fish, Nancy Fish and Sally Fish, all
of Woodstock in County of Windsor and State of Vermont, heirs to the Estate of Dower of Abigail Fish
of Woodstock County of Windsor and State aforesaid do in consideration of the sum of twenty-five dollars
to be paid to each of us by Nathan Fish, son and heir of said Abigail Fish, relinquish all claim to said
Daughter Abigail Fish had apparently deceased prior to 1816.
Daughters Lydia and Sally Fish never married were listed in the 1860 Census in Pittsfield, Vermont.
Daughter Nancy Fish married John Woodbury, 24 Mar 1847, in Pittsfield, Vermont. No children.
Windsor County probate records include an estate filed for Levi Whitney. At his death, 20 December
1849, he left widow Betsey Whitney and minor daughter Frances, under the age of fourteen years. A provision
was made for a tombstone to be placed on the grave of his first wife, indicating that Betsey had been his
second spouse. The full list of heirs given as following: Hepsibah Whitney of Hartland; Pluma Curtis,
wife of Joel Curtis of Woodstock; Amos Whitney of Woodstock; Mary Caswell, wife of Ralph Caswell of
Springfield, Massachusetts; Edwin Whitney and Frances Whitney, both of Woodstock; and Adelaide Whitney
of Bridgewater. (Daughter of his deceased son, Nathan Whitney.)
From "Bridgewater, Vermont 1779-1976" Gladys S. Adams, 1976; gravestone transcriptions, Old Mount
Pleasant Cemetery in Bridgewater:
Levi Whitney, died Dec. 20, 1849, age (illegible)
Polly, wife of Levi Whitney, died Aug. 7, 1831, age 42 years. (Her age off by one year from the Jan.
1788 birthdate of Polly Fish, daughter of Nathan & Abigail Fish, recorded in Windsor, Vermont.)
The grave record does (at least) show that the first wife of Levi Whitney was named Polly.
No birth records exist for children of Levi Whitney and Polly.
Vital Records of the town of Bridgewater, Vermont (Marriages) include the following entry:
CURTIS, Joel & Pluma F. Whitney, 14 April 1833.
It's now fairly obvious that the Levi Whitney of Woodstock, Vermont had been the son of Levi & Hepsibah
(Fay) Whitney, born 28 Sep 1784 in Rindge, New Hampshire. His father Levi had died at Marlborough,
New Hampshire in 1786 and the widow Hepsibah married (2nd) Samuel Hale, intention recorded 24 Oct 1790
in Leominster, Massachusetts, when the younger Levi Whitney was age six. John Hale, a brother of this
Samuel, married Mary Whitcomb and their daughter Betsey Hale then married Nathan Fish and was the mother
of Jasper Fish in the biography.
To sum all that up: Levi Whitney Jr married Polly Fish, daughter of Nathan Fish Sr of Windsor,
Vermont and Nathan Fish Jr married Betsey Hale, niece of Levi Whitney's stepfather!
-- compiled and submitted by G. Macmann