U.S.,Senator, U.S.,Secretary of State,Hamilton Fish

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U.S.,Senator, U.S.,Secretary of State,Governor Hamilton Fish

Birthdate: (85)
Birthplace: Manhattan, New York, New York County, New York, United States
Death: September 07, 1893 (85)
Garrison, Philipstown, Putnam County, New York, United States
Place of Burial: Saint Philip's Church Cemetery, Garrison, Putnam County, New York, USA
Immediate Family:

Son of Major Nicholas Fish (Continental Army) and Elizabeth Fish
Husband of Julia Ursin Niemcewiez Fish
Father of Julia Kean Benjamin; Nicholas Fish, II; Hamilton Fish, II, US Congress; Sarah Morris Webster; Stuyvesant Fish, Sr. and 1 other
Brother of Susan Elizabeth Leroy; Margaret Ann Neilson; Elizabeth Stuyvesant Morris and Petrus Stuyvesant Fish

Occupation: Senator, Secretary of State,Governor
Managed by: Seth Wheatley, III
Last Updated:

About U.S.,Senator, U.S.,Secretary of State,Hamilton Fish


Hamilton Fish served as the 16th Governor of New York (1849-50), United States Senator (1851-57) and Secretary of State of the United States (1869-1877)



Fish was born at what is now known as the Stuyvesant–Fish House in Greenwich Village, New York City, to Nicholas Fish and Elizabeth Stuyvesant (a great-great-granddaughter of New Amsterdam's Peter Stuyvesant), and his parents named him after their friend Alexander Hamilton. Nicholas Fish (1758–1833) was a leading Federalist politician and notable figure of the American Revolutionary War. Hamilton Fish married Julia Kean (a descendant of a New Yorker who was a New Jersey governor, William Livingston) in 1836. They would have three sons and five daughters, and multiple notable relatives.

Fish graduated from Columbia College of Columbia University in 1827 and was admitted to the New York bar in 1830, practicing briefly with William Beach Lawrence. He served as commissioner of deeds for the city and county of New York from 1832 through 1833, and was an unsuccessful candidate for New York State Assembly in 1834.

Political career

As a member of the Whig party, Fish was elected to the House of Representatives, defeating Democrat John McKeon and serving in the 28th Congress from New York's 6th District between 1843 and 1845. After losing his bid for re-election, he returned to private practice as a lawyer. He was the Whig candidate for Lieutenant Governor of New York in 1846, but was defeated by Democrat Addison Gardiner who had been endorsed by the Anti-Rent Party. Gardiner was elected in May 1847 a judge of the New York Court of Appeals and vacated the office of lieutenant governor. Fish was then in November 1847 elected to fill the vacancy, and was Lieutenant Governor in 1848.

In November 1848, he was elected Governor of New York, defeating John A. Dix and Reuben H. Walworth, and served from January 1, 1849, to December 31, 1850.

On March 19, 1851, Fish was elected a U.S. Senator from New York, and he took his seat on December 1. In the United States Senate, he was a member of the U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations until the end of his term on March 4, 1857. He was a Republican for the latter part of his term and was part of a moderately anti-slavery faction. He opposed the repeal of the Missouri Compromise. At the expiration of his term, he traveled with his family to Europe and remained there until shortly before the opening of the American Civil War, when he returned to begin actively campaigning for the election of Abraham Lincoln.

In 1861 and 1862 he was associated with John A. Dix, William M. Evarts, William E. Dodge, A.T. Stewart, John Jacob Astor and other New York men on the Union Defence Committee, which (from April 22, 1861, to April 30, 1862) co-operated with the New York City government in the raising and equipping troops, and disbursed more than $1 million for the relief of New York volunteers and their families.

He was also appointed in 1862 to serve with Edward Raymond Ames to visit the Union Army prisoners being held in the Confederate States of America capital in Richmond, Virginia. The Confederate government, however, refused to allow the commission to enter the city.

Secretary of State

Hamilton Fish in his elder years.He also served as Secretary of State between March 17, 1869 and March 12, 1877 under Ulysses S. Grant. He was Grant's longest-serving Cabinet officer.

He conducted the negotiations with Great Britain which resulted in the Treaty of Washington of 1871, under which the Alabama claims and the San Juan Boundary Dispute (concerning the Oregon boundary line) were referred to arbitration. He also negotiated the reciprocity treaty of 1875 with the Kingdom of Hawaii.

In 1871 Fish presided at the peace conference at Washington between Spain and the allied republics of Peru, Chile, Ecuador and Bolivia, which resulted in a general truce between those countries.

It was chiefly due to his restraint and moderation that a satisfactory settlement of the Virginius Affair was reached by the United States and Spain in 1873.

Within the Department of State, he promoted testing job applicants to see if they were truly qualified for duty at a consulate.

Later life

After leaving the Cabinet, he returned to the law and managing his real estate in New York City.

He died at Glen Clyffe, his estate near Garrison, New York, in Putnam County, New York, in the Hudson River Valley, and is buried in Garrison at St. Philip's Church-in-the-Highlands Cemetery.


The Newburgh-Beacon Bridge on I-84 across the Hudson river is named after him.

The Hamilton Fish Park Pool on the corners of Pitt St. and E. Houston St. in New York City is named after him.

Other involvements

Vice-president general of the Society of the Cincinnati from 1848 to 1854, president general from 1854 until his death

Appointed by U.S. President Abraham Lincoln as one of the board of commissioners for the relief and exchange of Union prisoners of war in the South

President of the New York Historical Society from 1867 to 1869 Served as a trustee of Columbia University for 53 years (1840–1849, 1851–1893), and as chairman of the board of trustees from 1859 until his death in 1893

Served as president of the Union League Club from 1879 to 1881.

Acted as a trustee of both the Lenox Library and the Astor Library, which were later shaped into the New York Public Library

Notable relatives

He had a son, a grandson and a great-grandson (all named Hamilton Fish) serve in the U.S. House of Representatives for New York:

Son Hamilton Fish II (1849–1936) Grandson Hamilton Fish III (1888–1991) Great-grandson Hamilton Fish IV (1926–1996)

His great-great grandson Hamilton Fish V ran for Congress in 1988 and 1994 (to succeed his retiring father) but lost. With other investors, Hamilton Fish V purchased The Nation out of bankruptcy in 1977, and sold it in 1995, but remains connected to the foundation. He is also an adviser to George Soros.

Another son Stuyvesant Fish was an important railroad executive.

Another son, Nicholas Fish II, was a U.S. diplomat, who was appointed second secretary of legation at Berlin in 1871, became secretary in 1874, and was chargé d'affaires at Berne in 1877–1881, and minister to Belgium in 1882–1886, after which he engaged in banking in New York City.

Nicholas's son Hamilton Fish, an 1895 graduate of Columbia College of Columbia University, saw service in The Spanish-American War as one of the storied Rough Riders. He was the first member of that regiment to be killed in action, at the Battle of Las Guasimas, Cuba.

Nephew Stuyvesant Fish Morris, physician from New York.

Grandnephew Hamilton F. Kean, US Senator from New Jersey.

Great-grandnephew Thomas Kean, Governor of New Jersey.

He is not related to infamous child killer Albert Fish. Albert was born Hamilton, being named after him.

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U.S.,Senator, U.S.,Secretary of State,Hamilton Fish's Timeline

August 3, 1808
New York, New York County, New York, United States
February 25, 1838
Age 29
New York, New York, United States
May 2, 1841
Age 32
Albany, Albany County, New York, United States
February 19, 1846
Age 37
New York, New York, New York, United States
April 17, 1849
Age 40
Albany, Albany County, New York, United States
June 24, 1851
Age 42
New York, New York, New York, United States
September 7, 1893
Age 85
Philipstown, Putnam County, New York, United States
Saint Philip's Church Cemetery, Garrison, Putnam County, New York, USA