Miers Fisher, Esq

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About Miers Fisher, Esq

Miers Fisher, a birthright Quaker, was a prominent lawyer, legislator, merchant, philanthropist, and scientist in early Federal Philadelphia. The son of Joshua and Sarah Rowland Fisher, his birth was noted in the records of Philadelphia Monthly Meeting on 4mo 10 1748. Miers married Sarah Redwood, daughter of William and Hannah Redwood, late of Newport, Rhode Island, at High Street Meeting in Philadelphia on 2mo 17 1774. Over the next 27 years, Sarah Redwood Fisher gave birth to sixteen children, nine of whom lived past a year of age.

Miers Fisher attended the Latin School in Philadelphia in 1756 and 1757. Before beginning the study of law with Benjamin Chew Esq., Attorney General of the Province of Pennsylvania, he was employed by Gilpin & Fisher, flour factors, on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. Fisher was admitted to the Philadelphia Bar in 1769.

During the Revolution, Fisher was a member of a group of Quaker merchants who were exiled to Winchester, Virginia. In 1783, Miers temporarily abandoned the practice of law to join the mercantile firm of Thomas, Samuel, and Miers Fisher. In 1789, he was elected as one of the Common Councilmen for the City of Philadelphia and, in 1792, became a member of the House of Representatives of the State of Pennsylvania. During this period, Fisher also served as a Director of the Insurance Company of North America and of the Bank of North America. In 1805, he formally retired from trade and moved to Ury, his country house. In 1818, Miers Fisher moved back to Philadelphia and died at his residence on Arch Street on March 14, 1819 at the age of 72 years. Source

Miers Fisher played an active role in Philadelphia society during the Revolution and the Early Republic. As the son of Joshua Fisher (1707-1783), a prominent Philadelphian and proprietor of Joshua Fisher & Sons, a large mercantile firm begun in the 1750s, Miers was involved in mercantile trade and was also trained as a lawyer. He was admitted to the Philadelphia bar in 1769.

In 1774 Miers Fisher married Sarah Redwood, daughter of William Redwood and Hannah Holmes. The couple had 16 children, only five of whom lived past the age of 30. Their children were all well-educated and traveled a great deal in the United States and abroad.

The Fishers were Quakers, a faith that led them to take a neutral position during the Revolution. Because they refused to swear an oath of allegiance to the new American government, Miers and his brothers and father were arrested and taken to Winchester, Virginia, where they were detained for nearly nine months.

Miers's business did not suffer much as a result of his confinement. He returned to Philadelphia and carried on with his business, which expanded and grew. He was a member of the Pennsylvania Assembly, 1791-1792; the first counselor of the Pennsylvania Abolition Society; a Common Council member, 1789-1791; and a director of the Bank of North America, 1792-1800. He and his wife were known to do a great deal of entertaining at Ury, their Fox Chase estate, and hosted many of the most prominent figures of early America. Miers Fisher died on March 12, 1819.

Miers's brothers, Thomas and Samuel, participated actively in their father's business and were well-established Quaker merchants. Another brother, Jabez, moved from America to England in 1775. Jabez had a number of friends and acquaintances in England and seems to have worked in trade and commerce while there. The children of Miers and Sarah Fisher who lived to adulthood married, in general, into other prominent Philadelphia families. Jabez Maud, the youngest of the Fisher children, also lived the longest; he died in 1876. Historical Society of Pennsylvania

Miers Fisher read Horace and the Greek Testament at school at ten years of age. Before beginning the study of law he was with Gilpin & Fisher, who were the only flour factors on the eastern shore of Maryland, until 1766. The business was principally under his direction. In 1764 and '65 all the wheat from the counties south of Philadelphia came thither to market " fly-eaten," as it was then called.

Experiments were made by him and directions for the de- struction of the fly published and distributed in the neighbor- hood of the Chester River, Md., which proved very effective.

He read law in the office of Benjamin Chew, Esq., then Attorney-General of the Province of Pennsylvania, and was admitted to the Philadelphia bar at the June term, 1769. At the February term, 1769, he had been admitted to the courts of Xew Castle, Kent, and Sussex counties, Delaware. Duponceau speaks of him as " a profound lawyer and a man of solid sense and much acquired knowledge." He also possessed an unusually inquiring mind.

In 1777 he was one 

of the exiles to Virginia. He was a member of the Assem- bly in 1791-92. He was first counsellor of a society for pro- moting the abolition of slavery, established in Philadelphia in 1793, in the service of which he spent many years. In 1795 he purchased his country-seat, "TJry," on the Pine Road near the village of Fox Chase, which was his perma- nent home for many years. He then retired from the active pursuit of his profession, though he complied with all the existing rules, appeared annually at the courts, and paid the requisite fees, that he might still remain a member of the Philadelphia bar.

He took great interest in the cultivation and improvement of his property, and, with his wife, ex- tended true, old-fashioned hospitality to a large circle ot friends, including many well-known people of the time. In 1815 he moved back to the city for the winters, which he spent at No. 108 Mulberry Street (now Arch), between Fifth and Sixth, until his death there. Additional Information

Children :

  • 107. Thomas Fisher, b. Oct. 21, 1776; d. Aug. 19, 1798.
  • 108. Miers Fisher, b. Mar. 1, 1778; d. Aug. 1, 1778.
  • 109. Esther Fisher, b. Oct. 26, 1779 ; d. July 8, 1780.
  • 110. Jabez Maud Fisher, b. April 4, 1781 ; d. Sept. 24, 1793.
  • 111. Redwood Fisher, b. Aug. 18, 1782 ; d. May 17, 1856 ; m. 1st, Mary Griffitts ; 2d, Rebecca Wain Wells.
  • 112. Sarah Fisher, b. April 24, 1784 ; d. Oct. 2, 1784.
  • 113. Miers Fisher, b. July 3, 1785; d. Nov. 23, 1785.
  • 114. Miers Fisher, Jr., b. Sept. 25, 1786; d. June 6, 1813.
  • 115. Ltdia Fisher, b. Feb. 9, 1788; d. Jan. 5, 1850; m. Benjamin Warner.
  • 116. Samuel Rowland Fisher, b. Sept. 4, 1789; d. Aug. 9, 1812.
  • 117. Sarah Redwood Fisher, b. Feb. 10, 1791 ; d. Mar. 13, 1791.
  • 118. Sarah Redwood Fisher, b. May 14, 1792; d. Nov. 18, 1827; m. Samuel Longstreth.
  • 119. Hannah Fisher, b. July 8, 1793; d. Oct. 4, 1850; m. William Price, M.D.
  • 120. OcTAVius Fisher, b. Oct. 12, 1794; d. Oct. 26, 1794.
  • 121. Rebecca Fisher, b. Nov. 23, 1795; d. Mar. 28, 1796.
  • 122. Jabez Maud Fisher, b. April 30, 1801 ; d. Oct. 9, 1876 ; m. Nancy Andrews.
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Miers Fisher, Esq's Timeline

June 21, 1748
October 21, 1776
Age 28
March 1, 1778
Age 29
October 26, 1779
Age 31
April 4, 1781
Age 32
August 18, 1782
Age 34
April 24, 1784
Age 35
July 3, 1785
Age 37
September 25, 1786
Age 38