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Archives & Manuscripts

Fisher-Warner Family Papers

 Collection
Identifier: SFHL-RG5-042

Scope and Contents

The collection contains Journals (1804-1819), correspondence (1774-1818), and business papers of Miers Fisher (1748-1819), correspondence and business papers of Jabez Maud Fisher (1801-76), correspondence of Benjamin and Lydia Fisher Warner, journals (1814-21) and correspondence of Joseph Warner (ca.1783-1859), and other materials. Of particular interest are the journals of Miers Fisher during the period of his retirement, his correspondence during the late 18th century, and the letters of Jabez Maud Fisher and his family from Colorado during the early 1860's and from Europe in the early 1870's. Correspondents include Miers Fisher Jr., Jabez Maud Fisher, Joshua Fisher, Redwood Fisher, Sarah Redwood Fisher, Redwood Fisher Warner, Benjamin Warner, Sarah Lewis, Thomas Fisher, Miers Fisher Warner, Lydia Warner, John Warner, Morton C. Fisher, Hannah Price, Sarah Longstreth, Robert Andrews Fisher, Lizette Boyd, Nancy Andrews Fisher, Joseph Warner, and Samuel Rowland Fisher.

Dates

  • 1684-1924

Creator

Limitations on Accessing the Collection

Collection is open for research.

Copyright and Rights Information

Copyright has not been assigned to Friends Historical Library All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in to the Director. Permission for publication is given on behalf of Friends Historical Library as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained by reader.

Biographical / Historical

Miers Fisher (1748-1819), a birthright Quaker, was a prominent lawyer, legislator, philanthropist, and scientist in early Federal Philadelphia. Benjamin Warner, publisher and bookseller, married Fisher's daughter, Lydia, in 1814. Born in 1748 in Philadelphia, the son of Joshua and Sarah Rowland Fisher, Miers Fisher married Sarah Redwood in 1774. He was among a group of prominent Quaker merchants who were temporarily exiled to Winchester, Virginia, during the Revolution. After the War, he practiced law and entered into a mercantile partnership with his brothers, Thomas and Samuel. Miers also served for a brief time as a Philadelphia common councilman and a member of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives. He retired to his country estate, Ury, in 1805, and died in 1819. Miers and Sarah had sixteen children, only five of which survived him. Their youngest son, Jabez Maud Fisher, was trained as an Engineer, and worked for a railway company and as a Naval Officer for the port of Providence; he moved to Denver, Colorado, in the early 1860's to be with his sons who had built a ranch.

Extent

8.5 Linear Feet (17 boxes)

Overview

Miers Fisher (1748-1819), a birthright Quaker, was a prominent lawyer, legislator, philanthropist, merchant, and scientist in early Federal Philadelphia. Benjamin Warner, publisher and bookseller, married Fisher's daughter, Lydia, in 1814. Born in 1748 in Philadelphia, the son of Joshua and Sarah Rowland Fisher, Miers Fisher married Sarah Redwood in 1774. He was among a group of prominent Quaker merchants who were temporarily exiled to Winchester, Virginia, during the Revolution. Miers and Sarah had sixteen children, only five of which survived him. Their youngest son, Jabez Maud Fisher, was trained as an Engineer, and worked for a railway company and as a Naval Officer for the port of Providence; he moved to Denver, Colorado, in the early 1860's to be with his sons who had built a ranch. The collection includes journals, correspondence, and financial records of Miers Fisher, his daughter, Lydia Fisher Warner, his son, Jabez Maud Fisher, and their respective families.

Arrangement

The collection is organized in five series.

Series 1 is Biographical and Genealogical material.

Series 2 is Miers Fisher Family material, 1774-1848 (4.2 linear ft.) 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 and 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.

Series 3 is Jabez Maud Fisher Family material, 1830-1890 (1.7 linear ft.) Jabez M. Fisher (1801-1876), the youngest son of Miers Fisher and Sarah Redwood, was perhaps the least fortunate of Miers' children. Although he worked as an Engineer, little is known of his education. In 1817, his father noted in his account book that he paid for Jabez' attendance at Burlington Boarding School. In 1832, he wed Nancy Andrews (1808-1866) and was disowned by Philadelphia Monthly Meeting (Western District) for marrying “out of unity.” Nancy was the daughter of Robert Andrews and Margaret Eliza Nancy (Mason). The Fishers had eight children who survived to adulthood: Robert Andrews, Miers Jr., Morton Coates, Eliza Andrews, Redwood, Jabez Maude Jr., Nancy Andrews, and William Redwood. By 1836, the young family had moved to Wilmington, Delaware, and a year later to Urbana, Ohio, where they remained until Jabez' employer, a railroad company, went out of business in 1842. They subsequently moved to Pottstown and then to Providence, Rhode Island, three years later. In 1861, he was appointed Naval Officer to the port of Providence. A year later, Jabez and Nancy moved to Denver, Colorado Territory, to be with their sons. He had hoped to receive a Federal appointment there, but this was apparently unsuccessful. They had returned to Philadelphia by 1865, and Nancy died in 1866. Following the death of Lizette in childbirth in 1867, the surviving daughter, Nanny, suffered a “severe attack of will,” and had to be institutionalized. In 1869, Jabez M. Fisher traveled to England to be with his son, Morton, who had established a company, “Fisher and Parrish, Street Tramway Contractors.” in London. For the next four years he traveled in England and on the Continent, probably returning to Philadelphia in 1874, where he died at the age of 78 years. The correspondence is particularly strong in two areas, viz. life in the Colorado Territory in the early 1860's, and in Europe during the early 1870's. Letters exchanged between Jabez Maud Fisher and his sons detail much of the early history and culture of the intermountain west, including building, cattle roundups, farming, gold mining, and the politics of the era. Later correspondence between Jabez Maude Fisher and his niece, Sallie Warner Lewis, from 1869-74, provides extraordinary insight into the lives of American expatriates in Europe. Fisher writes in detail about sightseeing, local customs, and current events--from the Crystal Palace to the Franco-Prussian War. Travels include Great Britain, France, Belgium, Germany, Italy, and Switzerland.

Series 4 is Lydia (Fisher) Warner Family material, 1799-1924 (2 linear ft.) Lydia Fisher Warner was the daughter of Miers and Sarah Redwood Fisher. She attended Westtown School from 1799 until at least 1801, and married Benjamin Warner (1786-1821)in 1814, after he joined the Society of Friends “on Request.” Her husband died in Richmond after only seven years of marriage, leaving her with four small children, viz. Miers Fisher Warner, John Warner, Redwood Fisher Warner, and Sarah Warner. Lydia continued as a member in good standing of the Society of Friends (O), obtaining a certificate of removal to Philadelphia Northern District in 1842 and to Southern District in 1846, four years before she died. Joseph Warner served as guardian to his brother's orphaned children. He had become a member by request in 1814 of Philadelphia Monthly Meeting, and transferred to Green Street in 1817. Warner served as Clerk of Green Street Monthly Meeting and of the Committee on Indian Affairs (H). As one of the originators of the Philadelphia Hose Company, Watson's Annals described him as “a character beyond reproach for sterling qualities of mind and heart and the most practical and enlarged benevolence.” Joseph Warner died unmarried on 11mo 1 1859 at the age of 76. Sarah Warner, daughter of Benjamin and Lydia, was disowned for her marriage to Morton Lewis in 1860, and her brother, Redwood Fisher Warner, was disowned for marrying a first cousin in 1849. Miers Fisher Warner died unmarried in 1878. John Warner married “out of unity” (with Friends) Anna Jane Lewis in 1868; their only child was Lydia Fisher Warner who assembled this collection. Lydia lived in Philadelphia for most of her life and died unmarried in the 1940's.

Series 5 is Miscellaneous material, 1684-1919 (.5 linear ft.)

Physical Location

For current information on the location of materials, please consult the Library's online catalog.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

  • 1948 Gift of John H. Wood, Sr.
  • 1990, 1994 Franklin C. and Kitty Wood

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The collection was assembled by Lydia Fisher Warner. John H. Wood was executor of the family estate in the 1940s.

Processing Information

1948 donation to Friends Historical Library of Miers Fisher journals from same source were reunited with this collection in 1990. Placed in Record Group 5.

Creator

Title
An Inventory of the Fisher-Warner Family Papers, 1684-1924
Author
POD
Date
1992
Language of description
Undetermined
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note
English
Sponsor
Encoding made possible by a grant by the Gladys Kriebel Delmas Foundation to the Philadelphia Consortium of Special Collections Libraries

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