Biographical Sketches of Leading Citizens
Lawrence County Pennsylvania 1897
[p. 308] an enterprising young grocer of New Castle, Pa., was born in West New Castle, Pa., Oct. 10, 1871, and is a son of Lewis A. and Mellissa (Morrow) Fisher, both natives of Lawrence Co., Pa. He comes from a family that has been identified with the growth of Western Pennsylvania for a century and a half, and whose patriotism and loyalty to the Government has never been questioned in the slightest particular.
Thomas Fisher, the great-grandfather of our subject, was a farmer and a tavern-keeper of Laurel Hill, Westmoreland Co., Pa., and in that early day occupied a very high place, indeed, in the estimation of the few settlers of that neighborhood. To him and his good wife were born two children: Thomas, the grandfather of J. Johnston, and Polly, who married Andrew Lewis of Westmoreland Co., Pa., and bore him five children, as follows: Thomas, Joseph, Ellen, Mary, and Elvira. They were Presbyterians in their religious belief, and in his politics Mr. Fisher was a Whig.
Thomas Fisher, Jr., only son of Thomas, was educated in the common schools of his native town, and after securing what schooling that he could he clerked for a time in his father's inn. At that time the War of 1812 was being waged, and recruits were being called for, so young Fisher enlisted for the service, and under Capt. John Hill of Westmoreland County, went to Baltimore, Md., which was then the headquarters for the troops. From Baltimore the company was sent with many more to the front, the destination being Erie, Pa.; while en route, they camped on what is known as Grant's Hill, a short distance from Pittsburg, where they rested three days. At that time, neither in Pittsburg nor in Allegheny were there any railroads, public works, coal industries of any kind, nor were there any buildings of any size or significance in either city. The country was almost in its original state of nature, with the exception of where now and then the monotony of forest and open plain, mountain and valley was broken by a little clearing, in the midst of which stood a log hut, where some pioneer settler had started in to clear and improve the land. Mr. Fisher remained in the service until the close of the war, and after the Act of 1876 was passed by Congress, the mother of our subject drew a pension for his services to the Government. After he returned from the camp and battle-field of war to assume a place among the peaceful citizens of the land, he purchased a six-horse team and freighted merchandise from Philadelphia to Pittsburg over the mountains; the latter place was still known by its old English name of Fort Pitt. Later on in company with several others he engaged in the manufacture of saltóthe process was a simple one and much in use to-day, it was that of pumping the brine from a salt-well and evaporating the water till the dry salt had been obtained; the salt sold for $1 a bushel and the business paid them handsome profits for three or four years. He then moved four miles to a point on the Monongahela River, where he engaged in mining coal, and remained there until the fall of 1836. He then moved to Hickory township, this county, and bought an unimproved tract of land in the wilderness and thereafter was engaged in clearing the land and tilling the soil. He was a very industrious man even when compared to those hardy pioneers who first opened up Western Pennsylvania, and was considered for very good reasons to be quite prosperous. He was born Nov. 10, 1791, and died Feb. 14, 1871, and was therefore in his eightieth year when he was taken to his home on high. In his political belief he was a stanch Republican, but was not a kind of man who aspired to office. He married Sarah Johnston, a daughter of a prominent lawyer of Beaver Falls, Pa., and to them were born eight children, as follows: Thomas G., who married Mary Burns, and had five childrenóBurns, George, Willis, Amy, and Sarah; Caroline, deceased; Mary Ann married William Pattan, and they had two childrenóThomas, and Sarah; McGiffin married Lily A. Lindsay, and they were given four childrenóAmelda J., Johnston L., Lillie J., and Sarah E.; Sarah married John Crowl, and their union resulted in four childrenóWilliam, Alice, Nannie, and Mary; and Lewis A., the father of our subject. They favored the Presbyterian Church in religious matters of creed and faith. Our subject's grandmother died in 1892, aged ninety-two years.
Lewis A. Fisher, upon reaching the years of young manhood, the Civil War then being in progress, enlisted in the United States service in the 100th Reg. Pa. Vol. Inf., and served about four years under the Stars and Stripes. When he returned from the army, he learned the carpenter's trade and worked sixteen years in the Crawford Planing Mill, and since leaving the Crawford Mill has been engaged very successfully in contracting. He married Mellissa Morrow, daughter of David Morrow, and she bore him four children who were named: J. Johnston; Leander C.; Kathryne K.; and Harry S. They are Methodists in their church preferences.
J. Johnston Fisher was educated in the public schools of New Castle, and for several years following the completion of his education he was employed as a clerk in various grocery stores of the city. On April 10, 1894, he purchased the stock of groceries and business of J. Will Mitchell which had been cerried [sic] on at the stand now occupied by Mr. Fisher. Our subject handles a choice line of staple and fancy groceries for family consumption and has established an enviable trade among the best families of the town, and extending all over the city. He is uniformly successful, and may be considered as one of New Castle's most enterprising young men. As the son of one who wore the blue, he is proud of his father's record, and takes much interest in the local Camp of the Sons of Veterans, of which he is a leading member. He is a Republican, politically, and a member and attendant of the M. E. Church.
Biographical Sketches of Leading Citizens Lawrence County Pennsylvania
Biographical Publishing Company, Buffalo, N.Y., 1897
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Updated: 24 May 2001