Samuel Fisher & Effie Van Tassell

From "Descendants & Ancestors of Cephas Fisher Jr."

Samuel Fisher, the last of our line to belong to a Quaker family, was born January 30, 1857, near Frankfort, Clinton County, Indiana, the youngest son of Cephas A. Fisher and Mary Hoskins. Their son Florance said (in 1966) that Samuel had a twin, Jimmie, who died in childhood after falling into an icy stream. The twin does not appear on the 1860 census. Samuel’s family moved from Indiana to Henry County, Iowa, north of Hillsboro and near Salem, in 1868. Samuel married Effie Van Tassell on May 13, 1880 at Mankato, Kansas. Effie Van Tassel was born October 25, 1863, in Tipton, Indiana according to Grace Long Fisher, a daughter-in-law. Effie was the daughter of Royal Park (Rufus) Van Tassell and Nancy Conner. Samuel and Effie lived first in Mt. Pleasant, Iowa, then moved to Jewel Co., Kansas and back to Mt. Pleasant about 1888, then to Woods County and Helena, Oklahoma about 1897. They moved to Arkansas about 1898 and moved back to Helena in 1909. They moved to Beaver County about 1910 and to Haskell, Oklahoma in 1911. Samuel died in Okmulgee and was buried at Haskell. Samuel was a good violinist, according to his daughter, Mary. His Quaker family, however, told him there was a "devil in it" and made him dispose of it. One of his grandaughters, Edith Fisher Green, tells of Samuel's stories of watching his mother spinning yarn, weaving cloth, and sewing jeans for him to wear. Samuel's son, Florance, tells of Samuel travelling by covered wagon throughout his lifetime. In his eighties, Florance told of still remembering the trip by covered wagon from Iowa to Oklahoma.

Samuel Fisher died August 15, 1930, at Okmulgee, Oklahoma. Effie Van Tassell Fisher died June 25, 1912, at Haskell, Oklahoma. Samuel and Effie are buried at Haskell, but not side by side, as there was an error in the purchase of the cemetery lots which resulted in separated graves.

Samuel and Effie had 12 children: Minnie Myrtle, Georgia Lula, Samuel Chaning, Florance Clinton, Rufus Clyde, Royal Park, Lillie Evalette, Mary Elizabeth, Ora Paul, Floyd Oran, Loyd Loren (died in infancy), and Mabel Pearl. The youngest, Mabel Pearl, resides in August 1995 at Wichita, Kansas and is an excellent pianist, playing ragtime and popular music. Pearl and her sister Mary played at barn dances and other functions in their youth. The following family information was sent by Effie Van Tassel Fisher to son Clyde about 1912.

1. Minnie Myrtle, b. July 23, 1881, mar. Sam Billings, d. 28 Aug 1909
2. Georgia Lula, b. 13 Dec 1882, mar. George Rogers, d. 13 Jan 1928
3. Samuel Channing, b. 2 Nov 1884, mar. Ruby Coplen, d. Nov 1939
4. Florance Clinton, b. 8 Aug 1886, mar. Grace Minett Long, d. 9 Jan 1969
5. Rufus Clyde, b. 27 Sep 1888, mar. Anna Maude Lash, d. 22 Oct 1918
6. Royal Park, b. 9 Nov 1890, mar. Ova Devers
7. Lillie Evalette, b. 6 Jan 1893, d. 16 Jul 1967
8. Mary Elizabeth, b. 22 Mar 1895, mar. Everett Holmes, d. 6 Apr 1972
9. Ora Paul, b. 10 Jul 1898, mar. Nora Garret
10. Floyd Oran, b. 24 Feb 1901, mar. Florence Howard
11. Lloyd Louren, b. 24 Feb 1901, d. 15 Apr 1901
12. Mabel Pearl, b. 16 Jul 1907, mar. Ralph Gumm, still living as of Aug 1995.

The Van Tassell ancestry is not known beyond Effie Van Tassell Fisher’s parents. Florance Clinton Fisher Sr. in 1966 recalled his grandfather Van Tassel being named “Royal Parkinson,”
but did not seem certain of the middle name. Daughter Lillie referred to her father as "Rufus" in her statement on the 1930 death certificate. According to one census, Rufus’ father was born in New York and his mother was born in Virginia. According to grandson F. C. Fisher Sr. and wife Grace Long Fisher, Rufus was short and stocky, with dark red, curly hair; had a jolly nature and sang folk songs, often accompanying them with music on the bandsaw; was from Indiana, in the Terre Haute area, and lived at Tipton, Indiana, where their daughter, Effie, was born. They thought that after “Grandpa” Van Tassel died, he went to live with Samuel Fisher and family near Hillsboro and Salem, Iowa until his death about 1892. Mary Fisher Holmes believed he died elsewhere.

1880 Census: Jewell County, Kansas, Holmwood Township, June 16, 1880, Pg. 21, Spvsr's District 3, Enumeration District 122, J. Fellows, Enumerator, House 50, Line 21

Vantassell, Rufus
Age 56, Farmer, Sick or temporarily disabled; b. Ohio; Father b. NY; Mother b. Va.
Lorinda, Wife, age 33; "Keeping House"; b. Indiana, Father b. N. C.; Mother b. (Ohio)
Lillie, dau., 14, attends school, b. Ind.; Nellie, dau., 3, b. Iowa;
Hiram B., son, 1, b. Kansas
Aluus E. Dorman, 11, Stepson, b. Iowa, Father b. Conn

The following is a combination of information from F. C. and Grace Fisher, 1967; the death certificate; and census records. Children:

Park Atkinson(?) Van Tassel - Born July 25, ca. 1853, Indiana, d. Oct. 24, 1930, Oakland Cal., moved to California about 1900, wife Bessie.

Lillie Van Tassel Hart - b. ca 1866. Lived at 9423 "B" Street, Oakland Cal. in 1930.

Effie Van Tassel Fisher - b. about 1863

Lorinda was apparently Rufus’ second wife. A half-sister to Park was remembered as Mrs. Minnie Crew.

All that is presently known about Rufus’ first wife, Nancy Connor, is that she preceded her husband in death by several years (according to grandson F. C. Fisher), and that she was born in Indiana (according to daughter Lillie on Rufus Van Tassel’s death certificate in 1930, also according to the Jewell County, Kansas 1880 census). She must have died between 1869 and 1877 according to births of Rufus' stepchildren and later children.

Effie Van Tassell Fisher’s brother, Park Van Tassell, & wife became renowned in the late 19th century for balloon ascensions in the U. S. and China. His wife accompanied him and pioneered in parachute jumping. (See articles following.) Park Van Tassel is buried at Oakland, California. At the time of his death, he was living on Market Street, operating the "Captain P. A. Van Tassel Toy Balloon Mfg. Co.," a maker of miniature balloon ascension toys.

Los Angeles Sunday Times, June 27, 1886, Page 1, Column 3:


"The enormous balloon Monitor continues to draw big crowds. Prof. Van Tassel's wife went up in the first ascent yesterday. Ascents have hardly become popular yet, but probably will, as people become accustomed to the idea. The amusement is a most novel one, and probably no more dangerous than baseball. The morning is the best time to go up, as the air is stiller. About 5 o'clock yesterday afternoon, there being a stiff breeze, the aerial monster had quite a rustle to light properly. She came down first in Morgan Lane, then on ex-Mayor Thom's house, then in his backyard, then on the house No. 240 South Main - there demolishing a chimney and a summer kitchen - then on the vacant lot outside the enclosure, and at last back to its proper nest. The experience of an ascent and the view gained are well worth taking." From the Okmulgee, Oklahoma Daily Times: "Mrs. Parks Van Tassel is believed to be the first person to make a parachute jump, having made a successful landing after leaping from a balloon over Los Angeles on July 4, 1882."