Chapter II. Thomas Fisher’s Origins in England and Ireland
Thomas Fisher of Chester County, Pennsylvania is first mentioned in a land warrant dated March 6, 1701, signed by William Penn, granting a survey of 300 acres to Thomas Robinson and Thomas Fisher “near the Brandywine.” Subsequent records show that the tract was surveyed at 200 acres, lying in the eastern part of Kennett Township in Chester County which is now Pennsbury Township. The earliest tax record available shows that both Thomas Robinson and Thomas Fisher were landowners there in 1715. Thomas Robinson does not appear in the Kennett records thereafter, and his fate is unknown.
In May of 1713, Thomas Fisher married Elizabeth Huntley, daughter of William Huntley, at the Concord Monthly Meeting of the Quakers in Chester County, Pennsylvania. They settled on the Kennett land grant of 1701, and moved their Quaker membership to Kennett (Newark Monthly Meeting) in the spring of 1714. Thomas was the earliest proven ancestor of my own Fisher family.
To trace Thomas Fisher to his origins, I began a search for a locality with a Thomas Robinson and a Thomas Fisher, together at the right time, with some kind of family connection between the Robinsons and Fishers. I found one such place, which I think establishes an English/Irish ancestry for Thomas Fisher of Chester County.
The Fishers of Ireland
The Celtic Gaels brought their culture and language from Europe to Ireland prior to the Christian era, and became the “old Irish” people who were converted by Catholic missionaries in the fifth century. The Fisher surname did not exist in Ireland until English influence developed from the twelfth through sixteenth centuries. James I granted large plantations to the landed gentry of England and Scotland, who displaced many Irish landowners from their lands along the east coast and established an ever-growing “pale” of English control. Arrivals in Dublin by 1600 included Sir Edward Fisher and his brother Richard, and Vincent Fisher, a vintner. They were perhaps the first Fishers in Ireland. In 1611 Sir Edward, an English adventurer, received from the crown a large tract in west Dublin upon which he built a manor house called Phoenix Park. The park is still to be found by that name. He also received large tracts in Wexford and other places. In the cess of 1621, he lived on Fishmonger Street in St. Johns Parish in Dublin, and died there in 1630. By 1634, the records mention William Fisher and his son Thomas, and Hugh Fisher, vicar of St. John’s. St. John’s is on the south side of the River Liffey, near the site of the original Viking settlement of Dubh Lin, or “black pool.” The City of Dublin Fishers had plantations in Kildare, Queens, Cork and other counties, and possibly in southeast Dublin County. It is not clear what connections their descendants may have had to Fisher immigrants to Pennsylvania.
In 1642, when the Catholic population in Ireland rebelled against the
English protestents, Oliver Cromwell did what the Crown had done before
him -- he promised rewards to English “adventurers” who would
serve in putting down the rebellion. The rebellion was stopped, and lands
of most Catholic proprietors were confiscated and awarded to the adventurers,
who rented tracts to a new wave of English settlers. It is this wave of
English/Irish settlers (1642-1690) which included some Fishers who were
among the earliest emigrants from Ireland to Pennsylvania.
Several Fisher families of southeast Dublin County appear in the early Quaker and Church of Ireland (Anglican) records. Joseph Fisher, a Quaker born at Elton in Thornton Le Moores parish in Cheshire, lived at Stillorgan as early as 1673, a few miles southeast of Dublin, and immigrated to Pennsylvania in 1683. The local Anglican church was at Monkstown, little more than a mile northeast of Joseph’s home, near Dublin Bay. Thomas Fisher, an Anglican, lived near the church, in the small fishing village of Dun Leary (Dun Laoghaire). Robert and John Fisher lived about a mile to the southwest, at Leopardstown. Elizabeth Fisher and Thomas Robinson lived less than two miles to the southeast, at Carrickmaines. Another Thomas Fisher lived at Killiney, a fishing village three miles to the southeast on Killiney Bay. All may have come from the small fishing villages along the south bank of the Mersey River in Cheshire, across from Liverpool and a little upstream.
Stillorgan was the estate of William Wolferston, a Catholic, until it was consficated by the English after the rebellion of 1641/2 and the Cromwellian wars. It would then have been settled by the English, and consisted of only 166 acres. It was the site of Stillorgan Castle. Stillorgan was once in northern Kill Parish, but was later separated to become a small parish. In Joseph Fisher’s time, the only residents of Stillorgan were his family, some of his wife’s Newmarch family, and a few others. The small parishes of this area were administered together as the Union of Monkstown by 1669, with a single register being kept at the Monkstown church. Their burials were at the Carrickbrennan graveyard at Monkstown. The ruins of Monkstown Castle and the ancient cemetery are both at the present intersection of Monkstown Avenue and Carrickbrennan Road.
Elizabeth Fisher of Carrickmaine married Thomas Robinson of the same place, on May 4, 1672. The Civil Survey of 1654-56 shows that Carrickmaine had been the estate of Theobald Walsh, an Irish Catholic rebel in 1641/2. The land was settled by the English after the rebellion. Thomas Robinson and Elizabeth Fisher may have had roots in the village of Sutton in Eastham Parish, Cheshire, near Elton in Thornton-Le-Moores parish. Thomas Robinson of Sutton, son of George, was born 1636. Elizabeth (born 1638), Robert (born 1633), and John Fisher (born 1635), children of Robert (Sr.), were all born at Sutton. Elizabeth (Fisher) Robinson died at Carrickmaine in Dublin County in September of 1679, and their newborn son Benjamin died at the same time. Thomas Robinson then disappeared from the Dublin County records. He may be the one who began to appear in the records of Chester County, Pennsylvania by 1688.
The Fishers and Robinsons of Dublin County were probably long-time friends and neighbors back in Cheshire. James Robinson, son of James, was born in 1598 at Elton, and a Thomas Robinson who died there in 1653 would have been a neighbor of the Fishers. More Robinsons appear in the records of the adjoining parishes near Elton, notably Sutton in Eastham parish. The Fishers and Robinsons of Leopardstown and Carrickmaine almost certainly came from Sutton. Benjamin Robinson of Sutton may have been a namesake of Benjamin, son of Elizabeth (Fisher) and Thomas Robinson in Dublin County. Robert, William and George Robinson of Sutton (probable brothers) all named sons Thomas between 1630 and 1636. George is probably the one who went to Ireland. He joined the Quakers of Dublin for a short time, and notified them, in 1681, of his intention of going to America. The congregation produced testimony against him and failed to note any approval. Richard, a probable son, was warned of possible ejection in 1686. Thomas, widower of Elizabeth (Fisher) Robinson, apparently never left the Anglicans. In America, George settled by 1686 with wife Ann and supposed sons Thomas, James, Richard and John, “between Mill Creek and Calf Run” in Newcastle County (now in Delaware), not far from the line with Kennett Township in Chester County. This George Robinson may have been the father of George who emigrated from Ballymacrandal in Armagh in 1687, settling a little further east in Newcastle County on the opposite side of Brandywine Creek. William “Robertson,” who came as a servant to Joseph Fisher in 1683, may have been William Robinson of the Newcastle County Robinsons.
John Robinson of Thomastown, Monkstown parish, was probably one of the Cheshire/Dublin Robinsons who emigrated to Pennsylvania. He had a son James born in 1684 in Thomastown, near the village of Thomas Robinson and Elizabeth Fisher who married in 1672. This John Robinson may have been the same as the one who came with Katharine Robinson to Philadelphia in 1685, aboard the “Bristol Merchant,” both being servants to Thomas Webb, a wealthy Dublin merchant. George Fisher came on the same ship, as a servant to Major Jaspar Farmer of County Cork.
Robert Fisher of Leopardstown, Tully Parish married Alice Worsdell (from the Leicestershire Worsdells?) in May of 1679. (Thomas Fisher of Dun Leary was married a day after Robert.) Alice was from Carrickmaine, the village of Thomas Robinson and his wife Elizabeth (Fisher) Robinson. Robert Fisher must have been a Quaker who returned to the Anglican Church of Ireland. On 7 May, 1685, his four elder children were all baptized together. These children had the same names as members of the nearby Quaker family of Joseph Fisher, who immigrated to Philadelphia (Joseph, Martha, Mary, Isabella).
John Fisher of Leopardstown married Abigail Williamson May 7, 1685, the same day that his brother Robert’s children had their delayed baptisms. Jane, daughter of John Fisher of Leopardstown, Tully Parish, was born there in 1686. John moved to the nearby village of Glanagary in Monkstown Parish, near Dun Leary, where a son Thomas was christened March 11, 1688. John Fisher died at Glanagary in 1689. Abigail, widow of John Fisher, was probably the one who married David Ribton of Glanagary in 1691. The Ribtons of Ireland probably came from the Ribtons of Cumberland. Jane Fisher of Glanagary, probably Jane, daughter of John deceased, married Mr. William Lord in the City of Dublin in 1705. (The Williamson family of Marple, Chester County, Pennsylvania came from Budsworth, Cheshire, eight miles southeast of Elton, birthplace of Joseph Fisher of Dublin County and Philadelphia. Daniel Williamson of Chester County named one of his daughters Abigail in 1705.)
Henry Fisher, a farmer, died intestate at Leopardstown in 1698. Two possible sons were John and Henry, of Killiney and Leopardstown.
Thomas and Mary Fisher lived at Carrickmaine and Killiney. Thomas Fisher of Killiney died in March of 1707 at Killiney. Mary died in December of 1709 at Killiney. Their children were: Mary, daughter of Thomas Fisher, buried in December of 1679 at Leopardstown; Robert and Abigail, born 1681 and 1683 at Carrickmaine; and 7 children born at Killiney between 1691 and 1705: Esther, Abigail, Hannah, Catharine, (Unreadable), Ann, and Elisabeth. The will of Thomas Fisher is listed in the index at the National Archives in Dublin but was burned in the Civil War records fire of 1922.
Thomas Fisher and Rosamond Coaker were married May 4, 1679 in Monkstown
Parish, both of Dun Leary. (Robert Fisher of Leopardstown was married
the previous day.) Known children at Dun Leary were John, Thomas (baptized
30 April 1682 at Dun Leary), Henry, Ellinor, Elisabeth, and Margaret.
Thomas (Sr.) of Dun Leary may have been descended from Thomas Fisher,
son of William, christened September 29, 1633 at Manley, Frodsham Parish,
a few miles from Elton, the birthplace of the immigrant Joseph Fisher.
Thomas Fisher of Manley in Cheshire may have been the same as Thomas,
a gentleman of Ballyboys, Ballymascanlan parish in County Louth in the
census of 1659. He may have come to Ireland with the Cheshire Fishers.
Mary Fisher, a daughter of William and Margaret Fisher of Elton in Cheshire,
was married in County Louth in 1659.
There were at least nine Thomas Fishers in Dublin County contemporary with Joseph Fisher of Stillorgan Parish and Philadelphia:
In St. Johns Parish, City of Dublin, possible relatives of Sir Edward Fisher, no indication that any went to America:
Thomas Fisher, son of William, christened February 22, 1634.
In the Union of Monkstown, southeast Dublin County:
Thomas Fisher, baptized 30 April 1682, son of Thomas and Rosamond (Coaker)
Fisher of Dun Leary (Dunleary, Dun Laoghaire), Monkstown Parish. Best
candidate as immigrant to Pennsylvania?
After 1701, I think Thomas Fisher Jr. may have gone a few miles to the west-southwest of Chichester, to Mill Creek in northwest Newcastle County, to stay with Thomas and James Robinson, sons of George, late of Dublin (deceased by 1691). This was not far from the Kennett Township line of Chester County. James obtained a survey for his father’s land at Mill Creek in 1702, and was a churchwarden at Immanuel Anglican Church in 1710. He later went to Kennett in Chester County, and may have lived on the Fisher farm. He may have been the namesake of James Fisher, son of Thomas and Elizabeth. Thomas Fisher joined the Quakers of Concord Monthly Meeting before 1713, and married Elizabeth Huntley in May of that year. I think Thomas Robinson died without surviving issue, at age 79, soon after his name was included in the tax assessment for the Kennett farm in 1715.
The following descendancy charts are my best effort at sorting the Fisher
families of Dublin County and the area around Elton and Sutton in Cheshire.
Following the descendancy charts are maps showing the ancient villages
and parishes of southeast Dublin County in Ireland, and locations of Joseph
Fisher’s lots in Philadelphia County in Pennsylvania. Records are
given in the tables at the end of this chapter.
1 William Fisher b. about 1566, of Elton, Thornton le Moors Parish, Cheshire.
1 Robert Fisher b. abt. 1575, of Thornton, Thornton le Moors Parish,
Cheshire. d. Jun 3 1618, Sutton, Eastham Par.
1 Thomas Fisher b. abt. 1580, of Weaverton, Cheshire. Marr.
The Union of Monkstown register begins in 1669. The families in the early entries had been through the great plague which had peaked in 1664, leaving many with multiple marriages and step-children. They included the new wave of settlers from England following the end of the Irish rebellion of the 1640s. My interpretation of the records is that the Fishers of this neighborhood were all from the Fishers of Elton, Eastham and nearby places in Cheshire. The registers of the Union of Monkstown were in poor condition when transcribed, resulting in some errors and omissions. The following construction shows the family relationships, as I think they were connected. It is not possible to identify with certainty who may have been a partner of Thomas Robinson and who may have immigrated to Philadelphia.
The Irish/Anglican church & cemetery were at Monkstown. Quakers were at nearby Stillorgan. The 17th-century Fishers lived in Monkstown and within 2 miles of there, in parishes of :
Tully Parish -- Carrickmaine & Leopardstown Killiney Parish -- Killiney
*Joseph Fisher, Quaker, immigrated to Pennsylvania from Stillorgan Parish in 1683:
1 William b. about 1596. Marr. Margaret -- ; lived at Elton, Thornton
Le Moors Parish, Cheshire.
2 Joseph chr. Feb 7, 1635 Elton, Thornton le Moors Parish, Cheshire,
so William & Margaret.
Elizabeth, Robert, John, & Thomas Fisher, in the Church of Ireland (Anglican) records of Monkstown, may have been siblings; possible former Quakers; & relatives of Joseph Fisher, their neighbor in Stillorgan:
2 Elizabeth of Carrickmaine, b. abt 1646. Birth record not found.
2 Thomas b. abt. 1652, mar. Rosamond Coaker 4 May 1679, both of Dunleary.
See marr. of Robert Fisher of Leopardstown, previous day. (Possible repeat
of vows for already married former Quaker) Rosamond was dau. of John &
All of the Fishers of northeast Philadelphia County apparently came from Ireland (Joseph, John, George, James and their families). When Thomas Fisher immigrated, he may have joined these Irish Fishers. In 1686 at Abington Monthly Meeting, near Sandy Run, James Fisher witnessed the marriage of Henry English & Hannah West. John Fisher, of Springfield Township nearby, had a plantation on Sandy Run and land close by in Upper Dublin Township, where Joseph Fisher’s large tract was located. This John Fisher died between 8 December 1716 and 30 January 1717. His will mentioned a wife Katharine; eldest son John; youngest son Joseph (under age 21); eldest daughter Mary Regan, wife of Richard Regan; and youngest daughter Sarah Fisher. He left 200 acres in Upper Dublin Township (purchased from Nicholas Scull) and his plantation on Sandy Run. Nicholas Scull came from County Cork in 1685 on the same ship (the “Bristol Merchant”) as George Fisher, the Farmer family of Cork, and other Irish immigrants. Jonathan Thatcher of the Chester County Thatchers was also aboard.
Other possible relatives of Thomas Fisher were John and Barbara Fisher of Chichester in Chester County, and John and Sarah Fisher of Kingsess near the mouth of the Shuylkill River in Philadelphia County.
At the time of the 1701 land grant in Kennett, Thomas Fisher (the elder) of Dunleary was about age 52 (his son Thomas being still under age, not quite 19). When Thomas Fisher of Chester County married Elizabeth Huntley in 1713, Thomas Fisher (the younger) of Dunleary was age 31. Elizabeth (Huntley) Fisher was younger, probably age 21 at her marriage.
In Cheshire, tradition would have called for naming the first son after the paternal grandfather. Quakers were more informal but usually honored one of the grandfathers first. There was no strong tradition of naming children after the parents. I found no one in Pennsylvania named Rosamond (after the supposed mother of Thomas Fisher). My opinion about namesakes of the Kennett children:
William – For the maternal grandfather, William Huntley.
The earliest Quakers of Pennsylvania practiced double-partible inheritance
(double share for the eldest son), widow’s thirds, and small legacies
for children other than the eldest son. The Quakers changed to equal inheritance
for heirs by the 1730’s. If Thomas Fisher was Thomas of Dunleary,
the Kennett land may have been intended for his elder brother John, who
may have been the one who died in Chichester, Chester County in 1701.
Some Irish Associations
Thomas Robinson, of Tully Parish, Dublin County in Ireland, may have come to Philadelphia aboard the “Tryall,” with Samuel Harrison of Dublin County. In 1664, a Thomas Robinson shipped from London to “New England” as a merchant on the “Tryall.” In June of 1688 Thomas Robinson served on a jury in Chester County. In September of the same year, he was charged in the provincial court in Chester, Chester County, Pennsylvania concerning an altercation aboard the “Tryall.” The record says “Thomas Robins (Robinson) and Thomas Woodmans (Woodmansee or Woodmanson) being convicted before John Bristow for drunkenness, breach of peace, breaking ye great cabin door and ye head of Samuel Harrison, mate on board of ye Ship Tryall was for ye same called to ye bar but upon their submission to ye Court was ordered to pay 5s/ with all court charges.” The injured mate, Samuel Harrison, came from Dublin, Ireland and settled on the east side of the Delaware in West Jersey. (The “Tryall” made at least 30 Atlantic crossings by the time of its last known trip in 1736. Over half the trips embarked from (or near) Bristol.)
Two of the older children of Thomas Fisher, of Chester County, married Irish immigrants from near Belfast. James married Alice Stanfield, daughter of Samuel Stanfield and Jane (Andrew) Stanfield, who came from Lurgan Monthly Meeting, at the lower end of Lake Neagh near Belfast in northern Ireland. Elizabeth married Joseph Wilkinson, who came from Ballynacree in Antrim County, northeast Ireland. Ballynacree More and Beg (large and small) are adjoining townlands in the parish of Ballymoney, about 40 miles northwest of Belfast. There was a monthly meeting of the Quakers in Antrim Parish and also at Ballynacree.
Some of the Robinsons of Chester, Newcastle and Kent counties in Pennsylvania/Delaware are known to have come from Ireland, and some of their descendants lived in Concord, Birmingham and Kennett townships in Chester County where Thomas and Elizabeth Fisher and her relatives were active. A teen-age Thomas Robinson, probably born in 1682, began a term of indenture in 1695 with Nathaniel Newlin of Concord Township. The Newlins had immigrated from Mountmellick in Rosenallis Parish, Queens County, Ireland, 45 miles west southwest of Dublin, the same place where Joseph Fisher’s sister Martha was married in 1665. Both Joseph Fisher and the Newlins immigrated in 1683.
The Harland family, close neighbors of Thomas Fisher in Kennett, came from County Down in northeast Ireland, but were originally from Durham, England.
Henry Hollingsworth, who surveyed the Thomas Robinson/Thomas Fisher tract in Chester County in 1701, immigrated with Joseph Fisher and Robert Turner of Dublin County, Ireland. The Hollingsworths were related to the Andrew family of Ireland, as was Thomas Fisher’s daughter-in-law Alice Stanfield Fisher.
Zerobabel Thatcher, a neighbor of Thomas Fisher in Kennett, was a probable son of Jonathan Thatcher, who came in 1685 aboard the same ship as George Fisher of Ireland.
When Thomas Fisher wrote his will in Caln Township, Chester County, Pennsylvania in 1747, two Irish immigrants were witnesses. Thomas Paine was from Durrow near Kilkenny, southwest of Dublin. William Pim was from County Laois (Leix/Queens) in the same area.
My own Fisher grandfather was Florance Clinton Fisher (1886 - 1966), descendant of Thomas Fisher of Chester County. He related a family tradition which I will repeat here, although I have avoided any assumption that it is correct. My grandfather told me that, as a boy in Iowa, he had seen old family records going back to Ireland, which were left outdoors in a trunk and were ruined. When he was about 9 years old, his own grandfather (Cephas Fisher Jr.) told him about his Irish ancestors shortly before his death in 1895. The story was that an estate of some consequence was seized for taxes in Ireland, and that the ancestors had come to Ireland from England. Since he was descended from James Fisher, son of Thomas, he had English-Irish ancestors from the north of Ireland, via Alice Stanfield, wife of James Fisher. This could have been the real family memory rather than the Fisher line, but I now tend to believe the Iowa generation did know the complete history (now forgotten except for modern research).
Thomas Fisher and Thomas Robinson may have met James Standfield due to
the merchant business of Joseph Fisher, immigrant from Stillorgan (Union
of Monkstown), Dublin County, Ireland. The Joseph Fisher waterfront lot
in Philadelphia was only three berths above that of James Standfield and
his brigantine “Betsy.” James Standfield was an uncle of Elizabeth
(Huntley) Fisher, who became the wife of the younger Thomas Fisher of
Kennett, Chester County. Thomas Fisher (Sr.) of Dun Leary was of middle
age when James Standfield died in 1699. Thomas Fisher (Jr.) was age 17.
Joseph and George Fisher
Fisher families lived along both banks of the Mersey River in England, as early as the reign of Henry VIII. On the Lancashire side, Fishers appear by 1588 in the parish records of Liverpool, and within a few decades appeared in many other parishes of the area. On the Cheshire side of the river, Fisher families can be found in the parish records as early as 1567.
The Fishers of Thornton le Moors Parish, on the Cheshire side of the Mersey, were ancestors of Joseph Fisher of Stillorgan, Union of Monkstown in Dublin County, Ireland, and therefore were also possible relatives of Thomas Fisher of Chester County, Pennsylvania. Thornton le Moors is a parish in the hundred of Eddisbury, county of Chester, comprising the townships of Dunham, Elton, Hapsford, Thornton in the Moors, and Wimbolds-Trafford. The Gowey, a tributary stream to the Mersey, runs through the parish. Thornton in the Moors is 6 ½ miles north-northeast of the city of Chester.`
The Fishers of Elton were there until at least 1642. William Fisher of Elton was father of John (born and died 1598), Ellen (born 1600), John (born 1603), Hannah (born 1617), Abigail (born 1620), Deborah (born and died 1627), Margaret (died 1631), Marie (born 1633), Joseph (born 1635), Mary (born 1637), Deborah (born 1642), and Martha (birthdate unknown). This could be two families, or children of two marriages of William Fisher.
On August 25, 1625, William Fisher married Dorothy Widdens (sometimes read Widness) of Stoke, a village in Stoke Parish 3 miles southwest of Elton. He was a churchwarden at Stoke from 1642 to 1647. His wife Dorothy died there in 1648, and he is not mentioned in the Stoke register after that. He may have been a relative of the Elton Fishers.
Margaret Fisher was the mother of at least the last four of William Fisher’s children. The son Joseph, christened February 7, 1635 at Elton, was mentioned later in the Quaker records of Dublin as the son of William and Margaret Fisher of Elton in Cheshire. The Dublin Quaker records also mention the daughters Mary and Martha. The other children were not mentioned in the Dublin Quaker records.
A search was made in parishes along the Mersey River in England for possible relatives of the Dublin County Fishers. It appears that if the Quaker immigrant Joseph Fisher was related to the Anglican Fishers who were his neighbors in Dublin County, they were probably cousins. Robert Fisher of Thornton and Dunham in Thornton le Moores Parish was probably a relative. Robert was father of Elizabeth (born 1605), Margaret (born 1610), and John (born 1613). Another possible relative was Robert Fisher of Eastham, born in 1633, son of Robert. Eastham was about 3 miles downstream from Elton near the Mersey River. There were early Fishers at Heswell and Bebington (8 miles NW of Thornton), and in the city of Chester.
The Fishers of Elton became Quakers by 1659, and moved to Ireland to join the English Quakers there. They were among the first generation of converts to Quakerism, which sprang from the teachings of George Fox around 1650. William Penn had interests in southern Ireland and became a supporter of the Quaker movement while living in Ireland. It is known that the Fishers of Elton, Cheshire settled on the south side of Dublin, but they went first to other places under the care of the English - Irish Quakers. Mary Fisher, daughter of William and Margaret of Elton in Cheshire, married William Archer at County Louth, on the east coast but northward from Dublin, 9 month (November) of 1659, recorded at Dublin Monthly Meeting. Martha Fisher, daughter of William and Margaret, married the widower Robert Turner of Dublin but born in Yorkshire. They were married at Rosenallis in Mountmellick Parish, to the southwest of Dublin in Queens County, on the 10th of the seventh month (September), 1665; recorded at Dublin Monthly Meeting. In 1662 Robert Turner, son of Robert & Mary of Read End, Royston in Hertfordshire, married Elizabeth Ruddock from Dover.
Margaret Fisher of Elton in Cheshire died in 1669 at Dublin, recorded at Dublin Monthly Meeting. Joseph Fisher, son of William and Margaret of Elton in Cheshire, may have been the one who married, in 1656, Bridgett Coddington at St. Michan’s, City of Dublin. If so, his known marriage was his second, to Isabel Newmarch 6 February 1671, recorded at Dublin Monthly Meeting. Moses Fisher, son of Joseph and Isabel, was born 20 November 1671 at Rathfarnham, Dublin County, recorded at Dublin Monthly Meeting. Joseph Fisher Jr., son of Joseph and Isobel of Stillorgan, County Dublin, was born 1673, 2-9, recorded at Dublin Monthly Meeting.
Stillorgan and Rathfarnum, parishes where Joseph Fisher lived, lie near to each other on the south side of Dublin. Stillorgan was one of the seven parishes that were administered together beginning in 1670 as the Union of Monkstown. The parishes were Monkstown, Dalkey, Killiney, Tully, Stillorgan, Kilmacud, and Kill of the Grange (now in Kill parish). The survey of 1654-1656 shows that Stillorgan had been an estate in the northern end of Kill parish, belonging to the Catholic proprietor William Woulferston of Stillorgan, who supported the Irish in the rebellion of 1652. Stillorgan and most of the other estates of the area were consficated by the English. Joseph Fisher and his relatives were part of a new wave of English settlers who came after the rebellion. The Stillorgan estate, with a castle, lies in the parish of that name which was created from part of Kill parish. Any records relating to Joseph Fisher’s residency in Stillorgan were probably destroyed when the Dublin records building was burned in the civil war in 1922. The Stillorgan estate, which consisted of only 166 acres, may have been in the tenancy of Robert Turner or his brother-in-law, Joseph Fisher.
Stillorgan, where Joseph Fisher lived by 1673, was given as the last residence of Joseph Fisher in Ireland when he immigrated to Philadelphia in 1683. The Fishers would have had to go from Dublin to Liverpool to embark. The Francis Standfield family were at Garston near Liverpool preparing to embark on the “Endeavor” at the same time. The “Lion” of Liverpool arrived 14, 8 month (October) 1683 with members of the Turner and Fisher families. Robert Turner, late of Dublin, merchant, brought a child Martha and a number of servants (including the surveyor Henry Hollingsworth, who surveyed the Thomas Robinson/Thomas Fisher tract in Chester County in 1701). The Fisher group included Joseph Fisher and Elizabeth Fisher his wife, late of Stillorgan near Dublin, in Ireland, yeoman, born in Elton in Cheshire, their children Moses, Joseph, Mary, and Martha, and a number of servants. From this it is evident that Joseph Fisher’s wife, Isabel (Newmarch) Fisher, had died and he had married a wife Elizabeth, but no records have been found.
Two years after the immigration of Joseph Fisher, George Fisher immigrated from Ireland with the Jaspar Farmer family. George Fisher was probably related to Joseph Fisher. The Farmers came from Gerranekinnefeake, a parish on the northeast end of Cork harbor in southern Ireland. The Farmers had been Quakers at the Youghal Monthly Meeting, about 25 miles from Gerranekinnefeake, as early as 1669. (Another Jasper Farmer was at Ardevelane in Ireland, as late as 1715.) They came on the “Bristol Merchant,” which arrived on the 10th of the 9th month (November) of 1685. Passengers included the families of Jasper Farmer, Sr. and Jr. of Cork, and a number of servants including George Fisher. Family members of Jasper Farmer Sr. were Mary Farmer, widow; Edward Farmer, Edward Batsford, Sarah Farmer, John Farmer, Robert Farmer, Katherine Farmer, and Charles Farmer. Jasper Farmer, Junior’s family included Thomas Farmer, Katherine Farmer, widow, Elizabeth Farmer, and Katherine Farmer, Junior. It should be noted that the passenger lists for this period, in the “History of Chester County,” are not at all complete. For example, the will of Ellish Lincolne was signed on board during George Fisher’s trip on the “Bristol Merchant,” witnessed by Michael Booth. Neither are listed. (Deborah Booth is listed as coming on the “Lion” with Joseph Fisher.)
The Fishers of Stillorgan/Monkstown were associated with the Farmer family of Cork, and therefore most probably were related to George Fisher who immigrated with the Farmers. Jasper Farmer, a Quaker, was married to the widow Katherine Batsford July 6, 1674 at Garraneskinnefeake, a parish on the inner bay of the city of Cork. Joseph Fisher Jr. of Stillorgan was married in Pennsylvania to Mary Farmer, daughter of Jasper Farmer of Cork.
George Fisher who bought a “kitchen and half a lot” in the city of Chester, Chester County in 1688 was probably not the Irish George. He was probably George, born in 1667 to Dennis and Susannah Fisher of St. Thomas, Portsmouth in Hampshire but later of Salem in West New Jersey. The Irish George Fisher was the one who, with Edward Farmer in late 1696, witnessed the will of Thomas Terwood of Philadelphia County, one of Joseph Fisher’s servants. Joseph Fisher(Sr.) was executor, and legatees included members of Joseph Fisher’s family.
Joseph Fisher and Robert Turner were brothers-in-law, Robert having married Martha Fisher, sister of Joseph. They were business partners and “first purchasers” of land from William Penn. In May of 1682, bought (in England) 10,000 acres in Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania, 5000 acres each. Their large forested investment tracts became part of Upper Dublin Township, northeast Philadelphia County. They settled on adjoining tracts near Byberry in southeast Philadelphia County. They had adjoining dock lots on the Philadelphia riverfront for their merchant business, bounded on the north by Mulberry Street. Jasper Farmer, Irish brother-in-law of Joseph Fisher Jr., took his county land in Whitemarsh, southwest of Upper Dublin Township, extending to the Schuylkill River. Joseph Fisher belonged to the Quaker meeting at Byberry, Philadelphia County.
The will of Joseph Fisher (Sr.) of Dublin Township, Philadelphia County was written 12 Dec 1711 and probated 21 Jan 1714. He gave 500 acres to son Joseph who was at that time without a son, mentions Isobel, daughter of son Joseph; sister’s daughter Mary Archer; three thousand acres in Upper Dublin Township to son Joseph; sisters’ daughter Martha Bell L100; witnesses Daniel Davis, John Swift and Edward Farmer. There was no mention of a wife (presumed deceased).
The will of Joseph Fisher (Jr.) of Dublin Township, County of Philadelphia, was written 23 October 1717, and probated 2 December 1717. It was dictated to John Swift of Philadelphia and Edward Farmer of White Marsh, Philadelphia County; mentions daughter Isobel Fisher, 800 acres adjoining Hartsquake at upper end of tract; daughter Mary the plantation that Joshua Holt now dwells on containing 1100 acres at lower end of tract; daughter Martha 1100 acres near Mary’s tract; remainder to wife (Mary) and children; brother Farmer (assumed to be Edward).
Thomas Fisher of Bristol (b. 1691)
If the Irish pedigree for the Fishers of Chester County should prove to be incorrect, the Fishers of Bristol should be studied. Thomas Fisher of Chester County could have come from the Fishers of Bristol and the surrounding areas of Gloucestershire and Somerset. James Wallis, a trading merchant of Bristol, England, and Thomas Fisher, suspected seaman or trading merchant, both claimed their adjoining tracts in Kennett at the same time, around the beginning of 1700. Thomas Fisher and Francis Fisher, shipping merchants of Bristol, made voyages to America between 1685 and 1715. John Fisher, another shipping merchant who made trips to America, was probably also from Bristol. There are Fishers in the Quaker records of Bristol and also in the parish records.
In 1670, the will of John Maplett of the City of Bath (near Bristol) mentioned a house bought from Mr. Thomas Fisher. John Maplett’s will shows that he had a sister Mary Gorton in “New England.” Thomas Fisher of Bristol owned the ship “Constant Martha,” and in 1678 had an agent in Maryland. He sponsored a number of endentured bondsmen who emigrated from Bristol. Thomas Fisher, son of Thomas and Sarah Fisher, was born at Bath on 28 Jul 1691. In 1702, Thomas Fisher witnessed the will of Francis Holland in the City of Bristol.
The early Fishers of Bristol were merchants. William, a butcher, died in 1621. Edward, a clothier, died in 1661 leaving known sons Edward, Joseph, a clothier who died in 1677, John, and James. Francis, a dealer in fine cloth, died in 1702, and had a brother William. James, a grocer who died in 1718, had a son John. Another Francis made numerous Atlantic crossings as a shipper between 1685 and 1715. No early Bristol will has been found for any Thomas Fisher.
There is an interesting coincidence of death dates that could indicate a connection between James Fisher and James Wallis, both of Bristol. James Wallis of Bristol, who applied for land in Kennett at the same time as Thomas Fisher and Thomas Robinson, may have died on the same day as James Fisher of Bristol. James Fisher of Bristol died 5 February 1718, and an administrator was named 10 February 1718 for James Wallis of Bristol for land in Newcastle County, Delaware. A group of James Wallis’s trading partners died at the same time.
The will of James Fisher of Bristol, dated 1702/1718, did not mention a son Thomas. It is plausible that there was a son Thomas, not mentioned because he was already situated in Pennsylvania or because he had become a Quaker. I did not complete a thorough search of the parish records of Bristol, Gloucestershire and Somerset.
Thomas Fisher of Garston Near Liverpool (b. 1668)
In 1683 Francis Standfield, grandfather of Elizabeth (Huntley) Fisher of Chester County, arrived in Pennsylvania aboard the “Endeavor” of Liverpool. Francis was said to have come from “Garton in Cheshire.” This may have been a mistake for Garston, on the Lancashire side of the Mersey River near Liverpool. The Standfields had lived in Cheshire, but Garston may have been a brief stop before embarkation from Liverpool. Cheshire was just across the river from Garston, and the Cheshire sites associated with the Standfields (Marple, Marthall, and Congleton) were all within 25 miles or less from Garston. The best English place name books and old parish maps show no such place as Garton in Cheshire, at any time in history. If the Standfields were at the tiny village of Garston in 1683, they would have met the Fishers there.
By 1657 a Thomas Fisher lived in the parish of Childwall on the north bank of the Mersey River, between Liverpool and Manchester, in the part of Lancashire which is now Merseyside. The Childwall parish records show the birth of Thomas, son of Thomas Fisher, baptised 7 April 1668. The mother was probably Catharine (Dwarrihouse) Fisher, who married Thomas Fisher in Childwall Parish in 1657. Thomas Fisher (the elder) of Garston died in 1678, leaving the younger Thomas Fisher an orphan at age 10. Six years later, it was probably the same Thomas Fisher who embarked from Liverpool with the Baker family who settled in Bucks Couty, Pennsylvania.
In 1684 the Quaker Henry Baker of Walton-on-the Hill, a short distance from Garston, contracted with a number of local people to join him in passage to Pennsylvania. Thomas Fisher signed up for an indenture of 4 years for passage with the Bakers. This was probably Thomas Fisher (the younger) of Garston, age 16. The Bakers settled in Bucks County, Pennsylvania and their records are very complete. Thomas Fisher, John Hurst and Joseph Stedman, fellow indentured workers for the Bakers, are not mentioned in Bucks County but these names did show up later in Chester County. Nathan Baker, youngest son of Henry, moved to Concord Monthly Meeting in 1706, where Thomas Fisher married Elizabeth Huntley in 1713.
Shortly after the Baker’s arrival in Bucks County, Henry Baker apparently sold one or more of the service bonds to Francis Standfield of Marple, Chester County. Chester County court records show that by July of 1685, John Hurst was in service to Francis Standfield. It is reasonable to suppose that the bond of Thomas Fisher of Garston may have also been sold to the Standfields, since the Fishers and Standfields later were linked by marriage in Chester County. Joseph Stedman may have been a son of one by the same name who had already emigrated and obtained land in Springfield Township, Chester County by 1683, not far from the Standfields of Marple Township.
Thomas Fisher of Garston would have been age 45 in 1713 when Thomas Fisher of Chester County married Elizabeth Huntley. Such a marriage was possible, but since there is no sign of any earlier family in Pennsylvania or thereabouts it is more likely that he died or returned to England long before 1713. If this is the right family, the Thomas Fisher of 1713 would perhaps be a son of the elder Thomas, who could have returned and claimed his father’s Kennett land.
The Heald and Fisher families, close neighbors in Kennett, settled at about the same time, in 1714. Samuel Heald’s mother, Jane (Dunbabin) Heald, was from Great Sankey, a village on the Mersey River a short distance upstream from Garston. Richard Fletcher, second spouse of Elizabeth (Huntley) Fisher’s mother Mary (Standfield) Huntley in Kennett, was from the same area on the Mersey River.
Problems with the Garston theory: No records were found in England or elsewhere to directly support the guess. The family names in Chester County do not match well with the names of the Garston Fishers.
Thomas Fisher of Barbados (b. 1689)
There was a Thomas Fisher in the British military garrison on Barbados, in 1679. Nothing was found to identify him positively with Thomas and Elizabeth (Huntley) Fisher of Chester County.
In 1715 Thomas Fisher, age 26, was enumerated in the parish of St. Philips, at the east end of the island. In the same year he witnessed the will of Andrew Dunken of the same parish. In the same census, Elizabeth Fisher, age 40, and William Fisher, age 59, were also enumerated in St. Philips parish. Born about 1689, Thomas would have been of age 23 or 24 in 1713 when the Chester County Thomas married Elizabeth Huntley. The census of 1715 was meant to be an enumeration of inhabitants, so if this was Thomas of Chester County, he was maintaining residency in both places, which seems improbable.
It is intriguing that there was a William Huntley family of St. Philips, discussed in my book about the Huntleys. William Huntley married Elizabeth Cowe, daughter of John Cowe, had several children, and died in 1679. A final possible correlation is that a Thomas Robinson, possibly the same as the one who was co-warrantee with Thomas Fisher for land in Kennett, witnessed the will of Thomas Locksmith in 1701 in Barbados, and owed money to the estate of Sarah Lynley in 1705.
Ebeneazor Langford/Langston/Langford, who lived across the road in Marple from Francis and Grace Standfield, was from Barbados and/or Antigua. William Webb, neighbor of the Fishers in Chester County, made trips to Barbados. The brigantine “Betsy,” belonging to James Standfield, uncle of Elizabeth (Huntley) Fisher, was loaded with rum and molasses (among other things) when his estate was inventoried, probably from Barbados.
Thomas Fisher of Nanticoke River (b. ca. 1690)
There were numerous Fishers in Maryland before 1700. In 1706, William Fisher and wife Mary had a son born by the name of Joseph, in St. Stephens parish, Cecil County. Cecil County is in the northeast corner of Maryland, abutting Chester County, Pennsylvania.
Two brothers, Edward and William Fisher lived on the Nanticoke River in Maryland, at a place called Fisher’s Landing (now called Lewis Landing). They died there in 1701 and 1702 respectively. William had a son Thomas, still a minor in 1703, and several daughters. The inheritance meant for Thomas was taken up by the sisters and assigned in 1714 to the widow of their uncle, Edward Fisher. Thomas disappeared. He probably died, but I considered the possibility that he went to Pennsylvania. I gave up the theory but there is one more connection – Edward Fisher sold a large tract in Sussex County, Delaware in 1700, and Thomas Fisher of Sussex County acted as agent for Edward. This may be only because Thomas, son of John and Margaret, was registrar of lands in Sussex County at the time.
James Standfield, uncle of Elizabeth (Huntley) Fisher of Chester County, Pennsylvania was agent in Maryland for Charles Pickering of Philadelphia.
Alexander Frazier from Maryland had land in Kennet Township, Chester County. Ralph Fishbourne moved from Maryland to Philadelphia before 1700, then to Chester County.
Nothing was found to support a positive connection between the Fishers of Maryland and Thomas Fisher of Chester County.
John and Margaret Fisher of Philadelphia and Sussex County
I hesitate to include this one, since it is now known without doubt that Thomas, son of John and Margaret Fisher, was not the same as Thomas Fisher of Chester County. However, there are correlations between the Standfields and these Fishers.
The accounting of James Standfield’s estate, done by his brother-in -law Frances Chadsey between 1699 and 1707, refers to several trips to Sussex County to settle with the “two Fishers.” Philadelphia court records show that Francis had sold James Standfield’s large land holding in Sussex County to William and Thomas Fisher of Sussex County. The land, on Delaware Bay, was between that of John and Margaret Fisher’s heirs and that of William Fisher further up the bay. John Fisher is also mentioned.
The Standfield account contains a reference to James Standfield’s interest in the house of Samuel Atkins, son-in-law of John and Margaret Fisher. Philadelphia land records show that the house was very likely the same as the one where John and Margaret spent the winter of 1682, on the banks of the Delaware near the Philadelphia docks. James Standfield appears to have died in the Atkins house, as the accounting includes a charge for a doctor to come there.
It is then clear that James Standfield, uncle of Elizabeth (Huntley) Fisher, had some ties with the Fishers of Sussex County, who were from the neighborhood of Clitheroe in Lancashire and apparently from the Marsden Monthly Meeting.
No records have been found to show how Thomas Fisher of Chester County
might have been related to John and Margaret Fisher, if they were in fact
Notes and Sources
Most of the Irish and Cheshire records referred to in this chapter are given here. Additional sources are in the Appendix of this book.
Parish Registers, City of Dublin, Ireland
Index/Diocese of Dublin (Records burned in the civil war); Census
of Ireland ca 1659
English Land Distribution in Ireland & Other Early Records
Irish & Anglo-Irish Landed Gentry When Cromwell Came
to Ireland, A Supplement to Irish Pedigrees:
Depositions for Co. Cork, 1641-1642
824.118/9 Henry Turner of Bandonbridge, clothier. Parishes
of Ballymodan and Kilbrogan, Barony Kinalmeaky
Hearth Money Return … one of five hearths inhabited by Thomas Robinson, one of four inhabited by John Robinson. Robinson …
“It is considered necessary to add the following account of the author of “The Marrow of Modern Divinity” from Wood’s Athena Oxonienses, vol. 2, p 198: -- Edward Fisher, the eldest son of a knight, became a gentleman-commoner of Brasen-nose College, Aug 25, 1627, took on his degree in arts, and soon after left that house …
Craigavon Museum Services…Important early Lurgan Quaker linen families included the Turners, ….Quaker families such as the Richardsons and Bells developed large spinning and weaving factories…
The Hollingsworth Register… Parish of Seagoe …Roger Webb…Thomas Turner… William Archer… William Williamson. Lurgan Record Book, copy of film granted to Hollingsworths in 1969 … so many of the families came (to Lurgan) from parts of Yorkshire in England, including the Calverts, Writhts, Robsons, Kirks, Moores, Chambers and Porters. Pg. 195 “ffrancis Robson son of John Robson of Facebee in Yorkeshire in England, and of Elizabeth his wife was borne in facebee aforesaid, about in ye yeare 1607 (was brought into Ireland being but young.)” Pg. 105 … meeting at John Robsons the two and twentieth day of the fifth month (July) 1685 … John Robson and Sarah Atkinson, his wife, … Pg. 208 the family of Thomas Turner, (son of Robert Turner of Turnerstowne in Northumberland in England and of Deborah his wife) (who) was borne at Turnerstown aforesaid in the year, 1618, is detailed. It gives Thomas’ wife as Ann, daughter of James Greer of Cumberland… Thomas and Ann came to Ireland between 1658-1660. Their son Robert Turner, was born “in England” about the 18th day of the 11th month (January) 1655. Possibly these Turners were relations of the merchant of 1683 who brought Henry Hollingsworth to America. The Turners lived first near Belfast in County Down, but by 1662 were at Drumniscally,…
“The Phoenix Park” - …But Jame I. …was induced to promise Sir Richard Sutton, one of the auditors of the FImprests in England, a grant of such portion of the Kilmainham demesne … northern side of the River Liffey. In spite of the protests of the Irish Lord Deputy of that time, Sir Arthur Chichester, this promise was made good, and Sir Edward Fisher, as assignee of Sir Richard Sutton, was in 1611 leased some four hundred acres … bounded on the south by the River Liffey… east and north by … Newtown and Ashtown, … west by … Chapelizod, all of which lands are now included in the Phoenix Park. … The erection of a house on his newly acquired property was at once undertaken by Sir Edward Fisher, … site … the Magazine now stands. … for L2500, Sir Edward Fisher surrendered in 1617 to the Crown the lands … together with the house …
Gilbert, Chapter 2 – … In Fishamble-street resided Christopher Ussher, Ulster King-at-arms, 1588-1597; Sir Dudley Norton, Principal Secretary of State, 1612-1615; Sir Edward Fisher, 1621; …
House of Commons Journal Vol 1:19 April 1624 -- …
L.2. Sir Edward Fisher his Bill: - Committed to Mr. Brereton, Mr. Booth,
Knights, Burgesses Norfolke, …
Rootsweb – The visitation of Warwickshire (1619) records the father of Sir Edward Fisher as Thomas Fisher alias Hawkins and his grandfather as Thomas Hawkin.
See also Sir Edward Fisher of Mickleton, Gloucestershire; and Anglican Sir Edward Fisher, author of “Marrow of Modern Divinity,” 1645.
Statistical Survey of the County of Clare, 1808 – Diocese of Killaloe… Shraduffe or Tepledisert On the 12th of March, 1611, the site of this abbey, and the possessions thereunto belonging were granted in fee to Sir Edward Fisher, knight…
Urlaur Abbey, Kellkelly – County Mayo … In a secluded spot a few miles from Kilkelly lies the ruins of a 15th century Dominican Abbey…During the reign of James I the friary was declared of Sir Edward Fisher… later granted to Sir Theobald Dillon, who was a good catholic… Also see Ballaghaderreen and District Development –Inquisitions in 1608 and 1610, “friary lands given to an adventurer, Sir Edward Fisher”…
Sutton Family – The New Settlers in Hy-Kinselagh --… various patentees and undertakers who, in the reigns of Elizabeth and King James the First, go extensive grants of forfeited lands which were confiscated in the county of Wexford. … Sir Edward Fisher, …
Friends Historical Library, Dublin, Ireland,
Dublin Monthly Meeting Minute Books
Betham’s Notebooks, National Archives,
Bishop Street, Dublin 8
Union of Monkstown Register, County Dublin, & Dublin Monthly
Church of England Register, Thornton Le Moors
Parish in Cheshire
Parish Registers, Areas Near Elton in Cheshire