Early Reminiscences Associated with the Life and Family of My Mother
Sarah Redwood Parrish
By Samuel Longstreth Parrish
Miers Fisher was the son of Joshua Fisher, who had moved to Philadelphia in 1745 from Lewistown in Delaware. Philadelphia at that time, and all through the Colonial period and for many years after, was the most important of the American cities and the center of the larger social and business life for Delaware, as well as Pennsylvania. His object in moving, as stated by himself, was to further the education of his children, and upon his departure he was presented with a written address by his fellow-townsmen expressing their great regard for him. He began business in Philadelphia as an importing merchant, and the firm of Joshua Fisher & Sons was one of the well known houses in Philadelphia engaged in foreign trade. The name of the firm, presumably in the handwriting of Joshua Fisher himself, can be seen to this day in the list of the signers of the Non-Importation (entered into by the merchants of Philadelphia just prior to the American Revolution), which hangs in Independence Hall, on Chestnut above Fifth.
His frequent voyages between Lewistown and Philadelphia had made him very familiar with Delaware Bay, and he constructed a chart of the Bay which is still extant, and a copy of which can be found in the Library of the Town of Newark, Delaware. This very copy of the map was recently (1894) advertised for sale in New York, and it was a great disappointment to my mother, upon sending to the stop indicated in the advertisement, to find that it had just been sold. Fortunately, however, it has gone into safe hands by being deposited in the Newark Library.
Joshua Fisher was evidently at home upon the sea, for it is stated in the Memoirs of Hannah Logan Smith, his grand-daughter, that is was at the instance of James Logan (secretary of William Penn, Chief Justice and first governor of Pennsylvania) that "Joshua Fisher was the first to take to sea and experiment upon the quadrant, then recently invented by Godfrey, but now (1835) bearing the name of Hadley."
His first residence in Philadelphia was on Walnut, between Front and Second Streets, while his warehouse was on the bank below Walnut Street, overlooking the Delaware River. In 1757 he built a house for himself on Front below Walnut, with his warehouse back of the dwelling. It was in the first mentioned house that my great-grandfather, Miers Fisher, was born in the year 1748.
Joshua Fisher also build for himself a country place called "The Cliffs" on the north bank of the Schuylkill about a mile from the present dam at Fairmount. The house is still standing and is now within the limits of Fairmount Park.