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The First Fishers of the Chesapeake

(Under Construction)

The First Fisher Families
Chesapeake Bay

By Jackie L. Fisher November 2000

Several Fisher families were among the original settlers of Maryland. They began to settle around the Chesapeake Bay as early as 1650. The earliest family founders were named Thomas, William, Edward and John. This study includes a proposed solution to the long-standing mystery of the origins of Thomas Fisher of Chester County, Pennsylvania, who married Elizabeth Huntley in 1713. Surnames mentioned include Dorrington, Frisby, Brown, Robinson, Rawlings, Willis, Winsloe, Winsmore, Pitt, Griffin, Frazier, Fishbourne, and many others.

See also related titles by Jackie L. Fisher:

Descendants and Ancestors of Cephas Fisher Jr. (1812-1895), LDS Film 2055284 Item 16
The Francis Standfield Family of Colonial Pennsylvania, LDS Film 2055284 Item 13
The Samuel Stanfield Family of Colonial Pennsylvania, LDS Film 2055331 Item 1
The William Huntley Family of Colonial Pennsylvania, LDS Film 2055284 Item 14
A Fisher Family Album (A History in Pictures) LDS Film 2055284 Item 15

500 Brinkley Drive
Wimberley, Texas 78676
April 2000


Chapter Page

I. Introduction
Early Fishers 4
Maryland, Circa 1650-1750 5
Map – Location of the Fisher Plantations 6
Third Haven Quaker Meeting House 7
The J. L. Fisher Line of Descent 8

II. Dr. William Fisher of Baltimore/Cecil County 9
III. Thomas Fisher of Tuckahoe River 11
IV. Edward and William Fisher of Nanticoke River 14
V. Thomas Fisher of Blackwater River 20

VI. William Fisher of Bollingbroke Creek 23
VII. John Fisher of Calvert County 25
VIII. Thomas Robinson and the Chester County Fishers of Pennsylvania 27


1. Genealogical Charts 37 View Charts
2. Notes View Notes
Dr. William Fisher of Baltimore/Cecil County 66
Thomas Fisher of Tuckahoe River 72
Edward And William Fisher of Nanticoke River 78
Thomas Fisher of Blackwater River 88
William Fisher of Bollingbroke Creek 101
John Fisher of Calvert County 105
Thomas Robinson and the Chester County Fishers of Pennsylvania 108
Other Fishers in Maryland, Virginia and Delaware 118
3. Documents 121 View Documents (Wills etc.)

Index 150

I. Introduction

Early Fishers

Several Fisher families were among the earliest settlers of Maryland. Some, if not all of them, were related and some were known to be Quakers. They began to settle on both sides of the middle and upper reaches of Chesapeake Bay as early as 1650, when Katharine Fisher came as an indentured servant. They came almost every year, numbering over 30 arrivals by 1682. Most of them had their passage paid in return for terms of 4 to 7 years or more of service on the plantations.

The earliest Fishers came to Somerset County on the lower eastern shore, abutting the peninsular Accomac County, Virginia. The settlement of St. Mary’s, the provincial capitol of Maryland founded in 1634, was just across the bay on the western shore. Some of the Maryland Fishers moved in from Virginia, where there were numerous Fisher arrivals beginning as early as 1635.

The earliest Fishers were active on every shore of the Chesapeake. Their earliest records appear in the western shore counties of St. Mary’s, Charles (part of which became Prince George), Calvert, and Ann Arundel. They appear on both sides of the north end of the Bay in old Baltimore County, the eastern side of which became Cecil County. They were on the eastern shore in Somerset, Dorchester, Talbot, and Kent Counties, including Queen Anne’s which was formed mostly from Talbot County, and Caroline which was formed mostly from Dorchester County.

The records do not say much about the origins of any of the early Maryland Fishers. Some of them clearly had connections to Bristol, England or the surrounding parts of Somersetshire or Gloucestershire. Other immigrants to Maryland are known to have embarked from Bristol, and there were strong ties between the tobacco ports of Maryland and Virginia, and the ports of Bristol and Liverpool. The Dorrington family, which came from Bristol, intermarried with the earliest Thomas Fisher family of Maryland. Fisher wills of Bristol reflect names common to the Maryland Fishers. Studies by William Malahide show that a majority of early immigrants to Maryland came from Bristol and surrounding areas in England. (See “British Origins of American Colonists, 1629-1775”)

Several Fishers were among the seagoing ship’s masters and merchants who sailed into Chesapeake Bay during the early years of the province. Thomas Fisher and Company, of Bristol, was in Maryland in 1678. John Fisher, master of the “Maryland Merchant,” was anchored in the bay in 1679. In 1695, commander Francis Fisher was in the bay.

Some of the Maryland Fishers may have come from the north of England, in Lancashire and Yorkshire. The Quaker Fishers of Swarthmore, in northwest Lancashire, included families with the names Edward, William and Thomas, the same as in Maryland.

The sketches in this study include all the known Fishers who were original settlers in Maryland. Every attempt has been made to group the records properly by family, but it should be noted that it is not possible to do this with complete certainty. In some cases, family relationships are described in the text as reasonable guesses, where no proof was found. The genealogical charts in the appendices should be used with caution, with reference to the text for information concerning proofs.

All source notes are included in the appendices. Readers may form their own conclusions about the family relationships, by studying the notes. It is the author’s hope that these studies will further our understanding of the Fisher families of Maryland, notwithstanding errors that may have been made in deducing some of the family relationships.

Maryland Circa 1650-1750

During the period of a few decades before and after the year 1700, the economy of the province of Maryland was very much dominated by a young and growing tobacco industry. An examination of the probate and land records, as well as the legislative and judicial records, shows that bales of tobacco had become a common currency, and the business of getting the tobacco convoys on the way to England with the spring tides was a matter of utmost importance. The Maryland shippers joined the Virginia convoys at Kecoughtan, at the mouth of the James River below Jamestown. Kecoughtan (Kiquotan) was at the present site of Newport News. The early Fishers of Maryland grew tobacco on their plantations, and also had ties to the shippers that carried the bales to England.

Other topics dominating the business of the government were matters of defense, native Indian affairs, and religious issues.

Examples From the Maryland Archives:

1678: Alexander Fisher, John Fisher receive tobacco payments for service in the campaign against the Nanticoke Indians. Thomas Fisher and Company, of Bristol, appear in court.
1679: John Fisher, master of “Maryland Merchant,” anchored in the bay.
1681: Edward Fisher reports Indian men gone from Fort Nanticoke.
1695: A Brigantine called the ffisher of Maryland, Thomas ffrancis Master, bound from here to Barbadoes.
1700: Burning of houses in “Late Revolution” (Puritan uprising) is discussed. Proposal debated to make Church of England the Established Church, per 1692 authority. Rumors of impending war in Europe read in the assembly.
1702: Shipping masters to receive gunpowder allocations for defense. Thomas Robinson to have 4 quarter barrels.
1703: Account for Wm. Fisher, Dorchester Co. deceased; payments total 3,047 pounds of tobacco.

Some Maryland Quakers:

1688: William Dorrington names Quakers as legatees if son has no issue. Son-in-law Thomas Fisher deceased.
1690: Edward Fisher named trustee for Transquaking Meeting House.
1697: Catharine Fisher, wife of Edward Fisher dies, Third Haven Quakers, Talbot County.
1699: Ralph Fishbourne moves to Chester County, Pennsylvania.
1729: Francis Fisher dies; widow of Edward Fisher.

A Tobacco Shipping Discussion in the Maryland Assembly:

Wednesday in the Evening May 15, 1695. To his Exncy the Governr
The humble Peticion of the Commanders of the Merchants Ships now trading and lying at Anchor in the Ports of their (Majesties) Province of Maryland. Humblly Sheweth unto your Exncy. That yor (Petitioners) having been hindered by severall Impedimts (as first the bad season for Making and Raising Tob. 2ndly the excess of Rain and ill weather occasioning great Trouble in rolling of the same when got ready Received, 3rdly the want of Sloopes) for the said and several other Reasons cannot possibly be ready to Saile for England within the time appointed by the Commandore. Yor (Petitioners) do therefore humbley pray your Exncy that our time of stay for the dispatch of our necessary Business (for the Intrest as well of the Masters as our Owners) may be lengthened untill the last day of June that at which time wee do all Sincerely promise to be all ready loaden or unloaden at Kiquotan to set Sayle under Convoy of Capt Crowe the Commandore aforesaid. And as in duty bound shall pray &ca. Signed by 24 ship commanders, including FRANCIS FISHER.

View a Locale Map of Chapters 2 - 8, Fishers of Virginia, Maryland and Pennsylvania, Also Showing Locations of the Delaware and New Jersey Fishers.

View the Third Haven Quaker Meeting House, Wooden building dating from 1682-1684, Near Easton, Talbot County, Maryland.

View St. Stephens Anglican Church, Cecil County Maryland. View map showing location.
Built 1704-1706, Near Bohemia River, N. Sassafrax Parish


The J. L. Fisher Line of Descent

Thomas Fisher (m. Elizabeth Huntley) Probably b. 1682, Dublin County, Ireland
Note: Joint land grantee with Thomas Robinson in Kennett Township, Chester County, Pennsylvania,
March 1701, Chester County, Pa. signed by Wm. Penn.

James Fisher (m. Alice Standfield) b. 1714 Chester Co., Pa.
James Fisher (m. Jane Atkinson) b. 1744 Chester Co., Pa.
Cephas Fisher Sr. (m. Rachel Standfield) b. 1780 York Co., Pa.
Cephas A. Fisher Jr. (m. Mary Hoskins) b. 1812 Highland Co., Ohio
Samuel Fisher (m. Effie Van Tassel) b. 1857 Clinton Co., Indiana
Florance C. Fisher Sr. (m. Grace Long) b. 1886 Jewell City, Kansas
Woodford P. Fisher (m. Dorothy Kelly) b. 1911 Helena, Oklahoma
Jackie L. Fisher (m. Janice Thornton) b. 1939 Jet, Oklahoma. Children Laura Lynn, Kevin Shawn, Jonathan Davis.

II. Dr. William Fisher of Baltimore/Cecil County

The Fishers of Bristol

The story of the first Fisher families of Maryland begins around the year 1650, and one of the main branches was founded by Dr. William Fisher of Virginia. However, the story may more properly begin among the merchants and shippers of Bristol, England, and therefore a sketch of the Fishers of Bristol is included here.

In 1621, William Fisher, butcher of St. Michaelmass Parish in the city of Bristol, left a will naming wife Joan, daughters Alice and Margaret, and a son of his wife named William Walker.

In 1662, Edward Fisher of the parish of St. Patrick left a will naming wife Katherine, sons John, James, Joseph, and Edward; and daughter Elizabeth Braker. In 1677, Joseph Fisher of St. Michaels in Bristol, clothier, left a will naming wife Anne and asking to be buried in the grave of his father in St. James. He had a house in Horse Street. He named brothers John of Portbury, glover, James of Stoke, and Edward of the city of Bristol; a sister Elizabeth Buff--, and a neice Marie, daughter of John Fisher. In 1703/1718, James Fisher of Bristol, grocer, left a will naming wife Christian, sons John and Francis; daughters Joanne Brewer wife of Christopher Brewer, Elizabeth Fisher, and Ann Mayden wife of James Mayden. He had land at Rudge, in the parish of Bennington in Somerset. In 1702, Francis Fisher of Winforth, Bristol, mercer, left a will naming his mother Christian Fisher and a brother William Fisher, executor.

Some of the Fishers of Bristol were Quakers. In 1702, Sarah Fisher was first engaged to Rodger Wallis of London, then married Jasper Lawrence of Bristol. A number of Fishers appear in the Quaker records of Bristol between 1672 and 1721, but there is nothing to suggest connections to the Virginia or Maryland Fishers.

In November of 1669, Thomas Fisher of Bristol, merchant, was appointed attorney in Maryland for Thomas Ellis, administrator for Richard Atkins who died intestate in “Maryland near Virginia.” At the same time, another letter of attorney appointed Thomas Fisher, Abraham Alley and John Luffe attorneys for Margaret Freeman of the City of Bristol, widow and relict of Thomas Freeman deceased, grocer.

In April of 1679, John Fisher was master of the ship “Maryland Merchant,” which lay at anchor in St. Georges River in St. Mary’s County. In 1690, Francis Fisher was one of the ship masters lying in Chesapeake Bay awaiting tobacco loading for a convoy to Bristol.

In 1656 Thomas Fisher married Sarah Dorrington, daughter of William Dorrington who had come in 1650 from Bristol to Calvert County and then settled on the eastern shore, in Dorchester County.

The Fishers of Virginia and Maryland

Some of the Fishers of Baltimore/Cecil County, Anne Arundel County, Talbot County and Calvert County in Maryland came from the Fishers of Rappahannock River, on the western side of lower Chesapeake Bay and below the Virginia/Maryland line. Francis Fisher came to Lancaster County, Virginia with wife Elizabeth (Underwood) in 1652, settling on the Rappahannock River and becoming a county justice before his death in 1656. In 1655, James Bonner paid transportation for his son James Bonner, Walter Bartlett, John Bradshaw, and William Fisher. The Bonner land was about 6 miles up the Rappahannock on the south side. A group of settlers on the north side of Great Choptank River, on the eastern shore of Maryland, were from the same area, being from the Nomeny River plantations on a branch of the Rappahannock, in Lancaster and Westmoreland counties, Virginia.

Francis Fisher of Rappahannock River may have been the father of William Fisher of Rappahannock River, and of the merchants Thomas, Francis and John Fisher of Bristol. Francis (the younger) was an active shipper and sometimes ship master between 1685 and 1715, transporting tobacco from Maryland and Virginia to England, frequently to the port of Bristol. Thomas Fisher of Bristol and the shipper John Fisher followed the same routes.

William Fisher of Rappahannock River, Virginia was probably active in Maryland as early as 1661. In February of that year, Francis Fisher, servant to – Cager, testified at the St. Mary’s County Court against William Black, who was accused of inciting the servants to poison their master. This may have been Francis, wife of William Fisher. William began to acquire property at the upper end of Chesapeake Bay in 1663, when he applied for a grant for “Fish Hall,” a tract of 225 acres in Kent County. The tract was surveyed in the following year, and was on the south side of the mouth of Sassafrass River, which is the border between Kent and Cecil County (then Baltimore County). William also obtained another tract of 225 acres at the same place, called “Salvaton” or “Salvatory,” and a tract of 100 acres from Godfrey Bayley, “Corcheston,” also at the same place.

In early 1664, William Fisher was probably still living in Virginia when he began to acquire additional land in Cecil (then Baltimore) County. He obtained four tracts at Poplar Neck on St. Alban’s Creek, apparently a branch of Back Creek on the south side of Elk River, in the Anglican parish of St. Stephens (North Sassafrax/Sassafrass).

William Fisher acquired a total of 1400 acres at the St. Alban’s site. In January of 1664 William Stanley, soapboiler, conveyed 300 acres to Oxelle Stille, at Poplar Neck, and a month later Oxelle Stille conveyed it to William Fisher. At about that time, William Fisher also took up 1000 acres at the same location on an original survey, and Thomas Cauker conveyed to him an additional 100 acres at the same place. These were probably tobacco plantations.

In 1665, William Fisher obtained a patent for “Albans,” a tract of 80 acres which was probably near his other Back Creek property.

By 1666, William Fisher had decided to dispose of most of the Cecil County property. In that year he conveyed the 225-acre tract “Salveton” to John Bromfield, and in March of 1667 he styled himself a “chirurgeon of Virginia” when he conveyed the 1400 acres at Elk River as “Poplar Neck,” with the consent of his wife Frances, to Henry Ward, mariner. The 80 acres called “Albans” was not sold, and was mentioned in 1734 and 1760 regarding heirs of William Fisher.

In 1668, Henry Downes and Richard Blunt were mentioned in Kent County regarding the sale of tobacco from Mr. William Fisher. William Fisher still owned the Sassafrass River property, on the Kent County side, until at least 1672. Adjoining landowners were Henry and Parnell Eldeslely, planters of Baltimore County, who assigned their land next to the line of William Fisher, to James Wrath of Baltimore County. At about that time, Mary Fisher was transported by William Peirce of Cecil County.

Dr. William Fisher may have been the same who acquired land on the north side of Great Choptank River, in lower Talbot County. In December of 1670, Richard White assigned to William Fisher and Edward Roper “Double Ridge,” a tract of 360 acres laid out for Andrew Skinner on the north side of Great Choptank River, at the head of the western branch of Bollingbroke Creek (See Chapter VI, William Fisher of Bollingbroke Creek). In 1672, Dr. Fisher also may have been the same William who was assigned a 50-acre tract on the south side of Great Choptank called “Raxall,” by William Willowby of Dorchester County, plasterer, and John Stratton of Dorchester County, planter, to William Fisher. The tract was returned by William Fisher to William Willowby and wife Hannah in 1673.

In 1680, either Dr. William Fisher or his son, also a chyrurgeon, was named assignor of public lands in Cecil County. In the same year, Richard Chilman’s probate named Nathaniel Fisher, John Bromfield and others who may have been relatives.

By 1682, Dr. Fisher the elder probably had moved to Anne Arundel County, on the western shore. In that year, he was named in the inventory of John Watkins of Anne Arundel County, and was appraiser for Major Samuell Lane of the same county. By 1683, he was resident in St. James Parish, Anne Arundel County.

Dr. William Fisher died before 23 February 1683, when an inventory of his estate in Anne Arundel County was probated. The debt list included John Willobey, John Gray and Thomas Eldersbey. In August 1686, the administration of John Gray of Ann Arundel County mentioned a payment to the estate of Dr. William Fisher, deceased. No will for Dr. William Fisher has been found.

In 1685, the “Salvatory/Salveton” tract on the Sassafrass, in Cecil County, was patented to Dr. William Fisher the younger. It had been deeded earlier to John Bromfield, who may have been a relative.

In 1692, John Wagstafe, blacksmith of Anne Arundel County, mentioned Mary Fisher in a bequest. This was probably Mary, wife of Dr. William Fisher the younger. Mary may have been a daughter of John Wagstafe. William (the younger) and Mary Fisher were members of the St. Stephens Anglican church in North Sassafras Parish, and the birth of their son Joseph was recorded there in 1704. The church was between the Sassafras and Elk rivers, at the head of Bohemia River.

In December of 1696, John Fisher of Calvert County was administrator for Dr. Simon Wotten who died in Jamaica. John Fisher filed the account in May of 1701. This was probably John, brother of Dr. William Fisher the younger.

In October of 1704 in St. James Parish, William (Fisher) was born to Jane Hill, servant to Edmund Evens, by Dr.William Fisher. William & Jane married and had children John (1709) and Martha (1712). Jane was apparently his second wife, Mary being the first.

In 1711, William Fisher was mentioned in several probates. He was appraiser for the estate of James Redfern, of Calvert County; he was mentioned in the probate of Edward Larramore of Cecil County; and the probate of William Hopper of Queene Anne’s County. Both William and Thomas Fisher were mentioned in the probate of John Foulks of Queen Anne’s County. About the same time, William Fisher was mentioned in the probate of Henry Darnell of Anne Arundel County.

Records of the Fishers of Anne Arundel County appear in the parish registers of St. James Parish, St. Anne’s and All Hallows. Dr. William Fisher (the younger) apparently married a third time, to Elizabeth --. William & Elizabeth Fisher of St. Anne’s were parents of Stephen in 1717. Elizabeth Fisher who married John Moonshaw in 1727 may have been the widow of William.
William and Sarah Fisher had children William (1734), and James (1736). A William Fisher married Elizabeth Child, (1776). Lewis Fisher married Mary Childs (1784). Martin and Eleanor Fisher had children William (1729), Martha (1732), Abraham (1735), and Martin (1738). Eleanor Fisher married John Sarde at All Hallows (1720).

Abraham Fisher, who left a will in Anne Arundel County in 1717, was probably from Dr. Fisher’s family. He left everything to John and Elizabeth Standforth of St. James Parish.

In 1718, William Fisher was appraiser for Mary Price of Anne Arundel County. This may have been Mary (Fisher) who had been a servant to William Peirce (Price?) in Cecil County.

Dr. William Fisher the younger died in Ann Arundel County in 1719 or 1720. The church record says he was buried 2 March 1720 in St. James Parish. An inventory of his estate in Ann Arundel County was dated April 1719, and another inventory, for his estate in Prince George County, is not dated but is filed with 1720 records.

Another possible descendant of Dr. William Fisher (the elder) was John Fisher, who left a will in Calvert County in 1702, naming a brother William Fisher. (See Chapter VII.)

Thomas Fisher who died in Talbot County in 1698, with property on Kent Island, is another probable son of Dr. William Fisher. (See Chapter III.) Anne Fisher, probably his wife, was administratrix of his estate. One orphan was mentioned but not named.

The Fishers of Cecil County were closely associated with the Ward, Herman, Frisby and Robinson families. William Ward left the 1400 acres on Back Creek (obtained from Dr. William Fisher the elder) to his daughter Margaret, but left another tract to Sarah Frisby, mother-in-law of Thomas Robinson. The Robinsons, Frisbys, Hermans, Wards and Fishers were members of St. Stephens Anglican Church. William Ward named sisters (in-law?) Ariana, Francina and Augustine, who were probably sisters of Ephram Augustine Herman, a dutch merchant from Manhatten (Utrecht) in New Amsterdam. The Hermans settled in Cecil County before 1660. James Frisby married Ariana – (probably Ward or Herman); his sister Sarah Frisby married Thomas Robinson. Thomas Fisher and Thomas Robinson obtained a joint land warrant from William Penn in 1701 for a tract in Kennett, Chester County, Pennsylvania; both were probably of the Cecil County families. (See Chapter VIII.)

III. Thomas Fisher of Tuckahoe River

In 1682 Thomas Fisher of Bristol, England represented the estate of Richard Adkins against John Alfor, John Richardson, and Nicholas Hackett of Talbot County, in a protracted court suit. He probably decided to remain in Maryland soon afterwards. He witnessed a transaction in November of 1683 for John Sharp of St. John’s Creek, Delaware, for property on the north side of Great Choptank River, at the lower end of Talbot County. Earlier in the same year, Andrew Hambleton, taylor, and Jane his wife sold to Thomas Bee, part of a tract called “Freshford” on a branch of Island Creek on the south side of Chester River, toward the upper source of Tuckahoe Creek. In September of 1685, “Freshford,” a tract of 2000 acres, was patented by Thomas Fisher, gentleman.

In February of 1685, Thomas Fisher was named in the probate for Edward Rogers of Kent County. Later that year, Thomas Fisher was named in the probate of Mark Cordea of St. Mary’s County, along with John Bromfield and Henry Bonner. Mark Cordea had been in a lawsuit in 1679 with the ship captain John Fisher, who settled in Calvert County. John Bromfield had numerous connections with Dr. William Fisher of Baltimore/Cecil County. For these and other reasons, Thomas Fisher of Tuckahoe and John Fisher of Calvert County should be considered possible sons of Dr. William Fisher. (See Chapter II.)

In August of 1685, Joseph Billittor, plasterer, assigned to Thomas Fisher of Talbot County, “Hackett’s Garden,” a tract of 600 acres on the east side of Tuckahoe Creek. This may have been somewhere near the present boundary between Queen Anne and Talbot Counties, at a bridge crossing. It was then all part of Talbot County, and became part of the home plantations of the Fishers. In September of the same year, Thomas Fisher was granted a patent for “Coddshead Manor,” a tract of 2,000 acres, partly in Talbot and partly in Dorchester County; the Dorchester County part now being part of Caroline County.

Thomas Fisher’s land holdings were mostly between the forks of the Choptank River, the northwest fork being Tuckahoe River. “Freshford” was probably at the upper extent of the forks, almost to Chester River, while “Codshead Manor” and other tracts were closer to the fork, partly in the northern part of Dorchester County before Caroline County was created from that area. Codshead Manor must have been partly on the west side of the Tuckahoe, a corner of it perhaps extending to where Route 404 now rosses the river, lying in Talbot County at first but in Queen Anne’s when that county was created from northern parts of Talbot. In August of 1688 Thomas bought “Long (Large) Range,” a tract of 147 acres, in Talbot County near his other tracts. In December of that year Thomas was allowed 10,000 pounds of tobacco for “the building of Tuckahoe Bridge and his servant’s labor.” In 1697 he was appointed Constable of Tuckahoe Hundred.

In September of 1689, Thomas Fisher petitioned for runaway time of his servant John Bishop. In the following year, he was a witness to when Captain John Switt, Mariner of London assigned to Richard Dudley 200 acres “in the woods at the head of a branch of Tuckahoe Creek.”

In December of 1690 John Paddison of Talbot County, planter, and Elizabeth his wife sold part of “Taylor’s Ridge,” at the head of St. Michael’s Creek on the north side of Great Choptank River, at the lower end of Talbot County. Thomas Fisher was one of the examiners to confirm the wife’s concurrence. In December of 1691, Benjamin Bond and Thomas Fisher were sureties for the probate of Gustavus Steward of Anne Arundel County, and in April 1693 was mentioned in the probate of Joseph Heathcott of Baltimore County (which included Cecil County at that time).

In February of 1694, Thomas Fisher was a witness to the probate of Robert Owens in Anne Arundel County. In October of 1697, Thomas Fisher, constable of Tuckahoe Hundred, charged Hannah Neal, wife of Morris Neal, and Mary Cooper, wife of William Cooper, with “breach of the Lord’s day by fighting.”

Thomas Fisher, founder of the Tuckahoe Fisher family, died in 1698. On November 16, 1698, Ann Fisher filed an administration in Kent Island, for Thomas Fisher of Talbot County. An inventory was filed in Kent Island July 22, 1699. One orphan was mentioned but not named. No will has been found.


Thomas Fisher the elder of Talbot County had at least one son Thomas, whose family is well documented as possessing the lands of the elder Thomas. Thomas Fisher the younger was already of age when his father died, but any other issue are unknown.

In January of 1699, while his father was still alive, Thomas Fisher and his wife Sarah conveyed to Richard Feddeman 600 acres called Hackett's Garden, on the north side of Choptank River and east side of Tuccahoe Creek adjacent to Hackett's Creek. This property was obtained by his father in 1685. In April of 1700, Thomas Fisher was mentioned in the probate of Samuel Withers of Talbot County.

In March of 1709, Mr. Thomas Fisher was named overseer of the highways from Elizaabeth Town to Tuckahoe Bridge. In April of 1709, he was named as a creditor in the account of Peter Watts, deceased. An appraiser for that account was William Jump, whose heirs would later intermarry with the Fishers. In the same year, Thomas Fisher was named Overseer of Highways from Elizabeth Town to Tuckahoe Bridge. In 1710, Thomas Fisher and Charles Farrow witnessed the will of William Jump. In 1718, Thomas was named as a creditor in the account of John Lawrence, deceased.

In 1720, Thomas Fisher witnessed the will of Charles Wright, was appraiser for Edward Loyd’s estate, was named a creditor (with Thomas Baynard, a Quaker from Blackdon in Somersetshire) in the account of Henry Aler deceased, and was named a Justice for Queen Anne County.

In 1721, Thomas Fisher and Thomas Baynard were appraisers for the estate of George Bowes, deceased. (George Bowes was probably a Quaker.)

Thomas Fisher, planter, left a Queen Anne County (formerly Talbot County) will in 1721. His will names wife Sarah, sons Thomas, John, Joseph, Richard, William, and Flower; and daughters Susannah, Jane, Elizabeth, Sarah and Mary. Legacies included “Suffolk,” a tract of 680 acres on Tuckahoe River where sons Thomas and John lived; “Little Worth,” two tracts to son Joseph -- 100 acres near the ford at the head of the Choptank and part of “Cods Head Manor,” 66 acres lying on both sides of the Choptank; part of “Large Range, on east side of Tuckahoe, to son Richard with dwelling and plantation; residue of “Large Range” to son Richard with dwelling and plantation; part of “Cod’s Head Manor” to son Flower; legacies to the daughters; and use of personal estate by the widow and her thirds if she should marry. A legacy to “friend William Starkey” suggests a connection to the Quakers of Tuckahoe River.

The account of Thomas Fisher’s estate names him as “Captain Thomas Fisher” of Queen Anne’s County. Like many of the large landholders, he was an officer in the Maryland Militia in the service of Great Britain. The account mentions a servant Robert Keslile, appraisers Andrew Price and Thomas Baynard, creditors M. Carmichall and Evan Evans, next of kin John and Joseph Fisher. Probate was dated 1 March 1722.

Most, if not all of the heirs of Thomas Fisher remained on the family tracts for many years. They appear frequently in the records of Queen Anne’s County and upper Dorchester County. In 1723, servants Thomas and Samuel Fisher (boys) are mentioned in the will of Samuel Turbett of Queen Anne’s County. The parentage of the boys is not clear. In 1724, Thomas Fisher (probable son of Thomas) was appraiser for the estate of Jacob Pigg. Also in 1724, Richard Dowman “late of St. Pauls Parish in Queen Anne’s County,” laborer, was accused of stealing goods from the house of Sarah Fisher (probably the widow of Thomas).

In 1726, Joseph Fisher and his wife Sarah conveyed to Richard Chance of Talbot County, 100 acres called “Littleworth,” on the eastern branch of Great Choptank River called Dickenson’s branch; also part of “Codshead Manor,” inherited by Joseph from his father Thomas, to William Starkey, carpenter. In 1734, they conveyed 100 acres called “Fisher’s Chance” and part of “Codshead Manor” adjacent to James Millis. Parts of these tracts had belonged to John Fisher, son of Thomas.

Joseph, John and Henry Fisher appear in the 1739 to 1742 debt books of Dorchester County, regarding tracts named “Fisher’s Discovery,” “Fisher’s Adventure,” “Range”, and “Small Profit.” It is not known if these were descendants of the Tuckahoe Fishers.

In 1730 Elizabeth Fisher, widow of Richard, married John Baynard, son of Thomas Baynard. In the following year Thomas Fisher, eldest son of Thomas Sr. conveyed 1/3 of “Large Range,” the legacy of Richard Fisher deceased from their father, to John Baynard and wife Elizabeth. Richard Fisher apparently had a son Thomas. In 1740, a reference is made to part of Large Range Addition, on the east side of Tuckahoe Creek and adjacent to William Jump, bought of Thomas Fisher, heir to Richard Fisher deceased.

Thomas, son of Thomas Sr. and brother of Richard, named a wife Easter (Esther) when he conveyed some of the family property to John Baynard in 1740. A relative Sarah Awsiter is mentioned but her relationship is not clear.

In 1741, a deposition by Robert Carlile in Queen Anne’s County mentions Thomas Fisher deceased, Richard Fisher, William Fisher and Mrs. Sarah Fisher. A deposition by Joseph Fisher in the same year gives his age as 42, mentions his brothers Richard and William Fisher, his deceased father and Elizabeth Fisher. A deposition by Elizabeth Fisher, age 27 in 1741, mentions her brother Richard Fisher and her sister Susanna Fisher.

In 1743, the will of Sarah Fisher of Dorchester County mentions sons Joseph and Thomas and was witnessed by John Burton Scully, Mary (Elizabeth) Carroll, and Flower Fisher.

In 1745, the will of James Boon of Queen Anne’s County mentions land leased to Thomas Fisher.

In 1748, Thomas Fisher of Queen Anne’s County named a wife Esther, sons James and Richard; and land on the forks of Choptank River on the east side of the main branch of Tuckahoe Creek, called Fisher Meadows. Witnesses were Christopher Wise, Abigail Wise, Elizabeth Fisher and John Mayne. Henry Fisher had patented Fisher’s meadows, 40 acres, in 1726 and is assumed to be part of this family.

In 1756, John Fisher (probable grandson of Thomas Fisher who founded the Tuckahoe Fishers) and his wife Sophia mortgaged 600 acres, Codshead Manour, part in Queen Anne’s County and part in Dorchester County, to Benjamin Kendall of the City of Philadelphia. John Fisher had “lately purchased” the tract from Henry Bacom.

In 1756, the widow Lydia Fisher and her son James Fisher leased to William Dockery a mill and land on French Woman’s Branch in Queen Anne’s County, with a provision contingent upon naming William Dockery as guardian of James Fisher.

In 1759, William Fisher of Queen Anne’s County, son of Thomas, left a will naming sisters Mary Fisher, Elizabeth Blunt, Jane Fisher, and Sarah Mayne. This seems to be William, son of the founder Thomas Fisher. Tracts mentioned were Codshead Manour in Dorchester County and Fisher’s Meadow in Tuckahoe neck. Executors were sisters Jane Fisher and Mary Joynt. Witnesses were James, Richard, and John Fisher and William Sergt. Kitteridge.

In 1763 Henry Bacom of Somerset County, New Jersey, hatter, conveyed tracts to John Fisher including Bangor, 300 acres adjacent to Bear Garden, and part of Coddshead Mannor granted to Thomas Fisher in 1685, 1000 acres devised by Thomas Fisher to his granddaughters Susanna and Mary Ross.

In 1764 Richard Fisher conveyed land to James Chaires.

In 1767 a valuation was made of 300 acres called Suffolk and 163 acres called Fisher’s Plains, the right of William Fisher; James Webb, guardian, Queen Anne’s County.

In 1768, Jane (Jean) Fisher of Queen Anne’s County, daughter of Thomas Fisher, left a will naming children John Fisher and cousins Ann Cox, Benjaman Blunt, William and Richard Fisher and Sarah Cook; brothers Richard Blunt, sisters Elizabeth Blunt and Mary Fisher. Executrix was Mary Fisher, witnesses Thomas Russell, William Harrington, and Henry Harrington.

Also in 1768, a valuation was made of 177 acres, part of Fishers Meadows, the right of James Fisher, minor, Nathan Whitbey, guardian, Queen Anne’s County.

In 1789 Richard Fisher of Calvert County, son of Thomas Fisher, age 54 in 1789, mentions his brothers Thomas and John Fisher and the heirs of John Fisher. This Richard Fisher would likely be a grandson of the founders Thomas and Sarah Fisher of Tuckahoe River.

IV. Edward and William Fisher of Nanticoke River

Edward Fisher apparently came to St. Mary’s County in 1674 with his wife Anne; son Edward and wife Catharine; and younger son William, all in service for about 7 years to pay for their passage. They may have been related to the Edward Fisher who left a will in Bristol, England in 1662, naming sons John, James, Joseph and Edward. Less probably, they may have come from the north of England. An early Quaker of northwest Lancashire, at Swarthmore was Edward Fisher, who had a son William. Persecutions of an Edward Fisher of North Yorkshire, at Darlington are recorded in the Quaker records. John Fisher of Lewes, in Delaware, who came from Lancashire, is believed to have had a brother Edward. Samuel Fisher, who was indentured in Maryland in 1675 may have been a relative, but does not appear further in the records that have been found.

In January of 1675, Edward Fisher was a witness to the will of Patrick Forrest of St. George’s Hundred in St. Mary’s County, Maryland. In 1676, William Burgess left a widow Ann, formerly Ann Fisher, who was probably a relative of Edward Fisher. In 1676, Edward Fisher witnessed the will of John Hudson of Dorchester County. In 1678, Edward and his first wife Ann were reported as still being in service in St. Mary’s County. In the same year, Edward was witness to the sale of land on the Transquaking River in Dorchester County, by John Reed to Jonathan Bateman, both of Northumberland County in Virginia.

In May of 1679 Nathan Fisher, a probable relative of Edward Fisher, was mentioned in the probate of Thomas Evans in St. Mary’s County.

In June of 1681, a report was read at a council at the Chancelor’s house at St. Peter’s (presumed St. Peter’s on the north side of Great Choptank River in lower Talbot County) that Thomas Harpin, Charles Hutchins and Edward Fisher had been to the fort at Nanticote in Dorchester County, and found that the Indian men had left their women and children there with no food or belongings. At about that time, Edward Fisher was awarded 600 pounds of pork and a quantity of tobacco for his service in the Indian uprising.

In 1682, Edward Fisher of St. Mary’s acquired three lots on the eastern shore in Dorchester County, on the Nanticoke River. He may have used the land only for tobacco planting at that time. Three tracts were surveyed to Edward Fisher, cooper of St. Mary’s. “Fisher’s Title,” a tract of 100 acres was “at the head of a great beaver dam branch that issues out of the south side of Chicamacomico River.” About 3 miles to the east, two adjoining tracts on a bend of the Nanticoke River were called “Fisher’s Landing” and “Weston.” The Nanticoke property was on the north side of a bend which is now called Lewis Landing, and can be reached via Lewis Landing Road

In April of 1687 Edward Fisher, planter of St. Marys, acquired a tract of 100 acres called “Nuthead’s Choice” across the bay on the eastern shore, in Talbot County. This was probably another plantation acquisition of Edward Fisher the elder, who probably still resided in St. Mary’s County. In June of 1687 both Edward and Thomas Fisher (possibly Thomas of Blackwater River, see Chapter V.) were mentioned in the probate of John Baker. Also that year, Edward Fisher was mentioned in the probate of Mr. Thomas Jackson of St. Mary’s County.

In July of 1688, the first mention of Edward’s brother William is made, in the probate of John Edwards of Dorchester County. In 1699 William is mentioned again, in the inventory of John Russell. William was probably younger than Edward, and came of age at about this time, since his children were all minors in 1698.

In 1689, Edward Fisher was mentioned in the probate of Thomas Dew, county unknown.

In November of 1690, Edward Fisher became a trustee owner, with William Stephens and William Kennerly, of one acre of land and a meeting house for the Quakers at Transquaking River in Dorchester County. This property was part of a larger tract called “Exchange,” which was not far from the other properties of Edward.

In 1694, the inhabitants and representatives of St. Mary’s, on the western shore of the Chesapeake, presented a petition to protest a proposal to move the provincial seat from St. Mary’s to a more central location. One of the signers was Edward Fisher. Edward (the elder) probably died soon after, although no will or probate record has been found.


About 1695, Edward Fisher (the younger) and wife Catherine probably settled on “Nuthead’s Choice,” the Tuckahoe River tract in Talbot County, among the Quakers who were active there. In 1697, the Quakers at Tuckahoe River Meeting recorded the death of Catharine Fisher, probable widow of Edward Fisher (the younger).

In November of 1698, Edward Fisher of Dorchester County, planter, assigned to Joshua Kennerly, son of William Kennerly late of Dorchester County, deceased, his right to “Fishers Title,” the tract of 100 acres on the Chicocomico which was acquired in 1682 by Edward the elder. (Joshua Kennerly sold this tract in 1712 to Thomas Tackett, who had been named overseer of William Fisher’s will in the minority of William’s son Thomas.)

On January 8, 1699 Edward Fisher, planter, married a second time, to Frances Willis, widow of Richard Willis, at the Quaker meeting house near Tuckahoe Creek in Talbot County. Their marriage certificate contains the names of 18 witnesses, none of whom are known relatives of either. Signers included Jon and Hannah Jadwin (from Virginia), Edward and Jane Clark, Benjamin and Elizabeth Parrott, William and Mary Sockwell, George Bowes, John Pitt, Thomas Bartlet, Jane Estell, Elizabeth Harwood, Sarah Wilson, James Ridly, George Goult, Robert Regester, and Jon Bowman. Edward and Francis settled on Edward’s Nanticoke plantation, where Edward’s brother William was probably already settled. Francis had several teen-aged children from her previous marriage. There were no children of this marriage. Edward died barely 2 years later.

In the spring of 1700, Edward and Francis Fisher sold to William Clark 1000 acres on the south side of Broad Creek, apparently referring to a branch of the upper northwest Nanticoke. Power of attorney for the sale was given to “Thomas Fisher” for the sale. When purchased, the site was probably part of old Somerset County, Maryland, but by 1700 it was in the southwest corner of Sussex County, now Delaware but then annexed to Pennsylvania. It is not known if the agent was one of the Maryland Thomas Fishers, or perhaps Thomas, son of John and Margaret Fisher of Broadkill Creek near Lewes in Sussex County (a different stream but also sometimes called Broad Creek.). In the fall of the same year, Edward Fisher wrote his will. It is interesting to note that William Clark of Sussex County had other Fisher connections. His wife was Honor Clark. Honour Fisher, widow with daughter Susan, married Robert Bedwell of Kent County, Delaware before 1683. James Fisher purchased 100 acres on Broad Creek from William Clark, in 1702. Thomas and Honour Bedwell sold 75 acres in Milford, Sussex County, to John Fisher in 1713. In 1717, Elias Fisher was witness to a land transfer by Honor Bedwell. William Fisher, Assembly Man for Sussex County, Delaware, had two sons, John and Elias, and sold property at Milford to William Bennet of Maryland, in 1700.

The brothers Edward and William Fisher served their indentures as tradesmen before becoming planters. William was a tailor, and Edward was a cooper (barrel-maker). Edward (the younger) was known to be a devout Quaker, making his home place a haven of hospitality to all passing Quakers. The language of William’s will indicates that he was (or had been) a Quaker, e.g. the naming of “overseers” usually meant Quaker friends; however, there are indications that he married out of the Quaker discipline.

The Fisher brothers were surrounded by tobacco plantations, and bales of tobacco were a common substitute for currency. Edward had several tracts in Maryland, and a large tract in the southwest corner of Delaware (perhaps laid out before the Delaware line was drawn.) William appears to have been younger than Edward, and apparently had no land other than a homestead on Edward’s plantation. It is clear from the records that William and Edward were tobacco growers. Edward paid a tobacco levy in 1681 of 300 pounds, and William’s probate record lists payments in terms of tobacco quantities.

If there were children of Edward’s previous marriage, they are not mentioned in any records that have been found. If there were surviving children, they may have all been women who changed their names by marriage. Any Fisher heirs were evidently already provided for or deceased by 1700. We can guess that Fishers not otherwise accounted for were issue of Edward and Ann or Katharine. Possible descendants were Edward Fisher who died in St. Mary’s County in 1712, and Patrick Fisher who died in 1720, also in St. Mary’s County.

Edward Fisher’s will was written in October of 1700 and probated in March of 1701. He died at Nanticoke River, in Dorchester County, leaving 5 shillings to brother William, a ewe sheep to each of William’s 4 children, and 2 shillings to a sister-in-law Thomasin. He left “Fisher’s Landing” to his wife Frances. No mention is made of the children of Francis by her former marriage to Richard Willis.

William Fisher left a Dorchester County will written in October of 1698, naming son Thomas executor “at majority,” with overseers named in the interim (friends William Smith and Thomas Thacher). William was still alive in October of 1700, when he was mentioned in his brother Edward’s will. William died before March of 1702, when his will was probated. The will names one son, Thomas, and daughters Jane, Mary and Sarah. (Published abstracts of his brother Edward Fisher’s will mention a son of William named James, but this is a misreading of “Jane.”) A wife is mentioned, mother of all the children, but not named. She is presumed to be the sister-in-law Thomasin mentioned in Edward Fisher’s will. William left two horses, his house and “Fisher’s Landing more or less” to his son Thomas, with reversion equally to wife and daughters should Thomas not reach maturity. Fisher’s Landing was a few miles upstream from the mouth of the Nanticote River, on the northwest side of about the third bend below the present town of Vienna, Maryland.

The William Dies mentioned in William Fisher’s will may have been from an Anne Arundel County family. In 1684 Thomas Hooker of Ann Arundel County, planter assigned to Michel Wyman of Talbot County, planter, a tract on the south side of Great Choptank River, in Dorchester County. A witness John Dyne may have been related to William “Dies” mentioned in William Fisher’s will.

William Fisher’s wife appears to have died soon after William, since the court appointed his sister-in-law Francis Fisher, widow of Edward, to administer William’s estate during the minority of William’s son Thomas. The account of his estate is dated September 1703, and states that at that time Thomas was still under age. Over 3000 pounds of tobacco were paid out for debts. People mentioned in the account were James Lockerman Jr. (Sheriff), Jeremiah Barroclough, Mr. John Kirke, Jeane Crosby, John Roper, Thomas Daniel, John Taylor, Thomas Hicks, and Lawrence Course. The overseers who were empowered by William’s will are not mentioned.

In his will, William Fisher mentioned cows and sheep belonging to daughter Jane, who had received the cows from “William Dier (or Dies), deceased.” It would be interesting to discover if this was the William Dyer who had come from Rhode Island and Boston to Sussex County, Delaware and had business associations with the Lewes Fishers and the Standfields of Philadelphia and Chester County, Pennsylvania. A John Dyer appears in the land records of Dorchester County, with land on the west side of the northwest branch of the Nanticote River.

It is unclear just what part of “Fisher’s Landing” was William Fisher’s claim. Edward Fisher left the original 50-acre tract to his wife Frances in 1700. When William wrote his will in 1698, he left the same tract “more or less” to his son Thomas, a minor, probably meaning “part,” but his will was not read until 1702. In March of 1703 Frances Fisher, widow of Edward, bought the adjacent land, a tract of 200 acres, from Thomas and Elizabeth Daniel, and in September of 1706 obtained a patent for the adjacent 53-acre tract “Fisher’s Landing Addition.” In 1714, the orphaned daughters of William Fisher (Jane, Mary and Sarah), still unmarried, assigned their interest in Fisher’s Landing to their aunt, Francis Fisher, widow of Edward, along with one acre from the adjoining tract “Weston.” From these actions it seems that Thomas, son of William, may have ceded his claim (with no known legal filing) prior to 1714, then his sisters in 1714 ceded theirs. Frances Fisher eventually ceded all the lands to her Willis sons by her first marriage.

Edward Fisher’s will of 1700 specifies a cryptic “two shillings and no more” legacy to a “sister-in-law” Thomasin Fisher. Thomasin was probably William Fisher’s wife, and there are indications that she had Robinson connections. Church of England marriage banns were posted in 1676 in Somerset County, for Tamazine Rideaux and John Robinson. If she were widowed and married again to William Fisher, Edward Fisher’s dislike of his sister-in-law would be understandable, considering his Quaker principles. (Other sources say the name was Prideaux. In 1676, Thomasin Prideaux was a resident of Somerset County. Thomas Ceely’s will of the same year says he was of “Cornwall, England and St. Mary’s County, ” and had a sister-in-law named Honor Prideaux. Honor Prideaux could be the Honor who married William Clark, who bought Edward Fisher’s large tract in Delaware in 1700.) Other possible relatives of Thomasin Fisher were Thomasin Boulding, wife of Samuel of St. Stephens Parish, Cecil County in 1714; Thomasin, widowed by Nathaniel Stinshcomb in 1673, Ann Arundell County; Thomasin Hart, who married George Andrews in 1672, Somerset County; Thomasin Hopkins, widow of Gerard Hopkins of Anne Arundel County, or her daughter Thomasin; or Thomasin Hayden of St. Marys County, who was widowed in 1702.

“First Dorchester Families” says that William Fisher of Dorchester County married Elizabeth Scott, daughter of Thomas Scott. This is almost certainly not the case. See Chapter IV, regarding Alexander Fisher I of Blackwater River, son of Thomas Fisher and Sarah Dorrington.

The widow Francis Fisher was left with responsibility for her four children by her previous marriage to Richard Willis, and may have also taken in the four children of William Fisher, at least for a while. She apparently never married again, and fortunately had substantial assets from Edward Fisher’s estate.

In 1703, the widow Frances Fisher bought the adjacent 200-acre tract “Bartholomews,” from Thomas and Elizabeth Daniel. In 1706, she patented the adjacent 53-acre tract “Fishers Landing Addition.” In 1718, Frances Fisher conveyed all the tracts “Weston,” “Addition to Fishers Landing,” “Bartholomews”, and “Fishers Landing,” a total of 353 acres, to her sons Richard and John Willis. By 1756, all the tracts were owned by Philip Covington and his wife Mary.

Frances Fisher appears in the records of the Transquaking Quaker meeting. In 1704, she was at the wedding of William Foukes and Mary Foster. In 1712, Frances Fisher was present when her son John Willis married Margaret Cox, and in the same year she witnessed the marriage of Nehemiah Beckwith and Frances Taylor.

In 1713, Francis Fisher was mentioned in the probate of Alice Kennerly.

In 1714 Frances Fisher of Dorchester County assigned to Richard and John Willis of the same county, her sons, “Weston” containing 50 acres, “Addition to Fisher’s Landing” containing 53 acres, “Bartholomews” containing 200 acres, and “Fisher’s Landing” containing 50 acres.

Francis Fisher made a will in February 1724 but probably lived until 1729, when the will was probated. Her children by her first husband were sons Richard (b. 1684) and John (b. 1686), and daughters Frances (b. 1688) and Mary. The daughter Francis married Edward Newton. John Willis married Margaret Cox in 1712 in a Quaker ceremony. Mary Willis seems to have married Joseph Thompson. A deposition in Somerset County in 1734 attested that Richard Hacker of Somerset County was father in law to Richard Willis.

No proof has been found that Edward and William Fisher of Dorchester County were connected to the other branches of the early Fisher families of Chesapeake Bay.

A Robinson connection could be a clue to what happened to Thomas Fisher, son of William and (possibly) Thomasin. In June of 1676, marriage banns were recorded for John Robinson and Thomasin Rideaux (Prideaux) in Somerset County. The birth of Thomas Robeson, son of John and Elizabeth, was recorded at the same place on January 21, 1677. In early 1701, Thomas Robinson and Thomas Fisher received a joint land warrant from William Penn, for 300 acres “near the Brandywine” in Pennsylvania. One possibility is that Thomas Fisher, son of William, came of age prior to 1713, went into eastern Pennsylvania, married Elizabeth Huntley, and settled on the Robinson/Fisher tract in Chester County, in Kennett Township. (See Chapter VIII, Thomas Robinson and Thomas Fisher.)

View Photos by Sophie and Robert Fisher of Flint, Michigan. (1) Vienna, Md; (2) Lewis Landing Road, (3-5) Fisher’s Landing, now called Lewis Landing. Nanticote River, July 2000.

Fisher's Landing #1, Fisher's Landing #2, Fisher's Landing #3, Fisher's Landing #4, Fisher's Landing #5.

V. Thomas Fisher of Blackwater River

Thomas Fisher of Dorchester County married Sarah, daughter of William Dorrington, about 1662. William Dorrington had immigrated to Calvert County from Bristol, England in 1655, and settled later across the bay in Dorchester County. The daughter Sarah was about 12 years old at the time of immigration, and was indentured to Thomas Manning. Her mother was deceased or died soon after. William Dorrington’s first wife in Maryland was Anne Johnson, widow of Captain Peter Johnson, an officer who had served in the militia during the Puritan uprising. When Anne (Johnson) Dorrington died, William married Elizabeth Winsloe. Elizabeth was the mother of William and Anne Dorrington, and possibly of Joseph Dorrington of Kent County.

Another relative of the Dorringtons was probably Francis Dorrington, who apparently married Dorothy Robinson, widow of Henry Robinson. An inventory for Francis Dorrington, deceased was filed in Calvert County in May of 1684.

From a land record of 1688, it is apparent that William Dorrington was a Quaker. He named the Quakers as legatees in the event his sons had no heirs.

Thomas Fisher and wife Sarah probably lived first on William Dorrington’s plantation on Great Choptank River, near the present town of Cambridge and near Little Choptank River above the upper reaches of Blackwater River. In 1671, William Dorrington transferred 100 acres of that land, in Dorchester County, to Thomas Fisher and Sarah his wife. In early 1669, Thomas Fisher had surveyed to him “Fisher’s Chance,” a tract of 200 acres further inland, on the east side of the Blackwater River main branch.

In 1677/8, Robert Carville, attorney for Thomas Fisher and Company, brought suit against John Brooke, administrator for William Worgan deceased, for payment of goods and merchandise valued at 15,388 pounds of tobacco which had been delivered in 1675. This may have been Thomas Fisher of Blackwater River.

Thomas and Sara (Dorrington) Fisher had a known son Dorrington, born about 1656. Alexander Fisher, born about the same time, was almost certainly another son. Other possible sons were William and Joseph Fisher, who had land near Little Choptank River.

Thomas Fisher of Blackwater River died around the beginning of 1680. No will has been found, but on April 3, 1680 an inventory was filed in Dorchester County for Thomas Fisher, deceased. Appraisers were John Kirke and Thomas Flowers. Sarah Fisher, widow of Thomas, married Thomas Foulke, who came from Accomac County, Virginia.

On April 9, 1680, an inventory was filed for William Worgan. The coincidence of the inventories for Thomas Fisher and William Worgan suggests that they may have died together, perhaps in a shipping accident. Some of the names mentioned in the Worgan inventory were John Rawlins, William Willobey, Thomas Scott, William Fisher, William Robinson, the account of Thomas Fisher deceased, -- Dorrington, and Anthony Hardacre. Some of the names suggest connections to the Blackwater and Bollingbroke Fisher families. The Rawlings and Scott families were later connected by marriage to the Blackwater Fishers; William Willobey, William Fisher and William Robinson were among the Virginia landholders on Bollingbroke Creek who settled on the Blackwater; and Thomas Fisher of Blackwater River married into the Dorrington family. A Samuel Hardacre, Quaker, and a Thomas Fisher were both in a militia company sent to Barbados in 1679.

Dorrington Fisher, Son of Thomas and Sarah (Dorrington) Fisher

Dorrington Fisher, son of Thomas and Sarah (Dorrington) Fisher, married Rachel, believed to be a daughter of Pettygrew Saulsbury. In 1676, Dorrington Fisher re-surveyed and enlarged to 315 acres his father’s tract on the eastern side of Blackwater River (“Fisher’s Choice”). He later sold 200 acres of this tract to William Abbot. Known issue were Sarah, Mary, and a daughter of unknown name. A Dorothy Fisher is mentioned in the “Fisher’s Choice” land record, and is probably the unknown daughter, widowed by John Stephens of Blackwater River in 1689. Dorrington Fisher died in 1713. In 1717, John Stevens conveyed land on the south side of the Great Choptank River to his heirs. He mentioned daughter Sarah Stevens and daughter Dorothy, wife of Thomas Smith, and granddaughter Ann Smith.

In 1705, Dorrington Fisher conveyed part of “Fishers Choice,” on the east side of Blackwater River, to William Abbott. In 1709, Dorrington Fisher and wife Rachel conveyed “Fishers Choice,” formerly taken up by Thomas Fisher, and “Cable and Anchor,” both tracts on the Blackwater River, to William Smith. Land adjacent is mentioned, which William Abbot bought from Dorrington Fisher. Petigrue Salisbury was a witness. A possible descendant is Rachel Fisher, who was the mother of (by George Hardy) Francis (1765), John (1768), Levicey (1769), Daniel (1772), and Sarah (1774).

Alexander Fisher, Probable Son of Thomas and Sarah (Dorrington) Fisher

Alexander Fisher I, probable son of Thomas and Sarah (Dorrington) Fisher, acquired land near his father’s homeplace “Fisher’s Chance,” on Blackwater River, in 1676. In that year, Robert Winsmore attested in his will that his daughter Elizabeth was the wife of Alexander Fisher. Robert Winsmore had property on Little Choptank River, not far from the present town of Cambridge, which was inherited by Alexander and Sarah Fisher. William Fisher who had land at the same place was probably a relative. The inventory of Robert Winsmore, deceased mentioned payments to several people who were connected to Fisher families, including William Willoughby, Peter Underwood, Isaac Abraham, Richard Willis, and James Frisby. In October of 1679, Alexander Fisher and John Walker were appraisers for the inventory of Anthony Hardacre, deceased.

In June of 1680, Alexander Fisher was appraiser for the inventory of Francis Tassell of Dorchester County. Elisabeth Griffin was approver for the inventory.

Alexander Fisher bought 3 lots in 1680, all on the eastern Blackwater River in Dorchester County. “Barren Point” had 40 acres on the south side of the eastern beaver dam branch of the head of the Blackwater, next to “Fisher’s Lott.” “Elson” had 50 acres on the east side of the river, next to “Fisher’s Chance.” “Little Worth” had 10 acres on the east side of the river.

Alexander and Elizabeth Fisher may have settled on the Winsmore place on Little Choptank, but probably lived on the eastern Blackwater River, near a beaver dam crossing on the road to the Willis and Hopkins tracts, near the home place of Thomas Fisher.

Alexander Fisher I made a will in early 1698, naming wife Elizabeth, son Alexander II, and daughters Elizabeth Fisher, Sarah Fisher and Ann Pitt (wife of Philip Pitt). Mark Fisher, not named in the will, was another son.

Upon the death of Alexander Fisher I, his widow Elizabeth married (2) John Rawlings II. What followed is not clear. Apparently Elizabeth (Winsmore) Fisher died, leaving issue Alexander, Elizabeth, Sarah, Ann and Mark Fisher. John Rawlings II married (2) Elizabeth Scott, only daughter of Thomas Scott. A son of Elizabeth Scott named Thomas is presumed to be from this marriage.

When John Rawlings II died in 1709, Elizabeth (Scott) Rawlings seems to have married (2) Philip Griffin. When Philip Griffin died in 1700, he named Rawlings children as well as Thomas (– ) and Sarah Fisher, “children” of his wife. Sarah must have been actually a step-daughter of his wife, Elizabeth Scott Rawlings Griffin. The daughter Sarah married Thomas Rowles. In 1721, Elizabeth Rawlings (why did she not call herself Elizabeth Griffin?) conveyed all her property to her son Mark Fisher of Dorchester County, planter.

It should be noted that the authors of “First Dorchester Families” thought the first husband of Elizabeth Scott was William Fisher of Nanticoke River, but the evidence is almost certain that she married Alexander Fisher, not William. The same error is to be found in “Colonial Families of Anne Arundel County,” but no source is given.

Thomas Rowles had surveyed to him 400 acres in Baltimore County in 1705. In November of 1720 Thomas Rowles of Baltimore County sold to John Mills various lands in Dorchester County, which had been devised to Sarah Fisher Rowles by Philip Griffin, second husband of her mother. Thomas Rowles was the son of Christopher Rowles and Elizabeth (Richand?). He left a will proved in Anne Arundel County in October of 1738. Sarah Fisher Rowles died in 1756.

Thomas Scott, whose daughter Elizabeth married into this family, may have been the one in Sussex County, Delaware, who received a legacy of 50 acres from John Fisher of Lewes in 1685/6. This suggests that the Maryland Fishers may have been connected in some way to John and Margaret Fisher of Delaware, who had come from Lancashire in 1682. The records suggest that other descendants of this family include (in Somerset County) the widow Jane Fisher, mother of Bartlett Fisher, who married Arnold Elzey; and John Fisher of the same county who died in 1710.

In 1696, Philip and John Pitt were among those giving depositions regarding a tract called “Addition” which had belonged to John Rawlings, deceased. In 1712, Allen Thomas and Sarah his wife of Dorchester County conveyed a tract on the south side of Fishing Creek of Little Choptank River, to Thomas Vickars, witnessed by William Dorrington Jr. and Alexander Fisher. In 1730, Mark Fisher was one of a group taking land depositions regarding tracts at the head of Blackwater River. Tracts mentioned were “Hoggs Island” and “Littleworth” or “Stevens.” One of those giving depositions was Andrew Willis, aged about 40 years.

Alexander Fisher II married Mary Vickars, daughter of Thomas Vickars. They had known children Thomas, Alexander III, Elizabeth, and an unnamed child born in 1717. James Abbott probably married one of the daughters. Alexander II left a Dorchester County will, which was probated in March of 1717. Alexander Fisher III is probably the Alexander who married the widow of Thomas Newton.

A John Fisher of Somerset County, who left a will in 1710 is probably related to the Fishers of Blackwater River. The records imply links with Alexander and Dorrington Fisher, sons of Thomas; John King, son-in-law of John Rawlings I of Dorchester County, who married the widow of Alexander Fisher; and Jane Fisher (widow who married Arnold Elzey) and her son Bartlett Fisher of Somerset County.

William and Joseph Fisher of Little Choptank and Northwest Blackwater

William Fisher of Bollingbroke Creek may have been a relative of Thomas Fisher of Blackwater River (See Chapter VI). He bought a 50-acre tract in 1672 in Dorchester County, next to the land of Anthony Lecompte, called “Raxall,” from William Willowby (plasterer or bricklayer) and John Stratton. This tract may have been on the south side of Little Choptank River, near the upper reaches of the Blackwater. In 1673, William Fisher assigned “Raxall” back to William Willowby. In 1687, William and Hannah Willowby, of Dorchester County, transferred land on the south side of Little Choptank River, adjacent to land of Robert Winsmore, to Samuel Smith. In May of 1696, William Fisher of Dorchester County, planter, returned to Richard White, planter, half of “Double Ridge” lying in “Bulling Brook” Creek in lower Talbot County, which he had obtained in December of 1670 from White.

Joseph Fisher, a possible brother or son of Alexander Fisher of Blackwater River, witnessed a transaction in 1685 for land on Cabin Creek, probably near the Fisher and Winsloe properties near Little Choptank River.

VI. William Fisher of Bollingbroke Creek

In July of 1649, a tract of 1100 acres called “Nominy” was assigned by William Smith to John Smith, William Robinson and George Watts of Nomeny Plantation in Virginia. The tract was at the lower end of Talbot County, on the north side of Great Choptank River, on a southern branch of St. Michaels Creek. This was the beginning of a settlement near Bollingbroke Creek which was made up of planters from Rappahannock River in Virginia, mostly Quakers, who may have come originally from Bristol, England. Two thirds of the tract descended to Robert Skinner of Bristoll, merchant, in 1664, who passed half to John and Susanna Cooper in 1672 and half to Solomon Thomas in 1673.

In October of 1662, Seth Foster and his wife Elizabeth, of Talbot County, sold 2,000 acres at the head of Nominy River in Westmoreland County, Virginia. In July of 1667 William Fox, Mariner sold to John Kirke a tract of 200 acres called “Dover” on Great Choptank River, bought of John Richards, witnessed by Richard Gorsuch and Thomas Fisher. This tract adjoined lands of John Edmonson, merchant, and Joseph Winsloe.

In December of 1670, Richard White, planter assigned to William Fisher and Edward Roper joint interest in 360 acres (being half of White’s tract) in Talbot county. The tract, called “Double Ridge,” was on the north side of the Choptank River at the head of a western branch of Bullingbrooke Creek. This site is across the river from the present town of Cambridge.

Another prominent Quaker who was part of the Nominy Plantation group, was Ralph Fishbourne. In November of 1673, he received from John Cooper, planter, part of the land called “Nominy” and known as “Dogwood Neck.” Ralph Fishbourne moved to Chester County, Pennsylvania in 1698.

In February of 1687 Francis Armstrong, gentleman and his wife Francis assigned to William Bennett, planter, a tract of 50 acres at the head of a branch of Tredhaven Creek, on the north side of Great Choptank River. The tract adjoined lands of Egberd Garrison and Captain Robert Morris. William Bennett was a Quaker who later moved to Cedar Creek in the north part of Sussex County, Pennsylvania (now Delaware) in 1700. In that year, he bought a tract of 1000 acres from William Fisher at Cedar Creek.

Another member of the Fisher family at Bollingbroke Creek was John Fisher. In July of 1689 John Miller, planter, assigned to John Fisher of Talbot County, a tract of 100 acres called “Miller’s Hope” at the head of Bullingbrooke Creek, adjoining a tract called “White Phillips.” John Fisher and his descendants apparently stayed at Bollingbroke Creek for several generations.

Sarah Murphy may have been a daughter of William Fisher. In November of 1692 John Murphey, planter, and Sarah his wife assigned to William Thomas, tanner, 80 acres on the north side of Great Choptank River, at the head of Bullenbrooke Creek, a tract sold by Richard White of Bullenbrooke with the residue of the whole tract called Double Ridge unto William Fisher and Edward Roper deceased. The land had been granted by will to Sarah, wife of John Murphey.

In January of 1696, William Fisher was assigned a 100-acre tract in Talbot County, “Coursey’s Addition,” from William and Elizabeth Coursey. That tract was near the other Fisher land, probably between St. Michael Creek and Bollingbroke Creek. Also in 1696, appraisers for the estate of John Russell were Anguish Morrow and William Fisher. John Russell was of Talbot County, St. Michael Creek, near the Bollingbroke plantations.

William Fisher kept the Bollingbroke Creek “Double Ridge” tract until the spring of 1696. By that time, he was resident across the river in Dorchester County. In May of 1696, William Fisher of Dorchester County, planter, assigned to Richard White, planter a moiety (half) of “Double Ridge” lying in Bulling Brook Creek in Talbot County.

Simon Fisher may have been a son of William. In 1698, Simon Fisher married Elizabeth Taylor in St. Peter’s church near Bollingbroke. St. Peter’s recorded the births of their twins Mary and Simon in 1700, the marriage of Simon Fisher Jr. in 1728 to Mary Bryne, and the birth of twins Elizabeth and Sarah to Simon and Mary in 1732.

In February of 1703, John Fisher and John Juderrall were appraisers for the estate of John Higgins of Talbot County. He is mentioned in the Maryland Testamentary Proceedings in 1704, 1705, and 1706. In 1709, he and Michael Dean were appraisers for the account of Edward Williams. Michael Dean and wife Elizabeth had owned part of the Fisher land (Double Ridge) until 1708, when they sold it to Nicholas Lowe. Also in 1709, John Fisher was administrator and executor for the estate of John Bampton, Talbot County. In 1710, he was named in the administration of James Chaplin.

In 1711 John Fisher, carpenter, assigned to Charles Harbert, carpenter, all claim to land called “Millers Hopes” on the north side of Great Choptank River on a branch of Bullenbrooke Creek; witnessed by William Gorman and Peirce Welsh.

St. Peter’s Parish records include the marriage of John Fisher to Sarah Bryney in 1717. Sarah Fisher, widow left a will in 1729 naming one daughter, Mary. The executor and legatee was Edward Brayning (probably the same as Bryney). The witnesses were William White, Charles Harbert and William Robinson (all one-time Bollingbroke land owners). In a land record of 1768, William Stevens and his wife Sarah refer to Edward Brining and land on Bullenbrook Creek.

Subsequent Fishers mentioned in the parish records of St. Peter’s are probably descendants of the Bollingbroke Fishers. In 1721, the marriage of Michael Fisher to Abigail Snow is recorded, along with the death of Michael (possibly a son) soon after. In 1722, the marriage of Thomas Fisher to Sarah Dudley is recorded. A John Fisher died in 1727, St. Peter’s, and Mary Fisher’s marriage to Henry Harris is recorded in 1734.

An early William Fisher, who immigrated to Somerset County on the southeastern shore of Maryland, may have been related to the Bollingbroke Fishers. In 1662, William Fisher appeared in court in Somerset County, along with Matthew Armstrong and William Hadson, to claim his immigration headright land. This probably meant that he had paid his own transportation, and he may have been Dr. William Fisher who came into the province from Virginia. It may have been his son of the same name who was transported in 1664 by Thomas Harwood, along with Margaret Fisher (a sister or wife?), Edward Hodson, and others. A Thomas Fisher who was reported in Somerset County in 1666 or 1667, may also have been a relative. He may have been the same as Thomas Fisher who was transported by 1672 and was indentured somewhere in Dorchester County.
VII. John Fisher of Calvert County

In April of 1679, John Fisher late of St. Mary’s County, mariner was named in a Maryland court case with Mark Cordea. John Fisher was master of the “Maryland Merchant,” lying at anchor in St. Georges River in St. Mary’s County, and was in need of a new anchor. Mark Cordea provided an anchor which he procured from Gilbert Turbervile of St. Mary’s, for 2 pounds 15 shillings, but the anchor was lost. The court ruled that John Fisher was not liable. It is not known if John Fisher of Calvert County was connected to the sea captain John Fisher.

Mark Cordea seems to have other connections to the Fishers of Maryland. When he died in December of 1685, his probate in St. Mary’s County mentioned Thomas Fisher, William Nuthead, Henry Bonner, and John Bromfield (among others). Edward Fisher of St. Mary’s patented a tract in Talbot County in 1687 called “Nuthead’s Choice. ” The Bonner family transported William Fisher to Lancaster County, Virginia in February of 1654. John Bromfield and Dr. William Fisher of Baltimore/Cecil Counties exchanged land tracts in Cecil and Kent Counties.

John Fisher, a servant who was indentured in 1681, may be the same or a relative of John Fisher of Calvert County. Samuel, Daniel and Richard Fisher, who arrived at about the same time, may have been relatives, but probably died soon after or moved away, as no further records of them have been found. Another possible relative was Robert Fisher, who appears in the records of the Pritchett family of Calvert County. Mary, daughter of John Pritchett, married Henry Fisher. Robert Fisher died in Calvert County in 1698.

In January of 1680, the probate of Ishmaell Wright in Calvert County mentioned a “Mr. Fisher.” In April of 1681, the sheriff of St. Mary’s County ordered rendered unto John Fisher, per a court order of February 1680 at St. Mary’s, expenses and costs amounting to 696 pounds of tobacco.

In March of 1683, at a Provincial Court held at the City of St. Mary’s, James Mills (Miles) brought suit against John Fisher for an unspecified charge.

In May of 1684, the probate of Captain John Stansby mentioned John Fisher, John Yoe, John Bromfield and others. In August of the same year, John Yoe was administrator for the estate of Robert Jones, of Baltimore County.

In October of 1686, John Fisher was named in the administration of John Yoe, a minister in Baltimore County. In his will of 1691, Tobias Miles of Calvert County filed a list of items in use by John Fisher and wife, probable tenants on the Miles plantation. Tobias Miles (the elder) died by June of 1692, and his wife Elizabeth married John Fisher. When Tobias Miles the younger died in August of 1695, Elizabeth Fisher, wife of John Fisher, was executrix.

In July of 1695, John Fisher was mentioned in the will of Nehemiah Blakiston of Calvert County.

In February of 1697, John Fisher was a witness to the will of Francis Freeman of Calvert County.

When Dr. Symon Wooten of Calvert County died in December of 1696, John Fisher was named administrator. In 1701, John Fisher was also administrator for Paul Dominat in Calvert County, and in the same year he was an appraiser for the estate of George Royston of Calvert County. He was named in the 1702 taxables list for Spesutij Hundred Light, Baltimore County, and appeared in the same hundred in 1703, on the north side of Gunpowder River.

Payments were stipulated to John Fisher in the Calvert County administrations of Abraham Adams and Job Addison in 1702, only a few months before the death of John Fisher.

John Fisher left a will which was probated in Calvert County in December of 1702. He named wife Elizabeth and a daughter Elizabeth, a minor. In the event of the daughter Elizabeth’s death during her minority, her share was to go to a brother William. Captain Francis Mauldin and George Young Sr. were co-administrators with Elizabeth, wife of the deceased. Robert Skinner, Joseph Blacke and George Young Jr. were witnesses. An inventory was filed by the executors in 1704. In January of 1709, the estate of John Fisher was named in the administration of Henry Truman in Calvert County. The final administration was filed for John Fisher in May of 1709.

In July of 1710, John Fisher witnessed the transfer of a land tract from John Israel, merchant of Baltimore County and his wife Barbara, to Amos Garrett of Anne Arundel County. It is not known if this was a relative of John Fisher, of Calvert County.

In June of 1736, a conveyance among the land records of Calvert County addresses the events leading up to John Fisher’s marriage to Elizabeth Miles. An indenture was made in July of 1718 by William Harrison of Calvert County and Frances, his wife, one of the daughters and coheirs of Tobias Miles the elder, deceased and a sister and coheir of John Miles and Tobias Miles the younger, deceased who died intestate and without issue. Tobias Miles by his last will and testament dated 16 August 1691 mentions his son John Miles, wife Elizabeth, son Tobias Miles, and daughter Mary Miles, now wife of George Young Jr. and daughter Frances. John and Tobias both died intestate and without issue. Elizabeth then married John Fisher, now deceased.

It is possible that John Fisher who died in Calvert County in 1702, could be from a much earlier family in Somerset County, rather than being the one who came in 1681. The earliest known John Fisher in Maryland came in 1651 and was bound in service to pay for his passage. Two other John Fishers also came in the 1650’s. They were among the earliest Fishers to arrive in Maryland. The rent rolls of Somerset County show a tract of 600 acres called Davis’s Choice, surveyed in 1663, that was later divided for Captain Henry Smith, John Fisher, and the widow Jane Wilson. John Fisher’s portion, 330 acres, was located between two branches of the upper fork of Manokin River in Somerset County.

Names mentioned in the records suggest that John Fisher’s brother William could have been William Fisher of Bollingbroke Creek, on the north side of Great Choptank River in lower Talbot County, on the Eastern Shore. William Fisher had an apparent son John who lived there and was the right age to be a nephew of John of Calvert County. These families are believed to be from the early Fishers of Somerset County.

The Somerset County Fishers may have had ties with the Delaware/Pennsylvania Fishers. The Wilson family appears in several links. Jane Wilson and John Fisher were connected in the 1663 land partition; Thomas Wilson and James Standfield of Philadelphia were joint witnesses to a Kent County (Md.) land transaction, 1685; Sarah Wilson witnessed the marriage of Edward Fisher and Frances Willis in Talbot County (Md.), 1699; Alexander Molleston, Edward Fisher and Thomas Wilson of Delaware deeded land in Sussex County (Del.) to John Fisher, mariner, 1713; Francis Fisher was attested to be the father (in-law?) of John Wilson, Somerset County, 1734.

VIII. Thomas Robinson and the Chester County Fishers of Pennsylvania

The Maryland records may provide part of a solution of a long-standing mystery concerning the origins of Thomas Fisher, who married Elizabeth Huntley in Chester County, Pennsylvania in 1713. Large numbers of Fishers can trace their descent from Thomas and Elizabeth, but numerous attempts (some dating back to the nineteenth century) have failed to correctly identify Thomas Fisher. The following describes the probable origins of the Chester County Fishers, how they were connected to the Robinsons of Cecil County, Maryland, and how they may have been related to some of the other Fishers of Maryland and Delaware.

First of all, for those who think Thomas Fisher of Chester County (who married Elizabeth Huntley in 1713 at Concord Monthly Meeting) was the same as Thomas, son of John and Margaret Fisher of Lewes in Sussex County, Delaware (originally part of Pennsylvania): This notion is easily disproved, but unfortunately it is one which is widely believed and is being compounded, repeated and multiplied by researchers who have not checked the source records. The records are quite clear: Thomas Fisher of Sussex County left a detailed will dated 17 November 1713, which is reproduced in Anna Wharton Smith’s book, “Genealogy of the Fisher Family,” 1896. His last act as registrar of lands in Sussex County was in November of 1713, after which a replacement was named (Land Records of Sussex County). Any doubt that he died soon after is dispelled by the fact that his widow, Margery (Maud) Fisher, had remarried by February of 1718, to Nicholas Green of Sussex County. A Sussex County land record in that month named Margery Green, wife of Nicholas, and Jabez Maud Fisher, son of Margery Green. The record can be found on LDS Film 0006626, land records of Sussex County. Thomas Fisher of Chester County had a long and well-documented life, and died in 1747 in East Caln, Chester County. His will is number 1051, Chester County Wills.

Notwithstanding the fact that Thomas Fisher of Sussex County, Delaware and Thomas Fisher of Chester County, Pennsylvania were not the same, this study will show that they may have been related in another way.

A study was made of all the Fishers of the early settlements around the Delaware and Chesapeake bays, and the Fishers of Lancashire. The neighbors, relatives and associates of the Fishers in the 3 areas were studied, and families who moved or communicated between them were identified. The studies soon focused on the families of Robinson, Baker, Smith, Frisby, Frazier, Hollingsworth, Fishbourne, Fletcher and Standfield. This led to the following solution.

The Fishers and Bakers of Lancashire

A number of Fisher families were established in Lancashire at an early date. They derived mainly from from the ancient Fisher family seat at Garstang, northwest of Preston. The Fishers around Liverpool were probably of the same family, as was another branch further north around Preston, Lancaster, Clitheroe, Kendall and Ulverstone, which extended into Yorkshire. The Fishers at Pardshaw (Pardsey) in northwest England may have been Quaker refugees from Lancashire or Yorkshire.

Fisher Families were established in several villages in and around Liverpool by the 1640’s. They were of the Church of England and can be found in the parish records of Liverpool and in the villages of Up Holland, Standish, Farnworth, Parr near Prescot (Parbutt), Sefton (Sephton), and Childwall, mostly in the vicinity, within 7 miles of the Liverpool docks. Although some of the Lancashire Fishers at Marsden and Clitheroe began to convert to the Quaker faith prior to the establishment of Pennsylvania in 1682, the Fishers around Liverpool seem to have remained Church of England. The early parish records mention Fishers by the name of William, Henry, John, and Thomas.

Thomas Fisher was born in 1668, in the parish of Childwall. Childwall is 4 ½ miles southeast of Liverpool. In October of the same year, a young Quaker named Henry Baker married Margaret Hardman, at Hardshaw West Monthly Meeting near Liverpool. Henry was from Newtown, near Wigan and Upholland. Henry and Margaret settled at Hindley, but by 1678 they had moved to Walton-on-the-Hill near Liverpool, in the parish of West Derby. By 1684, they had six young children. They were only 2 miles from Childwall, the home of Thomas Fisher’s family.

In 1681 the Hardshaw Quakers around Liverpool heard of William Penn’s promise of a better life for them, in a new province in the new world. As proprietor under a grant from King Charles, Penn was already selling blocks of land west of the Delaware River, and his surveyor Thomas Holmes was mapping out the location of tracts for many of the buyers. Henry Baker purchased land in the new county of Bucks, in Pennsylvania, and his name was recorded on the 1681 map, in what would be the township of Falls.

In May of 1684, the Quakers of Hardshaw West monthly meeting near Liverpool granted a certificate to Henry Baker, for removal to Falls Monthly Meeting, Bucks County, Pennsylvania. In the same year William Preeson (Pierson), a Welsh seaman from a village near Dolgellau, a port on the west coast of Wales in Merrionethshire (now Gwynedd), signed on as commander to take passengers to Pennsylvania. He signed up 44 passengers from Wales and 3 from Shropshire. An additional 46 were recruited from around Liverpool. Those who could not pay their passage were indentured to serve in Pennsylvania. The “servants” were actually relatives and employees. Henry Baker was able to pay for his family and 10 others. The “Vine” of Liverpool was chartered, and was scheduled to sail out of the Mersey River in the summer of 1684.

Thomas Fisher was indentured to serve the Bakers 4 years for his passage. The bonds for minors were often arranged to end near the age of maturity, implying that Thomas might reach age 21 soon after 1688. He was almost certainly Thomas Fisher of Childwall near Walton, born 1 September 1668 to (--) Fisher. He was 16 years of age when the “Vine” departed for Pennsylvania, and would have been under the care of the Bakers as a minor, possibly as an apprentice in the Baker’s carrier trade. As such, he may have become a seaman or coachman.

Thomas Fisher and the Bakers in Bucks County, Pennsylvania

In September of 1684, the “Vine” of Liverpool arrived at Philadelphia. Among the Lancashire passengers listed from Walton were the Quakers Henry Baker and wife Margaret, two sons (Nathan and Samuel), 4 daughters (Rachel, Rebecca, Phebe and Hester), Mary Beckett and ten servants. Mary Beckett, from Bebbington on the Cheshire side of the Mersey across from Liverpool, was probably a relative. The oldest child, Rachel, was 15 years of age, and the youngest, Nathan, was an infant.

All of the Lancashire passengers on the “Vine” were from Liverpool or villages within a few miles of Liverpool. Some of Henry Baker’s bonded servants were Quakers, but some remained Church of England. Henry Sidell, bound for 4 years, was a nephew of Margaret (Hardman) Baker. The Canby family also were probable relatives.

Other emigrants knew one another in the neighborhood of Walton, and would meet again in Pennsylvania and Maryland. In 1667 Jane Dunbabin of Great Sankey (7 miles southwest of Prescot), Hardshaw East Monthly Meeting, married William Heald of Moberley, Cheshire. Samuel Heald, son of William and Jane, emigrated to Pennsylvania and settled in 1714 on a tract adjoining the Thomas Fisher land in Chester County. Thomas Robinson of Bootle and Walton-on-the Hill may be the one who emigrated to Maryland and applied jointly with Thomas Fisher in early 1701, for land near the Brandywine Creek in Chester County. Richard Fletcher of Withington, Lancashire (now in Greater Manchester) emigrated to Bucks County about the same time as Thomas Fisher and in 1714 became the father-in-law of Thomas Fisher of Chester County, by marrying the widow of Mary (Standfield) Huntley. This circumstantial evidence appears to almost certainly identify Thomas Fisher of Chester County, Pennsylvania as a relative of Thomas Fisher of Lancashire. Due to the age of the Lancashire Thomas Fisher, it was likely his son or nephew who settled in Kennett, Chester County.

Henry Baker presented his Hardshaw certificate to Falls Monthly Meeting, Bucks County, Pennsylvania. The Falls meeting minutes say that he was a carrier, from the “County of Darby, in Lancashire.” This was a reference to the ancient “hundred” of West Derby (pronounced Darby in England). Much of that area, on the north side of the Mersey River, was detached from Lancashire in 1974 and a new county called Merseyside was created from it.

Henry Baker obtained two land warrants from William Penn, each for 500 acres. The family settled above Philadelphia in Falls Township. The eldest son, Samuel, reached age 21 in 1697, and acquired a number of tracts in Bucks County and settled in Makefield Township. The Bakers were members of Falls Monthly Meeting. Thomas Fisher was in service to the Bakers from 1684 to 1688. In 1691 Mary Beckett, who came with the Bakers, married Samuel Bowne (Brown?) at a Quaker meeting at Henry Baker’s house, Falls Monthly Meeting. Henry Baker died about 1708.

Thomas Robinson of Cecil County, Maryland and London, England

In 1697 Captain Thomas Robinson, merchant, ship commander and shipper of Cecil County in Maryland, former assembly man for Talbot County, married Sarah Frisby of Cecil County, daughter of the merchant James Frisby, formerly of London. Thomas and Sarah went to London for a number of years to conduct the company business, taking with them the younger Frisby children to be educated. Part of Sarah’s dowry was land in Cecil County which was assigned to Thomas Robinson by Peregrine Brown, merchant of London. The London Frisbys and Browns were located in the parish of St. Dunstan, Stepney. Their church was St. Dunstan’s West, on Fleet Street not far from Blackfriar bridge, a Christopher Wren building which remains intact.

Thomas Robinson, of Cecil County (Maryland) became a merchant shipper, making many trips between Liverpool, Maryland and Pennsylvania from 1704 to 1715. He was probably from the Robinsons of Liverpool. In 1633 a Thomas Robinson was born in St. Nicholas parish, Liverpool, and another Thomas Robinson lived at Bootle near Liverpool in 1681.

Thomas Fisher, James Wallis and John Smith in Chester County, Pennsylvania

In December of 1700, a tract of 515 acres was surveyed in Kennet Township, Chester County for James Wallis, a seagoing merchant of Bristol, England. A few months later, William Penn granted a warrant for 300 acres adjoining on the east side of the Wallis tract, to Thomas Robinson and Thomas Fisher. In 1702, the Wallis tract was sold to John Smith, clockmaker of Chester County, son of William Smith. Both tracts were surveyed by Henry Hollingsworth, surveyor of Chester County who at that time was also surveying the new Nottingham township and tracts extending into Cecil County, Maryland.

At some time after 1702, William Smith and his son John Smith moved from Concord Township in Chester County, to Cecil County, Maryland. About 1711, Nathan Baker also moved to Cecil County.

The Robinson/Fisher tract in Kennett may have been unoccupied for some time after the grant in 1701. Thomas Robinson moved to London to run the Frisby shipping business, and his transatlantic shipping records show activity between 1704 and 1715.

Thomas Robinson was still alive in 1715 and was taxed with Thomas Fisher, but may have died in 1718. James Wallis and his trading group all perished on the same day in 1718, and Thomas Robinson disappeared at the same time.

Thomas Fisher (the younger) became a Quaker before May of 1713, when he proposed marriage at Concord Monthly Meeting to Elizabeth Huntley, daughter of William Huntley and Mary Standfield Huntley. The record says they were both members of Concord meeting, implying that this Thomas had not been living on the Kennett tract, where he would have been a member of Kennett (Newark) Monthly Meeting. They moved onto the Kennett land in 1714. Neither he nor the immigrant Thomas Fisher were previously mentioned in any Quaker or Episcopal record of the area. When Thomas finally requested a patent for the tract in 1739, he had to pay 38 years of back quit-rent to the sons of William Penn.

Thomas and Elizabeth Fisher prospered on the Kennet farm and had known children James, William, Elizabeth, Samuel, Francis (male), Thomas, and Mary. They appear many times in the Quaker records of Newark Monthly Meeting (Kennet), which include marriage certificates for James, William and Elizabeth. In 1742 they moved to East Caln, still in Chester County, where they were members of Bradford Monthly Meeting. Samuel, Thomas and Francis were married at New Garden Monthly Meeting. The family history is documented in “Descendants and Ancestors of Cephas Fisher Jr.” and other references, available at the Mormon Family History Library at Salt Lake City, Utah.

Thomas Fisher, Thomas Robinson and the Bakers in Chester County, Pennsylvania

When Nathan Baker was only 19 years of age he left Bucks County, his father apparently having died by that time. He apparently went to live with his sister Rachel, who had married Job Bunting. Job Bunting bought two tracts in Concord, in Chester County, in 1701/2 from William Smith. Nathan was received by the Quakers at Concord, in Chester County, in October of 1703. Job Bunting soon died and Rachel married John Cowgill, and returned to Bucks County. The Baker tract in Concord was passed from Rachel (Baker) (Bunting) Cowgill to her brother Nathan Baker in 1708.

Joseph Baker, a possible distant relative, came from Shropshire in 1685 and also settled in Chester County, in Edgmont township.

Thomas Fisher somehow became associated with the merchants and shippers of Pennsylvania and Cecil County, Maryland, either by marrying into one of the families or working for them. In September of 1688 Thomas Robinson, a seaman, was charged in court in Chester concerning an altercation aboard the “Tyrall.” 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.” In June of 1700 at Chester, Thomas Robinson sued John Neald, of Aston township. He was probably the same as Thomas Robinson from Liverpool, merchant of Cecil County, Maryland and London, England.

The Heirs of Francis Standfield in Chester County, Pennsylvania

Francis and Grace Standfield came to Pennsylvania aboard the “Endeavor” of Liverpool in 1683, and settled in Marple, Chester County. They were married in Worcester but had lived for a time in Cheshire, near the lower end of Lancashire. She was the former Grace Achele, who may have been related to Grace Ashall of Up Holland near Liverpool, where one of the Fisher families lived.

The heirs of Francis Standfield laid out a large tract of land in Kennett, Chester County during the 1690’s but abandoned much of it with no proper claim when the only son, James, died in 1699. The larger tract probably included the part which was taken up by John Hope, the part which was taken up by Samuel Heald, and the part taken up by Thomas Fisher, originally about 800 acres in all. James Standfield joined William Penn’s Free Society of Traders and began a career as a merchant trader. He had a two-masted brigantine, the “Betsy,” which his executor (brother-in-law Francis Chadsey) sold to John Hart, a Society member. James Standfield had business interests in Maryland, where he could have met Thomas Robinson.

Mary Standfield, a daughter of Francis Standfield and sister of James, married William Huntley in early 1692. In 1713 their daughter Elizabeth married Thomas Fisher in Concord Monthly Meeting, Chester County, and they settled in Kennett, Chester County. William Huntley died in 1708, and in 1714 his widow married Richard Fletcher, formerly of Bucks County and Lancashire. They settled on a farm adjoining the old Huntley farm in Kennett, which Mary had sold to her brother-in-law Isaac Few.

In 1699 James Stanfield of Philadelphia, son of Francis and Grace (Achele) Standfield of Marple in Chester County, left a detailed will and estate accounting that mentioned business in Maryland and Boston, his brigantine two-master the “Betsy,” Jerimiah Collett and the names of various sea captains. His niece Elizabeth Huntley would later marry Thomas Fisher in Chester County, and Nathan Baker would marry Sarah Collett, daughter of Jeremiah Collett.

John and Margaret Fisher of Sussex County

There are indications that the Fishers of Chester County had some connection to the Fishers of Sussex County, Delaware (previously part of Pennsylvania). At Marsden MM Lancashire 3M 15 1684 A collection to be --- for ye sending two children of John Fisher to Pennsylvania. Friends of Sawley M to write to friends with – they are to go in name of the meeting.
FHL Film 567014 A. G. Myers notes on immigrants to Pa. 1683 7m 19 Margie Smith of Schuylkill Chester Co., sold to John Fisher a lot in city of Philadelphia being for 500 a. of land purchased in England. Phil. Deeds E-2 p. 12 Edmund Carthidge’s deed granting his Phil. Lots to John Fisher dated Phi. 7m Sep. 10, 1683.
Bryan Hindle b. 1675, Kirkby Overblow, Yorkshire, England near Harrogate and Leeds.

Anonymous manuscript in Pa. Gen. Soc. John Fisher and wife came from Clitheroe, a parish in North Lancashire, 15 miles from Garstang, 20 miles from Lancaster, and about 25 miles from Kendal, Westmoreland. Alexander Fisher represented Clitheroe in parliament in 1585. The seat of the Hindley family was at Hindley, now a parish, but formerly a chapelry of Garstang. Earliest was Henry Fisher of Kendal, reign of Henry VXXX. Son Nicholas of Kendal bought manor of Kentmere, 1626. Sons Henry, Edward, Nicholas. John Fisher, second son of Nicholas and Elizabeth (Brockholes) Fisher, b. 1645, aged 18 years 1654. M. ca 1667 Margaret Hindley, dau of Brayan , granddau of John Hindley of Clitheroe. John Fisher and John Hindley were admitted to Queen’s College on the same day, Foster’s Grays Inn Register.

IGI James Fisher b. 18 Sep 1670, Clitheroe.

Pennsylvania/Maryland Family Connections

The Fishers and Robinsons of Sassafrass River, in Cecil County in Maryland, were members of the same church. They were not Quakers, and attended St. Stephens (Anglican) church. William and Mary Fisher’s son Joseph was born there in 1706, and Thomas and Sarah Robinson’s children were mentioned in 1712.

Ralph Fishbourne, a Quaker, moved from Maryland to Pennsylvania in 1698. His son of the same name settled in Chester County and was a member of Concord Monthly Meeting.

Alexander Frazer of Cecil County, Maryland moved to Chester County, Pennsylvania. He bought land in Kennet in 1706. In 1713, he sold a water mill on Back Creek in Cecil County, to Nathan Baker. Dr. William Fisher, one of the earliest landowners in Cecil County, had property on the same creek in the 1660’s.

William Smith and his son John, originally of Darby Township in Chester County, were acquainted the Bakers and with Thomas Fisher. William Smith was the original owner of two tracts in Concord which he sold to Job Bunting, husband of Rachel Baker, part of which reverted to the seller due to debt. In 1702 John Smith, clockmaker of Chester County, bought the Wallis tract on the east side of the Robinson/Fisher tract in Kennett. William and John Smith moved to Cecil County, Maryland where William died about 1708. At that time John Smith, executor for his father, conveyed with Rachel (Baker) (Bunting) Cowgill, both tracts in the township of Concord to Nathan Baker, brother of Rachel, formerly of Lancashire.

Thomas Fisher of Tuckahoe River, in Talbot County (Maryland), emigrated at about the same time as the Bakers and Thomas Fisher of Pennsylvania. His son Thomas can be traced in the Maryland records and did not go to Pennsylvania, but it is interesting that both Thomas Robinson (of Cecil County) and Thomas Fisher (of Tuckahoe) were captains in the Maryland Militia.

The Fishers of Dorchester County (Maryland), on the Nanticoke River, could have been of the same family as Thomas Fisher of Chester County (Pennsylvania). William Smith and Thomas Thacher were named overseers in the will of William Fisher, of Dorchester County in Maryland, written in 1698 and probated in 1702. Part of the Wallis tract in Kennet, next to Robinson and Fisher, descended from John Smith to Zorababel Thatcher, whose wife was a cousin to Phebe Pritchett, a possible relative of the Maryland Pritchetts. Henry Fisher of Dorchester County married Mary Pritchett before 1712.

** The Missing Years – What Might Have Happened **

After Thomas Fisher (of Lancashire) reached the age of maturity in 1689, no record has been found of him for the next 12 years. He probably married and died young in Bucks County. If he had married as a Quaker he would have appeared in the records, which are very complete. The Episcopal records are not so complete and it is not surprising that no proof of any marriage and issue can now be found. We can only speculate that a son Thomas could have been born to Thomas Fisher of Bucks County, between 1689 and 1692. Thomas Fisher, the immigrant and/or a son or nephew could have gone to Chester County with Nathan Baker in 1705, residing on the Baker farm.

It is possible that Thomas Fisher (the younger) was raised to maturity in Maryland, by James and Ariana Frisby or James Robinson (brother of Thomas Robinson), prompting him to name his firstborn James. It is also possible that he had a brief first marriage before Elizabeth Huntley, and his first father-in-law may have been named James (e.g. James Robinson or James Frisby). Thomas Fisher (the elder) may have been abroad a lot, working aboard the “Betsy” or other trading ships, which could explain his disappearances from the records.

Thomas Fisher (the elder) could have been the same as Thomas Fisher of Kent Island, Maryland, who died in 1698 with an unnamed minor orphan and a (presumed) wife Ann who was administrator of his estate.

It is not known if Thomas Fisher (the immigrant) also spent some time in Cecil County. It is known that in 1706, Captain Thomas Robinson and a William Fisher were both members of St. Stephens Anglican Church in Cecil County.

Possible Relatives of Thomas Fisher in Pennsylvania

There are no direct records of relatives or issue of the immigrant Thomas Fisher (of Walton) in Pennsylvania, although it it could have been his son or nephew who took up his tract in Kennett. There are several Fishers of the area who could be relatives. Joseph Fisher, son of William Fisher, came to Philadelphia in 1683 from Ireland, and was born at Elton, not far from Liverpool but on the Cheshire side of the Mersey River. James Fisher witnessed a wedding at Abington Monthly Meeting, Philadelphia County, in 1686. George Fisher bought property in the town of Chester in 1688. John Fisher of Chichester, Chester County, died in 1701 leaving a wife Barbara. A William Fisher was agent for Elizabeth Andross (Andrews) in Thornbury, Chester County, in 1696. A William Fisher (Episcopal) was in Burlington, West Jersey by 1696, across the river from Falls Township where the Bakers settled; he had land in Chichester, Chester County. John Fisher of Kingsess in Philadelphia at the mouth of the Schulkill River, died in 1725 leaving sons John and James. In 1726 a John Fisher died in Springfield, Philadelphia County, leaving a wife Katharine.

** More About the Families **

Henry Baker

Henry Baker was born 1 March 1634 at Newtown, Lancashire, the son of Henry Baker (Backer, Bowker) and Mary Radcliffe. Henry died in 1700/01, Bucks County, Pennsylvania.
Margaret Hardman was born about 1647 at Aspull, Lancashire. She died 5 August 1688, Falls Monthly Meeting, Bucks County, Pennsylvania.
Henry Baker and Margaret Hardman were married 6 October 1667 at Hardshaw West Monthly Meeting near Liverpool.
Probable relatives: Susannah Baker of Walton, Lancashire marr. Thomas Rose of Kirkdale 1671, 2 Mo. 7 at Knowlsley, Hardshaw West Monthly Meeting. Maria Beckett, born 5 December 1667, Bebington, Cheshire, daughter of George Becket.

Children of Henry Baker and Margaret (Hardman) Baker

1. Rachel b. 23 Apr 1669 at Hindley, West Derby, Lancashire. marr. (1) Job Buntin 1689, Bucks Co. Pa. Marr. (2) John Cowgill 12 Feb 1703, Bucks Co. Pa. Died Bucks Co.

2. Rebecca b. 23 Apr 1669 at Hindley, West Derby, Lancashire. Marr. John Wilsford 1 Feb 1695 Falls Twp, Bucks Co. Pa.

3. Nathan (1) b. 10 Mo. 21, 1670, Thornley, West Derby, Lancashire. Died 5 Mo. 27 or 28, 1680, Lancashire.

4. Samuel b. 1 Oct 1676 West Derby, Lancashire

5. Phebe b. 26 Jul 1678 Walton-on-the-Hill, Lancashire. Marr. (1) Edward Radcliffe 18 Aug 1703 Falls Twp. Bucks Co. Pa. Marr. (2) William Stockdale, 1722. Died abt Jan 1738, Warminster Twp, Bucks Co. Pa.

6. Hester b. 28 Jun 1680 West Derby, Lancashire. Marr. (1) Thomas Yardley 6 Sep 1700 Falls Twp, Bucks Co. Pa. Marr. (2) William Brown 1704, Pa. Marr. (3) Richard Hough 2 Feb 1712 Falls Twp. Bucks Co. Pa. Died abt 1715, Pa.

7. Nathan (2) b. 8 Jan 1683/4 West Derby, Lancashire. Died abt 1729, Cecil County, Md.
Marr. 15 May 1705 Sarah Collett, Chester Twp., Pa.. Sarah Collett was b. 1685, Byberry Twp, Phil. Co. Pa., dau. of Jeremiah Collett and Anne -- .
Children of Nathan and Sarah (Collett) Baker
Elizabeth b. 1707, Mary b. 1709, died Jun 1757 Chester, Pa.; Jeremiah b. 1710, d. 1765; Nathan b. 1711, d. abt 1755; Henry b. 1714, d. abt. 1768.

Henry Baker was a “carrier,” meaning that he had a river ferry or a wagon or coach business.

The servants of Henry Baker

Henry and John Sidell, sons of Richard Sidell and Mary Hardman. Henry b. 17 Oct 1669 Radcliffe, Lancashire.

James Yates, Son of Thomas Yates. James Yates marr. Francis Fletcher 28 Nov 1679, Huyton, Lancashire. James Yates b. 20 Mar 1670, Huyton by Roby.

John Hurst, son of Richard Hurst, marr. Ellen Hulton of Rochdale 24 Jan 1665/6, Leigh, Lancashire.

John Stedman. (Elizabeth Stedman & her children Sarah and Judeth Buller, Joseph Buller not bonded).

Thomas Canby, Quaker, probable son of Benjamin and Jane Canby of Liverpool. Benjamin (Jr.) b. 1681, 3 Mo., 30, Hardshaw West Monthly Meeting. Benjaman Canby wit. Quaker wedding, Falls Monthly Meeting, Pa. 1719.

Deborah Boothe, b. 23 Oct 1664, Rochdale, Lancashire.

Joshua Lort (Lord) b. abt 1656, Rochdale, Joshua Lord b. abt 1682 Bacup, marr. Ellen Pollerd, Joshua Lord b. abt 1683 Rochdale. (Robert Lord was also aboard the “Vine” as servant to Griffith Owen of Prescot)

Joseph Ferron

The Robinson/Frisby/Brown/Ward/Hermann Families of Maryland

The first record of a Robinson in Maryland was in April of 1650, when Thomas Robinson and Richard Dorrington attested to the safe arrival of the “Thomas and John,” carrying part of William Mitchell’s family from the City of Chichester in Sussex, England. In 1659, Henry Robinson obtained a survey for land on the western side of Chesapeake Bay in Calvert County, Maryland. Five years later, Thomas Robinson obtained a tract in the same area, near Island Creek on the northeast side of Patuxant River. This or a nearby tract near Battle Creek was mentioned in records as late as 1703. The property was a little over 10 miles upriver from the mouth of the Patuxant and 20 miles northeast of St. Mary’s City, the first capitol of the province of Maryland. Henry and Thomas were probably brothers. Henry’s will of 1672 states that he had only one son, Henry, and that “Francis Dorrington and his heirs” lived in his house. By 1673, when Henry’s will was probated, his widow Dorothy had married again, to one of the Dorringtons, first name unknown (Francis??). The connection with the Dorringtons is interesting in the context of a search for Robinson/Fisher connections. William Dorrrington’s daughter Sarah married Thomas Fisher of Blackwater River, who founded one of the largest branches of Fishers in early Maryland.

A Thomas Robinson of Cecil County, Maryland died in 1686. Any relationship to the merchant Thomas Robinson is not known. In 1693, Thomas Robinson was elected assembly man for Talbot County. In July of 1697, Mr. Thomas Robinson Esquire married Miss Sarah Frisby, daughter of James Frisby Esq. and wife Sarah, in St. Stephens Anglican church, North Sassafras Parish, Cecil County. The Frisby property was mostly on the north side of the Sassafras River, near the church.

Sarah Frisby Sr., mother-in-law of Thomas Robinson, was the former Sarah Abraham, daughter of Isaac Abraham of Talbot County. She was related somehow to the London Peregrine Brown family. In June of 1699, Peregrine Brown of the City of London conveyed 500 acres to Thomas Robinson, merchant of London, being half of “Turkey Point” in Cecil County, on the Sassafras River. The remainder of this property eventually went to the Frisby sons. Since Sarah (Frisby) Robinson had a brother named Peregrine, it is assumed that Peregrine Brown was a relative. Soon after his marriage to Sarah, Thomas Robinson appears to have become a partner of the Browns and Frisbys in their London merchant marine company. Thomas and Sarah Robinson took up residence in London for a time, probably in connection with the family business. A study of the records indicates that Thomas Robinson, Peregrine Brown and James Frisby were all in the business of marketing and transporting tobacco from the Maryland plantations.

In 1706, the records of St. Stephens church in Cecil County show the birth of a son Joseph to William and Mary Fisher. In November of 1712, the records of the same church show the death of John Robinson, a young son of Thomas and Sarah Robinson. This may mean that Thomas and Sarah Robinson had moved back from London to Cecil County.

Thomas Robinson may have been one of at least six brothers who appear in the records of Cecil, Talbot, Dorchester and Somerset counties (William, Charles, George, John, Thomas, James and Richard). There were two known sisters (Mary and Margaret).

The 1699 will of Charles Robinson of Talbot County (formerly of Yarmouth, England) names brothers Thomas, William and John, and sisters Mary and Margaret. The 1698/99 will of George Robinson of Ann Arundel County names a brother Thomas. In 1705/6, William Robinson of Dorchester County, Shoemaker, and Elizabeth Goutie of the same county, spinstress, conveyed to Philip Wingate of the same county, carpenter, “Wadels desire” on the north side of the eastern branch of Fox Creek (?Kent Island?), containing 50 acres more or less. William Robinson was acting as attorney for his wife Ruth Robinson. In July of 1712, William Richards of Somerset County named nephews Thomas and Joshua Robinson, sons of William Robinson, as legatees for land “next Indian Town as far as a small valley proceeding from Assawamun Creek,” and part of a tract called “Fair Haven.” In 1721, a Thomas Robinson was appraiser for the administration of Leonard Johnson in Somerset County.

In 1701, Thomas Robinson arranged a Cecil County land transfer for James Robinson Sr. and Ralph Rutter on Muddy Creek. James, apparent brother of Thomas Robinson, is probably the one who soon moved to Chester County, Pennsylvania.

For several years beginning in 1700, the Maryland Assembly was concerned with rumors of an impending European war. In 1702, when the tobacco shipping masters were allocated gunpowder rations for defense, Thomas Robinson received 4 quarter barrels.

Thomas Robinson or “Captain Thomas Robinson” was mentioned in administrations for John Eldridge (Cecil County, 1701), Robert Gouldsberry (Ann Arundel County, 1701, also mentions Henry Fish(er) and George Robinson), Henry Riggs (Cecil County, 1702), and Henry Pennington (1702, Cecil County, also mentions Mr. James Frisby).

James Frisby left a Cecil County will in 1702, proved in London, leaving the company sloop to his son-in-law Thomas Robinson. He offered his deceased wife’s ring case to his daughter Sarah Robinson if she should “come to inhabit this country.” Since Thomas was a “merchant of London” in 1699, it seems clear that Thomas and Sarah were in London, at least from 1699 to 1702. Sarah’s relatives, including the Peregrine Brown family, were in London, and Sarah’s brothers were being sent to England to be educated. Thomas and Sarah returned before the end of 1712, when the death of their young son John was recorded in the St. Stephens parish records in North Sassafras Parish.

Thomas Robinson of Maryland and London was probably the shipper who made runs between Liverpool and Bristol and the Atlantic provinces, lading at the Chesapeake and Delaware ports. He shipped on the "Lever" from Liverpool to Virginia, Mr. Bryan Blundell, Master, in 1704, with William Basnett, shipper. Thomas Robinson was also a shipper aboard the "Endeavor," Mr. Edward Tarleton, Master, bound from Liverpool to Virginia,in 1705. He shipped in 1707 on the "Thomas and Elizabeth,” Mr. Joseph Clayton, Liverpool to Philadelphia in 1709; "Lawrell” Liverpool to Virginia; 1709; "Dolphin", Liverpool to Virginia 1710 with John Pemberton; "Seaflower," 1711 Liverpool to Va.; 1711 "Amity," Liverpool to Virginia; 1712 "Rose," Bristol to Virginia; 1712 "Rose," Bristol to Virginia; 1713 "Dolphin," Liverpool to Va.; 1714 "Caesar,” Liverpool to Va.; 1715 “Caesar;” Liverpool to Virginia; 1715 "Mermaid" Liverpool to Virginia.

The Robinson and Fisher families may have become associated through shipping connections. Thomas Robinson probably shipped tobacco for the Fishers. A Francis Fisher was an active shipper and sometimes ship master between 1685 and 1701, who worked the same routes as the shipper Thomas Robinson. This Francis Fisher may have been a descendant of Francis Fisher who came to Virginia with wife Elizabeth (Underwood) in 1652, settling on the Rappahannock River and becoming a county justice before his death in 1656. In 1685, Francis Fisher and James Wallis were both aboard the “Alexander,” bound from Bristol to Virginia. Adjoining land warrants were granted in Chester County, Pennsylvania in early 1701 for James Wallis and (jointly) for Thomas Fisher and Thomas Robinson.

A Pennsylvania land warrant dated March 6, 1701, signed by William Penn, granted Thomas Robinson and Thomas Fisher 300 acres “near the Brandywine.” Thomas Robinson was resident in London at the time, but was probably on a Maryland trading visit when he went to Philadelphia to personally apply for the land warrant, since it does not mention any agent. William Penn was in Philadelphia when he signed the warrant, preparing to return to England on the “Endeavor.” The tract, later surveyed at 200 acres, was in the township of Kennet, Chester County, Pennsylvania and was occupied by the Quakers Thomas Fisher and wife Elizabeth Huntley Fisher in early 1714. It is doubtful that either Thomas Fisher or Thomas Robinson occupied the land before 1714, and the land was likely a property investment. Both Thomas Robinson and Thomas Fisher were assessed taxes in Kennet in 1715 (the first year of surviving tax records) but only Thomas Fisher appears in the Kennet tax lists thereafter. The tract in Kennet was not more than 30 miles from the Elk River and Sassafras River sites in Cecil County, Maryland where the Fisher and Robinson families were active. Thomas Robinson and his wife Sarah (Frisby) Robinson, the Frisbys and the Browns (in-laws of Sarah) all had land in Cecil County, near the Sassafras River. William Fisher and his wife Mary and son Joseph, and Thomas Robinson and his wife’s Frisby relatives were all members of the same church, St. Stephens of North Sassafras Parish. Thomas Robinson of Cecil County and Thomas Fisher of Talbot County (d. 1720) were both captains in the Maryland militia and both were trading merchants.

In 1700, Edward Fisher of Dorchester County, brother of William, referred in his will to his sister-in-law Thomasin Fisher. Thomasin Rideaux (probably a misreading of Prideaux) is known to have married John Robinson in 1676, in Somerset County. In 1714, a son Samuel was born to William and Thomasin Boulding, recorded at St. Stephens Anglican Church in North Sassafras Parish, Cecil County, where members included Thomas Robinson and William and Mary Fisher.

Dr. William Fisher’s land in Cecil County went to William Ward, who left property to Ariana (Ward?) Frisby, wife of James Frisby, sister-in-law of Thomas Robinson.

Thomas Robinson may be a son of John and Thomasin (Rideaux/Prideaux) Robinson. Thomasin may have been the sister-in-law mentioned in the 1700 will of Edward Fisher, of Dorchester County. It is not known if she was related to Thomasin, wife of William Boulton of Cecil County, who appears in the records of St. Stephens.

Frazier/Baker/Flower/Worley Families

In 1713 Alexander Frazer sold to Nathan Baker, a water mill spanning Back Creek, a tributary of Elk River in Cecil County, adjoining the land of Dr. William Fisher. The creek runs into Newcastle County, Delaware, where Alexander Frazer moved from Cecil County. In 1706, Alexander Frazer bought land in Kennet, Chester County near the Thomas Fisher tract. (Describe here the connections between the Worley, Frazer, Flower families.) William Flower was of Chichester, Chester County, and was a member of the Concord Monthly Meeting where Thomas Fisher married in 1713.

William Fisher of Cecil County was a member of the same church, St. Stephens (Anglican) in Cecil County where Thomas Robinson and Alexander Frazer were also members.

Alexander Frasier of Maryland apparently was associated in some way with Thomas Fisher and Thomas Robinson. He is mentioned along with Thomas Robinson in the Maryland inventory of Michael Tawney in 1692. It was probably a relative of the same name who appears in the 1715 Kennet tax list, in Chester County, Pennsylvania, with Thomas Fisher and Thomas Robinson. The Dorchester County administration of Alexander Frazer Sr. in 1709 mentions Mr. Thomas Robins and Francis Frazer. Alexander Jr. moved northward, to Cecil County and remained there, but his father disappeared from the records until 1723. In 1716 Alexander Frazer Jr. of Cecil County, planter, conveyed to William Perry of Dorchester County, planter, part of “Edmondsons Desire,” being that part of said land which was left to said Frazer by will of Denis Dwane, containing 100 acres, being the upper part of the land bought by Dwane from John Atkey for 200 acres. In 1718, Alexander Fraser of Cecil County, planter, conveyed property to Andrew Price of Queen Anne’s County.

Benoni Philips appears to be a brother-in-law of Charles Robinson, named in the 1713 will of Roger Clark of Dorchester County, Maryland. A Benoni Frazer died in Dorchester County in 1773.

George Robinson of Chester County, Pennsylvania named Cicily Robinson in his will of 1717. Cicily Frazer died in 1776 in Caroline County, Maryland.

Prior to 1706 Alexander Frazer, gentleman of Calvert County, apparently went to Chester County, Pennsylvania under puzzling circumstances. In the fall of 1706, Alexander Frazer, “laborer of West Town” (Chester County, Pennsylvania), and Daniel Mackfarson, laborer of Birmingham, in the same county, bought adjoining lots in Kennet, Chester County, from John Guest Esquire of Philadelphia. Frances Chads, an uncle of Elizabeth Huntley (who married Thomas Fisher of Kennet in 1713, in Concord Monthly Meeting), witnessed Alexander Frazer’s deed.

Alexander Frazer returned to Maryland by 1723. In early 1723, a court case in Calvert County gives a clue which may relate to Alexander Frazer’s presence in Chester County, Pennsylvania. William Deale testified that Alexander Frazer, gentleman, had earlier left the province for a considerable number of years, abandoning his wife and children, and upon returning accused his wife of eloping with Deale, who claimed to have only loaned her money.

In 1744, a similar court record refers to Thomas Fisher leaving Maryland. When John Hooper “flung up the lease” on a tract of land and wanted to transfer it to Thomas Fisher, the court said Thomas Fisher had “absconded” and could not be found. There was no mention of how long Hooper had kept the lease or where it was, and it is not known which Thomas Fisher is being referred to. But it is possible that it was a long-term lease, and Thomas Fisher had left long ago for Pennsylvania. If it was Thomas Fisher of Kennet, he had by that time moved to East Caln, further north in Chester County.

Hollingsworth Family

(To be supplied.)

Stanfield Family Connections in Maryland

James Stanfield, an uncle of Elizabeth Huntley Fisher of Chester County, Pennsylvania, is mentioned in the Maryland inventory of James Dunkan in Somerset County in 1698. Joseph Dunkan is mentioned in the inventory of John Fisher, of Calvert County, in 1704. James Stanfield was a Philadelphia merchant and shipper who owned the brigantine “Betsy.” His estate administration after his death in 1699 mentions business in Baltimore, and cattle on Gibson’s Island, near the Baltimore harbor.

James Standfield and Charles Pickering, merchants of Pennsylvania, were witnesses when John Richardson Sr. of Kent County in Pennsylvania conveyed all his property in Maryland to John Edmonson Sr. of Talbot County, County, Maryland.

Fishbourne Family

Ralph Fishbourne is another example of a Maryland planter who moved to Chester County, Pennsylvania. He was a prominent early Quaker who moved to the town of Chester, on the Delaware River, in 1699. His father-in-law was John Simcock. In Chester, the property where Ralph Fishbourne and wife Elizabeth lived abutted that of Isaac Few, an uncle of Elizabeth (Huntley) Fisher (wife of Thomas Fisher of Kennet). In Maryland, Ralph Fishbourne had property on the Choptank River near Bollingbroke Creek, where William Robinson and William Fisher also had property. Ralph Fishbourne, a neighbor of William Fisher and William Robinson in Talbot County, Maryland, moved to the town of Chester, Chester County, in 1698.

Which Thomas Fisher Is Named with Thomas Robinson on the Chester County (Pa) Land Warrant of 1701?

Among the existing early records of Maryland, there are at least two Thomas Fishers who could have been the one named on a Thomas Fisher/Thomas Robinson 1701 warrant for land near the Brandywine in Chester County, Pennsylvania. The Chester County Thomas Fisher, who settled on the Pennsylvania tract in 1714, would have been born before 1692, and died in 1747 in Chester County. At the time of the warrant, Thomas Robinson was a young but reputable merchant, married and temporarily residing in London, with family and business ties in Maryland, and a member of the Maryland militia.

A possible applicant on the Pennsylvania land warrant would be Thomas Fisher II of Talbot/Queene Anne County, an influential planter and justice. He almost certainly knew Thomas Robinson of Maryland, another one-time justice and merchant of Talbot County. Both were captains in the Maryland militia. Thomas Fisher of Talbot/Queene Anne County died in 1721, leaving a son Thomas and other heirs, all of whom can be accounted for in Maryland. If Thomas II is the land applicant in question, it would have to be a relative (nephew?) who moved onto the Pennsylvania property. In that case, possible relatives would be the Fishers of St. Stephens Parish (William and Mary), where Thomas Robinson lived . Any reason for the Pennsylvania property to be passed over by the direct heirs of Thomas II is not known.

Another possibility is that Thomas Fisher, son of William of Nanticoke River in Dorchester County and under age in 1701, was named on the land warrant due to sponsorship by Thomas Robinson as a guardian. This Thomas Fisher was orphaned between 1698 and 1702, perhaps just prior to the warrant application. If the Fishers of Cecil County were related to the Fishers on the Nanticoke, this could have happened.

Family Namesakes for the Children of Thomas Fisher of Chester County, Pennsylvania

Thomas Fisher and Elizabeth (Huntley) Fisher had seven known children (William, James, Elizabeth, Samuel, Francis, Thomas and Mary), and also had a suspected daughter, Susannah. All have names of known relatives except James (the first or second son), Susannah and Samuel, also among the older children. James may have been named after a step-father. In Maryland, it could have been James Robinson or James Frisby, both suspected uncles of Thomas Fisher. Susannah could have been named for Susannah, wife of William Robinson, or Susannah, daughter of Thomas Fisher II of Talbot County. Samuel could have been named for someone in the Maryland family started by Samuel Fisher, who was transported in 1661. Two boys, Samuel and Thomas Fisher, were servants to Samuel Turbott in Talbot County in 1723.

Why Was Thomas Fisher of Pennsylvania a Member of Concord Monthly Meeting in 1713?

Thomas Fisher (or a relative of the same name) had a claim to land in Kennet long before 1713. His foster parents may have lived in the verge of Concord Monthly Meeting, with the land waiting for his maturity. Concord Monthly Meeting covered a wide area, and there were members from several surrounding townships. The record of Thomas coming to the meeting was either lost, or his foster parents were there before he came of age. It is possible that he went there from Maryland upon reaching maturity, with the express purpose of marrying Elizabeth Huntley. Thomas and Elizabeth moved across the Brandywine, onto the Robinson/Fisher tract in Kennet, in 1714.

West Town, Chester County, where Alexander Frazer (believed to be the one from Maryland) lived in 1706, was in the verge of Concord Monthly Meeting where Thomas Fisher was a member in 1713. Could there be a connection?

Further Research

The case for the Chester County connection to the Maryland Fishers apparently is not supported by this study. Some topics which could be studied further are:

• The Fishers of Cecil County, Maryland – Did heirs of Dr. William Fisher stay in Cecil County? Were William and Mary Fisher, Anglicans of St. Stephens Parish with son Joseph, heirs of Dr. Fisher? The Cecil County land summaries say there are transactions in 1734 and 1760 regarding heirs of William Fisher. Can these records be found? Can other children of William and Mary be identified?
• The 1000-acre tract of Edward and Frances Fisher in Delaware – Find out how they came to own this. Was there a connection to the William Clark family who bought it from them in 1700? Who was Thomas Fisher who acted as agent in Delaware for the sale?
• Frances Fisher -- Who was Frances, widowed by Richard Willis and later wife of Edward Fisher?
• William and Edward Fisher of Nanticoke River – Were they related to the other Maryland Fishers?
• Others who moved from Maryland to Chester County, Pennsylvania – Who did Thomas Fisher of Chester County live with prior to his marriage to Elizabeth Huntley in 1713?
• Additional study of all the Maryland Fishers – The fate of several of the known Fisher indentures and immigrants is still unknown. It may be possible to sort them out more clearly.
• Additional study of the Delaware Fishers.

Location of St. Stephens (Sassafras) Parish Anglican Church
Cecil County, Maryland

View Map

View Map of Kennett Properties of Fisher, Robinson, Frazier & Wallis.