Saturday, 3 September 2016

Our immigrant ancestors -- Samuel A. Fisher (1758-1812)

My 4th paternal great grandfather was Samuel A. Fisher, who was born in Londonderry, New Hampshire in 1758 to Deacon Samuel Fisher and Sarah Barber. In chapter 38 of his 1873 book, Historical and Genealogical Record of the First Settlers of Colchester County, Thomas Miller writes this about of Samuel A.:
"Samuel, son of Deacon Samuel Fisher, was born in Londonderry, New Hampshire.  He removed to Nova Scotia in 1767.  He was married to Mary, daughter of Eliakim Tupper, Esq., and Elizabeth Newcomb.  He settled on the interval farm that is now owned by Mr. Samuel Butler and Mr. Patterson, on the south side of the Stewiacke River, in 1784.  He was a worthy man; he went by the name of Deacon Fisher also.  He died in Stewiacke, May 12th, 1812."
Miller also writes about the passage of Samuel's father, Deacon Samuel Fisher, my 5th great grandfather from Ireland to America this:
"Deacon Samuel Fisher was born in the North of Ireland, in the year 1722, and was of Scottish descent. His father was a weaver. He came to America in 1740, in the 19th year of his age. The ship in which he came was usually spoken of as "The starved ship". The vessel was so scantily supplied with provisions, that, long before the voyage was completed, one pint of oatmeal for each individual on board, and a proportionate allowance of water, was all that remained. Mr. Fisher once went to the mate with a tablespoon to obtain some water, which was refused him, there being but two-thirds of a bottlefull on board. Mr. Fisher's custom was to take a spoonfull of meal and having moistened it with salt water, to eat it raw. The passengers and crew, having subsisted in this manner for fourteen days, were at length reduced to the necessity of eating the bodies of those who died. Even this resource failed them; and, at length, Mr. Fisher was selected to give up his life to preserve the lives of the rest. Providentially, however, a vessel hove in sight; and their signals of distress being observed, they obtained relief, and he was saved. So deep an impression did the horrors of that passage make upon the mind of Mr. Fisher, that, in after life, he could never see, without pain, the least morsel of food wasted, or a pail of water thrown on the ground carelessly."
What a harrowing journey! This story takes my breath away. Deacon Samuel married three times in New Hampshire. Samuel A. is the second son of his final marriage, to Sarah Barber.

Samuel A. arrived in Truro, Colchester, Nova Scotia in about 1767, aged nine, with his older half sister, Janet and her husband Matthew Archibald. He married Mary Tupper (1766-1812), a daughter of Eliakim Tupper and Elizabeth Newcomb in about 1786, and they went on to have ten children, making their home in Upper Stewiake, Colchester, Nova Scotia, where he farmed. In 1791, Samuel A. is recorded in a poll tax roll as residing there.

Samuel A. died on 12 May 1812, following Mary, who predeceased him only weeks earlier on 23 Apr 1812. It is reported in sources that Samuel A. and Mary were the first white people to be buried in Upper Stewiake's Riverside Cemetery, built on land that had originally been an aboriginal burying ground.

The never ending story continues...

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