Fish, Charles E.

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                                 PEOPLE FROM THE PAST
                                   Charles E. Fish

Charles E. Fish, a prominent Newcastle businessman at the turn of the century, was the son of James Alexander Fish and Sophia Childs, of Waterville, Maine. Several years after their marriage, James Fish moved to the Miramichi. Here he worked in the woods and later in a saw-mill. He sent for his family which consisted at that time, of Sophia, and their three children – James, Hiram and Esther.

The family traveled the whole distance on foot. They first traveled from Waterville to Saint John. Then they proceeded along the Saint John River to Fredericton. From there they traveled to Miramichi through the woods since there was only a road for a short distance.

Shortly after their arrival at Miramichi, Esther died. Hiram became a tanner and currier. He died at thirty-eight years of age. James Jr. worked in the lumber business with his father. He eventually started his own business and at one time was the largest lumber exporter in Newcastle. In 1844 James Jr. married Elizabeth McAllister, daughter of John McAllister of Doaktown. Mr. McAllister had emigrated from Edinburg in 1818. In Doaktown he ran a carding mill, grist mill, large farm and a lumber business. Mrs. McAllister came from a prominent family in Dumfriesshire, Scotland. Elizabeth died in 1887 and James followed in 1896. They had 11 children. Four died in childhood. Hiram became a physician and died in 1897. William E. was a civil engineer and deputy crown land surveyor. Jane Elizabeth and Sophia Childs lived in Newcastle. E. Clifford became a physician and practiced in Melrose, Mass. James O. was a farmer and a lumberman in Newcastle.

Charles E. Fish was educated at Harkins Academy. After his schooling he worked with his father in the lumber business for awhile.

In 1885 he set out on his own and purchased a large stone quarry on the Miramichi River. It had the largest deposit of sandstone in the Maritime Provinces. The business prospered. His quarry provided the stone for such buildings as the post offices in Chatham, Newcastle and Fraserville, Que., St. Patrick’s Church in Nelson, St. Dunstan’s Cathedral in Charlottetown, P. E. I., City Hall in Hamilton, Ont., the Langevin Block and Departmental Building in Ottawa, the McIntyre residence in Montreal, the residence of James Ross, street car magnate of Montreal, and the Joyce Building and James Street Methodist Church, both of Montreal.

He represented Newcastle for two years on the County Council. He was assessor for ten years. He was a member of Newcastle’s first town council and in 1899 was elected to the provincial parliament.

He married Annie E. Willard of Cherryfield, Maine, in 1882. They had seven children: Cecil W. died in infancy, Bryant died at five years of age, Sada P., Frances W., Mildred A., Iris A. and Ruth F.

Frances Fish went on to become the first woman to graduate from Dalhousie Law School and the first woman admitted to the Bar in New Brunswick.


Andrew Fraser

Source: Northumberland News – May 18, 1983

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