The Fishers of Dedham

When I started working on the Early New England Families Study Project sketch for Daniel Fisher of Dedham, I had a vague recollection that he might be one of my ancestors. However, once I pulled out my old folded, torn, and turning-brown 12-generation wall chart (only about half of which has been entered in my genealogy database), I realized that no, I am not descended from Daniel. My ancestor is Daniel’s first cousin, Joshua Fisher Jr.

Daniel and Joshua Jr.’s fathers, Anthony and Joshua Fisher, were brothers, both of whom brought their families to New England in the late 1630s. This means they have not yet been treated in the Great Migration Study Project (complete only through 1635), but, very fortunately, the Fishers and their ancestors have recently been more than thoroughly treated in print.[1]

Joshua Fisher Jr. probably came to New England in 1637 with the party led by his uncle Anthony; thus he and his cousin Daniel arrived together, but while Daniel stayed in Dedham, Joshua Jr. later settled in Medfield. Both Daniel and Joshua Jr. were baptized in Syleham, Suffolk, England; Daniel was the older, baptized in 1618, and Joshua in 1621. When they arrived in New England in 1637 Daniel was 19 and Joshua Jr. 16.

Daniel was the first to marry. He married at Dedham in 1641 to Abigail Marrett, who was also a second-generation Great Migration child, arriving in 1635 at the age of 12 with her parents Thomas and Susan (Wolfenden) Marrett.[2] Daniel and Abigail had seven children.

Joshua Jr. married his first wife, Mary Aldis, in Dedham in 1643, and they had seven children before she died in late 1653. He married second in February 1653/54 my ancestress Lydia (____) Oliver, widow of Samuel Oliver, who had drowned in March 1652.[3] Curiously, Lydia and Samuel had a son “Vigilent” Oliver, born in 1647, and Lydia and Joshua’s first child, born in 1654, was named “Vigilence” Fisher, who is my ancestor.

All of which, of course, is carrying me far away from my present objective – finishing the sketch for Daniel Fisher. Back to work.


[1] The New England Historical and Genealogical Register 151 [1997]: 171–91, 291–99, 300–7, 154 [2000]: 495–96, 159 [2005]: 25–34; Dean Crawford Smith and Melinde Lutz Sanborn, eds., The Ancestry of Eva Belle Kempton 1878–1908, Part IV: The Ancestry of Linda Anna Powers 1839–1879 (Boston: NEHGS, 2000), 218–44.

[2] Robert Charles Anderson, George F. Sanborn, Jr., and Melinde Lutz Sanborn, The Great Migration: Immigrants to New England, 1634–1635, 7 vols. (Boston: 1999-2011), 5: 18–22.

[3] Samuel Oliver was brother of Early New England Families Study Project subject John Oliver.

About Alicia Crane Williams

Alicia Crane Williams, FASG, Lead Genealogist of Early Families of New England Study Project, has compiled and edited numerous important genealogical publications including The Mayflower Descendant and the Alden Family “Silver Book” Five Generations project of the Mayflower Society. Most recently, she is the author of the 2017 edition of The Babson Genealogy, 1606-2017, Descendants of Thomas and Isabel Babson who first arrived in Salem, Massachusetts, in 1637. Alicia has served as Historian of the Massachusetts Society of Mayflower Descendants, Assistant Historian General at the General Society of Mayflower Descendants, and as Genealogist of the Alden Kindred of America. She earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Connecticut and a master’s degree in History from Northeastern University.

27 thoughts on “The Fishers of Dedham

  1. Hi Alicia. There are many Ancestors, and In-Laws in the Family Tree of this Fisher family re Hilton, Washington and Morse and possibly Morris Families who are connected to my Family.
    William Hilton-born in 1488 in England is a firm Ancestor backed by Family Tree DNA data of mine. There are many other names who are most likely related to me. I appreciate reading about the great Genealogy of Massachusetts and many other States. Thanks for all your help. Sincere Best Wishes, Cousin !!, Paul Morris Hilton, Harvey Station, New Brunswick, Canada..

  2. Alicia –
    The lines of your story pattern my search for Thomas Wyelder-Wilder of Charlestown before he moved to Lancaster/Nashaway in July 1659 [where there are many stories]. NEHGS does not have much. The first note of Thomas in Charlestown was 1638. Friends Dunster and Gould are clues. Still I can find little – much less the ship from England. Later DNA separated Thomas from Edward Wilder [who went to Hingham]. The pattern of little early information seems stable over the last ten years. Any forward guidance would help – or, chuckles, you could take on the project!

    1. Hi Ann, First, the odds of finding a specific ship on which an ancestor arrived are really small. Although many lists were kept in England, certainly not all survive, and there definitely wasn’t any New England customs agents recording people when they arrived!
      Second, a very quick look at the sources for Thomas Wilder given by Bob Anderson in “Great Migration Directory” pops up the most intriguing theory mentioned in Mary Lovering Holman’s sketch on Thomas from “Stevens-Miller” that is his wife might have been related to James Johnson, who was from Little Boughton, Northhants. and whose sister married Robert Meeres. With the new indexes to English records through Findmypast, etc., it would be a good idea to see if any Wilders show up in the same area.

      1. Thank you. I will follow on the hints you gave and try to do so at no cost. My dear son got me a subscription to NEHGS and will try there again; perhaps drive 80 miles to Knoxville and look at the volume. Appreciate your help.

  3. I am very glad I am not the only one who is easily distracted when it comes to genealogy! LOL! Thank you for your wonderful story.

  4. Talk about easily distracted. I would like to know the dimensions of a 12-generation wall chart. How many names is that? Never mind that I am personally encouraged that you have information not yet entered in your own data base. I’ve given a name to some of my meanderings. I say I’m “off in the weeds.” Thanks for sharing!

    1. Willetta, the chart measures about 25″ x 23″. It was copyrighted in 1987 by Grant L. Misbach of Salt Lake and is the type that one handwrites information on, so I don’t know if they still make them in our “modern” computer age.

  5. I am also descended from Joshua Fisher,Jr by 1st wife Mary Aldis by his John.
    John Fisher was born on February 18, 1652-53, in Dedham, Massachusetts, to Mary Aldis, age 30, and Joshua Fisher, age 30. Mary died in September of 1653. Joshua married Lydia and had your ancestor and was the only mother that John knew.
    I descend from John and Hannah (Adams)Fisher daughter Rachel bp 1679 in Medfied and married Jonathan Boyden, of Thomas b 1713 Ipswich, Eng.
    arrived in 1634 at Sicuate Plymouth Colony on the Francis in service to Mr Gilson. He built windmills.
    My Jonathan was born in Watertown and moved to Medfield with his father to settle on hus stepmother properties in Medfield. Where he met Rachel❤️
    Nice to connect to the other branch.

  6. I thoroughly enjoyed this blog posting. I’m a direct descendant of the Daniel Fisher you mention. All of my Great Migrations direct ancestors, of which there are dozens, remained in the towns of Dedham, Medfield, Dover, Natick, Needham, and Wellesley over a period of hundreds of years, and up to 350 years, in the case of my mother and her siblings. They clung to farming and related trades into the 1950s, with several cousins taking the agricultural way of life into Vermont and New Hampshire through the 1990s.

  7. Alicia, I have wanted to connect with you for quite a while, and now seems to be the moment. I am a direct descendant of Anthony Fisher, as well as other town fathers and mothers of Dedham. I am a recently retired Californian, and only now acquiring the time and skills to do the work to flesh out my New England ancestry. I would love to consult with you when I have more of my information organized.
    Katherine Foster

    1. Katherine, The downside of my job makes it impossible for me to find time to do consultations, but keep collecting and organizing your information. You will learn as you go, plus keep reading Vita-brevis!

  8. Alicia, always enjoy reading your posts so much, always informative. My wife is descended from Anthony Fisher through his daughter Lydia who m. Daniel Morse and through his son Anthony who m. Joanna Faxon. Lots of connections w/ Dedham and Medfield people, some very tangled!

  9. Hello Cousin – I’m descended from Anthony III down the Josiah’s and Jonathan’s to Samuel Thomas. Part of the group that moved with the western migration. So fun to find other Fisher cousins. Also I have to tell you that every time I see your picture I think I’m looking at my sister. The resemblance is uncanny! Thank you so much for all the effort on our behalf.

  10. Interesting post! I descend from Joshua and Mary Fisher’s son Joshua who married Esther Wiswall. I also have Morses, and I suspect there are other cousin connections between us.

  11. I too have been working on the Daniel Fisher family as I am descended from the Daniel Fisher that married Hannah Hill in Dorchester c. 1661 and their son Daniel born there in 1663. My Daniel Fisher family removed to Taunton by 1671. All written accounts of the Daniel Fisher who married Hannah Hill say he is a son of Anthony Fisher, but after going through all Dorchester, Dedham and Medfield records I feel he cannot be a son of either Joshua or Anthony Fisher. I feel my Daniel Fisher has been mixed up with the son of Daniel and Abigail (Marriott) Fisher. There must have been another Daniel Fisher (sibling? cousin?) in Dedham or Dorchester at the same time. Naming patterns within Daniel and Hannah Fisher’s family (1st daughter Hannah, 1st son Daniel, 2nd son John) make me think he possibly could have been a son of John who died 1637, but no one to date has proven John had any children before his death, and land and probate records have not helped. Would love to share specifics as I think this all relates to your sketch on Daniel Fisher.

  12. My g g g grandfather Ezra Fisher came to Oregon as a Baptist missionary in 1845. His parents were from Dedham, He and his ice Lucy Taft Fisher were Eary pioneers.

  13. Hi my name is Joseph fisher I live in raynham ma and I am related to Anthony fisher been doing fisher research for many years started in 1979 got a lay of info and we are a lot of them are buried

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.