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Champaign County, Illinois

Biography of Robert Fisher

SOURCE: "History of Champaign County, Illinois with Illustrations," 1878



One of the old residents of the county, formerly residing in Mahomet township but now living in Newcomb, was born in Madison county, Ohio, on the 22d of August, 1829. On his father's side, his ancestors came from Virginia, and on his mother's, from Maryland. His father, James W. FISHER, was born in Virginia in the year 1806. He was four years of age when he came to Ohio with his father in the year 1810. The family first settled in Ross county, one of the oldest settled parts of the state, and the date at which they arrived entitled them to the distinction of being among the pioneer settlers of Ohio. James W. Fisher afterward removed to Defiance county, Ohio. He married Sarah G. MORTIMORE, who was a native of the state of Maryland; she afterward lived in Kentucky, from which state her father moved to Ohio. Robert FISHER, the subject of this biography, was the second of three children.

He was raised in Defiance county, Ohio. In his boyhood that was a new country, particularly the neighborhood where his father had located; wild animals were the most numerous neighbors, and the family was surrounded with few immediate signs of civilization. A country school, held in a log school-house, furnished him with advantages for obtaining an education equal to those which the boys of Ohio generally enjoyed at that day.

In the year 1848 his father moved with the family to Illinois. They remained three months in Piatt county, and then came to Champaign county, settling in Mahomet township, a mile and a half east of Mahomet. Their location was on the edge of the timber, to which all the settlements at that time were confined, the prairie lying wild and uncultivated. James W. Fisher died on this farm in the year 1869. Mr. Fisher was farming in, Mahomet township, in connection with his father, till the latter's death. He and his father had become owners of one thousand acres of land in Newcomb township, and Mr. Fisher disposed of the farm in Mahomet township, and in the year 1871 moved to section 1 of Newcomb township, where he has since resided. He is the possessor of fourteen hundred acres of land lying in Newcomb and Condit townships, and has been largely engaged carrying on farming operations, giving his attention to general farming and stock raising.

His marriage occurred on the 11th of September, 1851, to Miss S. A. HAM daughter of Bartholomew B. HAM of Champaign county. Mr. and Mrs. Fisher were married in Piatt county. Of the six children, the oldest son, James F. FISHER, is now farming on his own account in Condit township; the eldest daughter, Lucinda J. is the wife of E. A. LYON, of Fisher; the remaining children, George A., Wiley D., Charles H. and Minnie A. are living at home.

Mr. Fisher is a man of more than ordinary enterprise and energy, one who believes in building up and developing a country by judicious investments in undertakings calculated to prove productive of general good to the community. He has not hesitated to aid with both influence and money any enterprise intended to promote the interests of his part of the county. When the project of building the Havana, Rantoul and Eastern railroad first had its inception, Mr. Fisher lent his earliest and most earnest support to the enterprise. He saw that such a road would develop the north-western part of the county, bring to the farmers a nearer market, increase the conveniences of living and enhance the value of farm property. He was prominent in advocating the plan for the new road, and when the project assumed actual shape, he was one of the seven men who furnished the capital and energy to build the first fifty-two miles, and is now one of its principal owners. He took hold in earnest of the matter from the start, and was influential in pushing the undertaking forward to the successful beginning which has now been made. He has been a member of the board of directors from its first organization.

He is the contractor for grading and bridging the Leroy narrow gauge road, extending twenty-two miles and a half, from Fisher to Leroy, which on its completion is to form part of the Havana, Rantoul and eastern railroad, and constitute a link in the chain of narrow gauge road which is soon to stretch across the state from the Indiana border to the Mississippi river. In the Leroy Narrow Gauge road he is the largest stockholder.

Mr. Fisher, when he became old enough to have notions of his own in regard to politics, united with the Old Line Whigs, and in 1852 cast his first vote for president for General Winfield Scott. A few years after the Republican party was organized, and he gave it his earnest support and sympathy, and has continued a Republican from that time to the present. Both he and his wife for the last twenty years have been members of the Methodist Episcopal church. He is a man of generous feelings and liberal impulses, and his support has always been relied upon in aid of every religious and moral undertaking. The town of Fisher was laid out on his land and named in his honor. He has studied to advance the interests of the town in every possible manner, and largely to him is due the prosperous growth which so far has marked its progress.

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