Washington Twp.

Carroll County Biography

This well-known resident of Washington Twp, besides having achieved a reputation as a skillful and successful agriculturist and stock-raiser, is also a skilled machinist of no small note, having given largely of his attention to millwrighting. In connection with this profession evidences of his proficiency and judgment may be found in many of the States of the Union from Maine to Texas. He is, besides, an extensive land-owner, having a beautiful farm of 600 acres, finely located near the Mississippi River, and including a portion of the beautiful bluffs which grandly overlook the Father of Waters. This land is well watered by one of the finest springs in this part of the State, which has a volume equal to 36 inches.

Mr. Fish came to Northern Illinois in the fall of 1865, and in 1870 located ona a tract of land, from which he has built up one of the finest homesteads in this region, and brought a large proportion of it to a good state of cultivation. He is mainly interested in stock raising, keeping usually 150 head of Short-horn cattle, besides other stock, which he feeds and ships to the Eastern markets. He is also engaged to a certain extent in dairying, having for this purpose 45 cows with all the equipment necessary to the successful prosecution of this industry.

A New Englander by birth, Mr. Fish first opened his eyes to the light in Derby, Orleans Co VT Sept. 8, 1825. His father, Ira Fish, wsa also a native of the Green Mountain State. He carried on farming there, and was also a professional millwright and a prominent man in his native county. He held many of the local offices, and finally represented his county in the State Legislature several terms. He possess more than ordinary mental abilities with a remarkable memory and a rare faculty of being able to quote most any passage in the bible at will. He traced ihs ancestry to three brothers who crossed the Atlantic from England prior to the Revolution and settled in New England, where they were represented for several generations aferward. To one of these brothers there was born a family of seven children, and among them was Jacob, the eldest son, and the parental grandfather of our subject. The other children were Rufus, John, Elisha, David, Elijah and Joseph. Both Jacob and his son, Ira Fish, spent their entire lives in New England.

The paternal grandmother of our subject was in her girlhood a Miss Davis, and she died when her son Ira was but a child of 6. Jacob Fish had been considerably employed during the years of his active life as a Government Surveyor, and was a man of fine abilities, which were transmitted in a marked degre to his son Ira. The later died in Derby, VT at the advanced age of 72 years in 1871. Politically, he wsa in early manhood a member of the old Whig party and upon its abandonment identified himself with the Republicans. In religious matters he belonged to the Christian Church. The mother of our subject was Miss Isabella Arnold, and she was born and reared in Orleans COunty VT being of ancestry similar to that of her husband. Her father, Calvin Arnold, was a well to do business man of the town of Derby, where he sojourned for the long period of 65 years and where his death took place. Mrs. Isabella (Arnold) Fish died in Derby VT in 1850 at the age of 44. She was a most worhty and excellent lady, and a member of the Baptist Church.

To Ira and Isabella, the parents of our subject, ws born a family of 10 children - four sons and six daughters, eight of whom lived to mature years, married and had families of their own. Seven are now living. They comprise a bright and intelligent family group and were given excellent educational advantages. George R. completed his studies in Derby Seminary adn was especially proficient in mathematics. At an early age he evinced a natural talent for drafting, and turned this to good account after taking up the profession of millwright, being able to make draftings of machinery with unusual accuracy, and which has proved to be the source of a fine income. For a period of 40 years he has been connected with this business as superintendent and Designer in many of the most important mills which have been erected in the US; some of them at a cost exceeding $100,000. He has superintended the placing of machinery in mills in Alexandria VA, in the the Metropolis Mills at Leavenworth KS, at Manchester IA, St. Joseph MO and in the city of Chicago, besides other places.

Finally on account of failing health and close application to business, Mr. Fish was obliged to withdraw partially from millwrighting and, coming to Northern IL, purchased the land from which he has since constructed his valuable farm. In this county he found his bride, being married in the winter of 1861 at Savanna toMiss Eva Pierce, a native of this place. Mrs. Eva Fish became the mother of three children adn died at the birth of the youngest child five years after her marriage. The infant also died, unnamed. The two l iving are Ira adn Belle. The former remains at home with his father and the latter is the wife of John Hammond who operates a farm south of Mt. Carroll.

Our subject contracted a second marriage on the 14th of April 1870 in Mt. Carroll with Miss Elizabeth A. Stakemiller. This lady was born in Perry County PA June 20, 1843 and when a girl of 12 or 13 years came with her paretns Jacob and Ann (Heppel) Stakemiller, to this county; they located in Mt. Carroll, where they made their home until their decease, each living to be past three score years of age. They wer born, reared, and married in the Keystone State of which all their children were natives. Mrs. Elizabeth Fish remained under the home roof until her marriage, acquiring her education in the common schools, adn receiving a careful home training. She was the only daughter of the family, and has two brothers living. Jacob W. is a furniture dealer of Sterling IL and John E. is farming in Carroll Twp, this county.

Of the present marriage there have been born five children; tow of whom, Frank and Mary, died when quite young. The survivors are all sons - George, Charles adn Howard who remain under the home roof, and are pursuing their studies in the district school. Mr. and Mrs. Fish are members in good standing of the Christian Church. He cast his first Presidential vote for John C. Fremont, and continues to support eh principles of the Republican party. He is a man looked up to in his community, and has borne no unimportant part in the development of this portion of the county.

Portraits and Biographical 1889 Pg 890

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