Notes for Joseph Martin Fish (Fishback): T H E F I S H M A N U S C R I P T Page
Joseph Martin Fishback was born in Germany in 1797. He, a well-educated man, had been trained for the Catholic priesthood in his youth, according to "The Fish Story" by Mary Alnora "Nora" Cox Drennan, a descendant of Aspermont, Texas. When he came to America he was accompanied by four brothers, according to Angeline Cyrella Fish Lynch, a descendant of Waco, Texas. She reported that they separated and, presumably, he never saw any of his brothers again. Lera Beck Nix, a descendant of Ranger, Texas, wrote in May 1970, "Joseph Fish came across from Germany to New York City in the year 1811. He brought along some books including a large bible printed in German. Later he moved from New York to Louisiana."
The German word "Fishback" is composed of two words meaning "fish" and "brook" and is an ancient family in Germany, according to Reuben DeWitt Fishback who published "Genealogy of the Fishbach Family" in Cincinnati in 1926. His account dealt with two emigrant brothers and their descendants in America. John Fishbach and Hermann Fishback were born to Philip Fishbach and Elizabeth Fishbach at Truppbach. John Fishbach was baptized in 1691, and Hermann Fishbach was baptized 21st, 3rd month, 1693, according to church records. In 1713 they left Germany for England and arrived in Germana, Virginia in April 1714. Arriving with the party was Elizabeth Fishbach, believed to be a daughter of John Fishbach, and John Jacob Rector who was shortly to become her husband, according to Larry King, 100 Longview Drive, Hendersonville, Tennessee, a descendant. Children born to the Rectors include John Rector, Henry Rector, Harmon Rector and Jacob Rector. The area of Truppbach Valley, which also included a hamlet named Fishbacherberg, was located a mile north of Siegen, Westphalia, Germany, and was a center of the Fishback family, according to "Virginia Soldiers of 1776." Volume 11 of this series carried a report on John Fishbach. Hermann Fishbach died in 1783 in his 90th year.
Apparently Joseph Martin Fishback decided to anglicize his name shortly after arrival in America, using "Fish" thereafter. It is unknown if his brothers also elected to use the name "Fish." A John Fish, "born in Germany, 1809" was enumerated as the head of Household 472-472 in the 1860 census of Fayette County, Texas, according to Drennan research, however other researchers have been unable to verify this enumeration.
It is believed that Joseph Martin Fish arrived in Louisiana about 1819 since he was shown as "unnaturalized" in the census of 1820. This also suggests that he may have entered the United States at New Orleans rather than New York. He may have come as a soldier in the War of 1812 sometime prior to 1815, however he was not indexed as the head of a household there in the census of 1810. If he received naturalization papers at New Orleans the documentation might be found in the "Old Mint" in New Orleans. The federal mint building was deeded to the State of Louisiana by the federal government, and it now houses such records. Inquiries should be addressed to Miss Rose Lambert, Louisiana State Museum and History Library, 400 Esplanade, New Orleans, LA, 70116.
Joseph Martin Fish was married in St. Tammany Parish January 13, 1820 to Nancy "Ann" Dyches (D6/1.4), according the parish Marriage Book 1, page 45. The marriage register recorded, "A License issued, directed to Peter Bauhthane, Esqr, who returned certificate of having performed on the 13th Jany. in the presence of Thomas Addison, Cullen Saunders and Lot Ridgle."
She was born in 1802 in Louisiana, the daughter of Josiah Dyches and Lucinda Dyches. She was born in 1801 in South Carolina, according to her 1880 census enumeration.
Josiah Dyches filed Land Claim No. 74-C 762, according to Book A, page 3, "Notices and Evidences in Cosby Settlement Claims" in St. Tammany Parish courthouse:
"To James O. Cosby, Esqr.
Commissioner of Land Claims
Take Notice that I claim six hundred and forty acres of land lying on the east side of Tanchipaho, which I improved and settled in August 1806, and which has been in actual cultivation and inhabitation ever since by me.
For additional information on the Dyches family, see "The Widder Dyches."
Joseph Martin Fish was enumerated as the head of a household in the 1820 census of St. Tammany Parish, Louisiana:
"Fish Martin white male 26-45
white female 26-45
two foreign born, not naturalized"
The enumeration was repeated in the 1820 census of adjoining Washington Parish, suggesting that they lived near the boundary line and were recorded in both parishes. The second listing appeared as:
"Fish Martin white male 16-26
white female 16-26"
He was enumerated as the head of a household in the 1830 census of Washington Parish, Louisiana, page 81. The household was recorded as:
"Fish, Joseph white male 30-40 one foreign born and
white female 20-30 naturalized
white male 5-10
white female 5-10
white female 0-5
white female 0-5
white female 0-5"
His was the only Fish family indexed in the 1830 Louisiana census.
Washington Parish adjoined St. Tammany Parish on the north and the state of Mississippi on the west. Also enumerated in 1830 in Washington Parish were the households of Samuel Dykes, William Dykes, page 80; William Dykes and Joseph Dykes, page 81.
Joseph Adam Fish (F5/1.5), son of Joseph Martin Fish (F6/1.1), reported in his 1850 census enumeration that he was born "in Mississippi" in 1830, however this is believed to be an error. He reported that he was born in Louisiana in the 1880 and 1900 enumerations.
During this decade the battle for Texas independence was fought, and Joseph Martin Fish (F6/1.1) was influenced to move to the new republic, perhaps by his brother-in-law, David Hutcheson McFaden (M6/1.1) who was a soldier under Gen. Sam Houston in the conflict.
It is believed that he removed to Jasper County, Texas, very near the Louisiana state line, about 1836. Patricia Ann "Patty" Bennett McGinty (B1/1.2), Fish researcher of Houston, reported finding in San Augustine County, Texas records: "Joseph Fish, October 5, 1835, native of Georgia, family of four, emigrated 1829 to Texas." John Dodd McCall (M3/2.5), a great-grandson, related that the family "moved to Texas in oxcarts and settled in an area where timber was plentiful. They used the wood to construct wagons and implements. From seasoned hickory they made ox-bows." He appeared there on the 1840 Jasper County tax roll as "Joseph Fish, one poll and 10 head of cattle." He received a labor of land under First Class Certificate No. 28 February 15, 1855, according to Jasper County Deed Book 12, patent 109.
Upon arrival in Texas Joseph Martin Fish (F6/1.1) applied for a land grant. On May 13, 1836 he gave a deed to "one-half of a sitio of land which Joseph M. Fish is entitled to as an emigrant and settler in Zavala's Colony, Department of Nacogdoches, Municipality of Jasper" to Stephen W. Everitt for $2,000, according to Williamson County Deed Book 2, page 426. He gave bond to insure title to Everitt, and in it stated that he had "served the Republic of Texas in the capacity as landowner and loyal citizen." The bond was also recorded in Williamson County Deed Book 2, page 426.
Joseph Martin Fish (F6/1.1) appeared as a taxpayer in the 1840 tax list of Jasper County. Appearing on the same page were the renditions of "Lewis Dykes and William Dykes."
On April 1, 1844 he purchased land for $1,000 "from the northwest quarter of the headright league of Jesse McGee, 600 acres adjoining Joseph Fish, from Jesse McGee, Malinda McGee and Jane Duncan of Jasper County," according to Jasper County Deed Book G, page 166-67. The deed was witnessed by Philip Stone and "John Fish," believed to be a son of Joseph Martin Fish (F6/1.1). It was also recorded November 25, 1851 in Williamson County Deed Book 2, page 424, suggesting that the land was surveyed in that county.
When Newton County was formed from Jasper County in 1846 Joseph Martin Fish (F6/1.1) found himself in the new county. He was a taxpayer in Newton County in 1846, according to "Republic of Texas Poll Lists for 1846" by Marion Day Mullins. His name appeared on Newton County jury panels of January 25, 1847, July 12, 1847, January 24, 1848, and January 1, 1850. Alfred Lyons served with Joseph Martin Fish (F6/1.1) and John Fish (F5/1.1) on the jury panel of July 12, 1847 and January 24, 1848, according to Newton County court records. Judge Charles Augustus Lord (L4/1.4), a grandson of Joseph Martin Fish (F6/1.1), of Beaumont, Texas wrote in 1941, "A fellow by the name of Lyons once visited in Beaumont and mentioned that he was a descendant." Henry Whitmire (W5/3.7), his son-in-law served with him on the jury panels of January 11, 1847 and January 1, 1850. James Hickman and Joshua Hickman also appeared on the jury panel of January 11, 1847.
He was enumerated there in the 1850 census as the head of Household 31-31:
"Fish, Joseph 53, farmer, born in Germany
Nancy 40, wife, born in Louisiana
Isaac 17, born in Louisiana, attending school
Louisa 12, born in Texas
Celia 10, born in Texas
Nancy 8, born in Texas
Creecy 5, born in Texas
Rebecca 2, born in Texas"
Joseph Martin Fish (F6/1.1) ultimately received a land grant in Williamson County, for 4,425 acres signed by Pres. Anson Jones dated February 11, 1846, as recorded in the county's Deed Book 2, page 426. His deed to the property, which lay T-shaped, astride the North San Gabriel River, was recorded in Deed Book 2, page 383. No other land was patented to Joseph Martin Fish (F6/1.1) by either the Republic or State of Texas.
His land grant read:
"IN THE NAME OF THE REPUBLIC OF TEXAS:
To all to whom these presents shall come, know ye, I, Anson Jones, President of the Republic aforesaid, by virtue of the power vested in me by law and in accordance with the statutes of said Republic in such cases made and provided do by these presents grant to Joseph Fish, his heirs or assigns forever one league of land situated in Milam [County] on South [North] San Gabriel River and described as . . . Hereby relinquishing to him the said Joseph Fish and his heirs and assigns forever all the right and title in and to said land heretofore held and possessed by the Government of said Republic and I do hereby issue this Letter Patent for the same.
In testimony whereof I have caused the great seal of the Republic to be affixed as well as the seal of the General Land Office, done at the city of Austin on the eleventh day of February one thousand eight hundred and forty six and the year of the Independence of said Republic the Tenth.
Shortly after his arrival in Williamson County he built a stone fort on his property for protection against Indian marauders since his sitio was a frontier outpost.
Judge D. B. Wood who in 1969 owned 1,500 acres which comprised the base of the "T" of the original Fish grant wrote December 20, 1969:
"I believe that the old Fish home was on my land (old timers call it "Old Fort") adjacent to land occupied by Henry Boufford, now deceased. [Boufford owned land on the east side of the base of the "T".] There existed only two houses in that area some 300 yards apart. The "Old Fort" was torn down by one of my title predecessors so that he could get the hand hewn stones for use in the construction of his dwelling house located some two miles southerly, which I later acquired and improved and now occupy.
I acquired this land in 1934 and have been keenly interested in the "Old Fort," made many inquiries as to who built it, but never got any authentic information. Henry Boufford moved to the other old house in 1892 and told me the "Old Fort" was even then an old fallen-down house, but with a cellar under it. It had walls of hand-hewn rocks, large cedar supports, portholes in the sides for defense, surrounded by a high rock wall also containing portholes and with an adjacent pen for livestock also of rock. Nothing now remains except piles of rock which define the outside walls."
On October 9, 1851 Joseph Martin Fish (F6/1.1) sold 104.5 acres of his land to Benjamin Gooch, Jr. as a site for a gristmill at $1 per acre. The deed, recorded in Williamson County Deed Book 2, page 384 read:
"Know all men by these presents: That I, Joseph Fish of the County and State aforesaid for and in consideration of the sum of one hundred and four & one-half dollars to me in hand paid by Benjamin Gooch, Junr. of said County and State, the receipt whereof is hereby acknowledged, have bargained, sold, aliened, conveyed and confirmed and by these presents do bargain, sell, alien, convey and confirm unto him the said Benj. Gooch, Junr. his said heirs and assigns forever a certain piece or parcel of land situate in said County on the N. San Gabriel containing one hundred four and one-half acres more or less.
In testimony whereof I have hereunto set my hand and seal (using a scroll for seal) this the 9th day of October A.D. 1851.
The deed was recorded the same day by Benjamin Gooch, Sr, county clerk and father of the purchaser. The gristmill was constructed there a short time later.
Apparently Joseph Martin Fish (F6/1.1) made good on his contract to Stephen W. Everitt by deeding land to him November 29, 1851, according to Williamson County Deed Book 2, page 426. On July 26, 1853 he deeded 230 acres," a portion of my headright league of land" to Ben Gooch and John W. Owen for $50.
Nancy "Ann" Dyches Fish (D6/1.4) received a deed of gift from her mother Lucinda Dyches October 30, 1854, according to Williamson County Deed Book 5, page 523. The deed read:
"Know all men that I Lucinda Dyckes of said county for the affection which I bear to my children and descendants do hereby give and donate to Nancy Fish, Mary Strong, Jerusha McFadden, Josiah Dyckes and Rebecca Eaves and the heirs of William C. Dyckes, John N. Dyckes and Harriet Dyckes my headright certificate of one league and labor of land except that part of said certificate heretofore bargained to William Armstrong, which certificate was issued by the Board of Land Commissioners of Jefferson County. The said certificate and land for which it calls, except the part bargained by me as aforesaid , to be divided into eight equal parts, Nancy Fish taking one part, Mary Strong taking one part, Jerusha McFadden taking one part, Josiah Dyckes taking one part, Rebecca Eaves taking one part, the heirs of William C. Dyckes taking one part, the heirs of John N. Dyckes taking one part and the heirs of Harriet Dyckes taking one part. To have and to hold the said land as aforesaid to the said donees forever, my scrawl for seal this 29 day of October 1854.
Isaac B. Low Lucinda X Dyckes
James Armstrong Mark"
Joseph Martin Fish (F6/1.1) gave a deed to William T. Gann November 11, 1854 for "land on San Gabriel" for $275, according to Williamson County Deed Book 5, page 541. Joseph Martin Fish (F6/1.1) deeded 160 acres, "part of my headright," to Joseph R. Shults January 6, 1855 for $360, according to Williamson County Deed Book 5, page 600.
On February 15, 1855 Joseph Martin Fish (F6/1.1) received a patent to a labor of land located in Newton County which he had applied for while he was a resident there. The land was described as "177 acres on Bear Creek, 14 miles northwest of Burkeville. This land was sold by "John Fish of Jasper County," probably his son John N. Fish (F5/1.1), to W. H. Truett October 9, 1869 for $20, according to Newton County Deed Book K, page 189. The "Joseph Fish Labor" was sold by Truett to John Dick and his wife Caroline Dick in 1876. When they resold the property December 9, 1876 to J. B. Swann it was again described as the "Joseph Fish Labor," according to Newton County Deed Book K, page 263.
On May 9, 1855 Joseph Martin Fish (F6/1.1) and Nancy "Ann" Dyches Fish (D6/1.4) "for the love and deep solicitude we have and feel for the happiness and prosperity and established settlement of our two sons, Isaac Fish and Joseph Fish" deeded to them part of the headright in joint ownership "adjoining Gooch & Owens mill tract, on North San Gabriel River, eight miles above Georgetown," according to Williamson County Deed Book 6, page 102.
He wrote his will June 13, 1855, and it was recorded in Williamson County Probate File 80. The document specified:
"State of Texas
County of Williamson
In the name of God, Amen. I, Joseph Fish, being at this time of sound and disposing mind have thought it proper and do hereby make and constitute this my last will and testament--to wit: I hereby at my death give and bequeath to my three daughters, Nancy, Cretia and Rebecca Fish all my community interest in and to five hundred acres of the league of land patented to me the said Joseph Fish by the Government of Texas situate on the North Gabriel River about five miles above Georgetown, said five hundred acres to include my homestead, and it is further my will that my wife Nancy Fish have the full control of said land in case I die before her and before the said daughters arrive at the legal age of maturity, for the purpose of supporting and suitably educating the said daughters. It is further hereby my will that when each of my said daughters shall arrive at the age of legal maturity or shall marry that then my said wife's control shall cease as to said daughters share so married or arrived at maturity and each daughter's share in and to said land at the happening of such event shall be set off and given to her by partition from the other shares of my said daughters and wife--And I do further will to my said daughters to be equally divided between them all my cattle branded "J.F," to be disposed of if I die before my said wife by her for the use and benefit of my said daughters to be delivered to them each at the same time that she received her share of the said land, this is when each of my said daughters shall marry or arrive at maturity then such daughters share of the cattle shall be given to her along with her land.
In testimony whereof I hereunto set my hand and scrawl for seal this the 13th day of June 1855.
Executed in the presence of
A. J. Strickland Joseph Fish
A. S. Walker"
He deeded additional land to Joseph Adam Fish (F5/1.5) July 14, 1855, according to Williamson County Deed Book 6, page 102.
Joseph Martin Fish (F6/1.1) and Nancy "Ann" Dyches Fish (D6/1.4) prepared a deed to their widowed daughter Amanda M. Fish Whitmire (F5/1.3) July 14, 1855 in which they each conveyed 250 acres of land to her, according to Williamson County Deed Book 6, page 105.
He conveyed 500 acres "seven miles above Georgetown on the north side of North San Gabriel of the original Fish League" to his "daughter Louiza Barker," August 6, 1855, according to Williamson County Deed Book 6, page 112.
On the same date he deeded to his daughter Celia Fish (F5/1.9) 300 acres "adjoining Mrs. Barker on the north side of North San Gabriel," according to Williamson County Deed Book 6, page 121.
On the same day he conveyed "for the love and affection I entertain for the children [unnamed] of my daughter Catharine Dresser dcsd. about 350 acres adjoining Whitmire about six miles above Georgetown," according to Williamson County Deed Book 6, page 122.
Joseph Martin Fish (F6/1.1) conveyed August 22, 1855 250 acres of land, believed to be east of the "Old Fort," to his daughter Jerusha Fish Whitmire (F5/1.6), according to Williamson County Deed Book 6, page 134. He deeded 250 acres in the "southeast corner of my headright to Jarusha Whitmire, now the wife of Hezekiah Whitmire."
For $200 he prepared a deed to his wife Nancy "Ann" Dyches Fish (D6/1.4) November 3, 1855 conveying 1,000 acres "adjoining tract of Jerusha Whitmire to include the houses in which I, the said Joseph Fish, at present reside and also the farm and improvements adjoining and all my stock of cattle being branded 'J F'," according to Williamson County Deed Book 7, page 92.
On March 20, 1857 Joseph Martin Fish (F6/1.1) and Nancy "Ann" Dyches Fish (D6/1.4) prepared a quit claim deed to Dr. David F. Knight "of Jerusha Whitmire property," according to Williamson County Deed Book 7, page 106. Dr. Knight lived on Brushy Creek near Round Rock.
Nancy "Ann" Dyches Fish (D6/1.4) gave a quit claim deed to "Louisa Barker et al in confirmation of gift of Joseph Fish for the use and benefit of Mephy Dobbs," May 27, 1857, according to Williamson County Deed Book 7, page 151.
On November 11, 1857 Joseph Martin Fish (F6/1.1) and Nancy "Ann" Dyches Fish (D6/1.4) for $1,100 conveyed 1,000 acres to Josiah Taylor, according to Williamson County Deed Book 7, page 254. The deed recited that it covered "all the land owned in the original Fish League, having previously made other deeds." He perhaps forgot that he had previously willed this property to his three unmarried daughters. A suit subsequently was filed by them to recover their inheritance, but was denied by Williamson County District Court.
On March 22, 1858 Joseph Martin Fish (F6/1.1), his brother-in-law Joseph Josiah Dyches (D6/1.3) and Thomas B. Huling were bondsmen for James Clark Eaves (E5/1.1), another brother-in-law when he was indicted for murder in Williamson County. When Eaves failed to make his court appearance the $800 bond was forfeited, according to Williamson County District Court Minute Book 2, page 62. On March 25, 1858 the three bondsmen filed an appeal with the Supreme Court of Texas.
On September 1, 1858 Nancy "Ann" Dyches Fish (D6/1.4) received a deed from William T. Gann et al to "part of the SE corner of Joseph Fish headright, same sold to A. D. Bucy by William T. Gann" for $500, according to Williamson County Deed Book 7, page 407.
Joseph Martin Fish (F6/1.1) and Nancy "Ann" Dyches Fish (D6/1.4) sold 500 acres in the northwest corner of the headright April 6, 1860 to William M. Sawyer for $300, according to Williamson County Deed Book 8, page 154.
The household of Joseph Martin Fish (F6/1.1) did not appear in the fragment of the 1860 census of Williamson that survived. Mary Alnora "Nora" Cox Drennan (C2/10.4) suggested that he was enumerated in the 1860 census of Fayette County, Texas, but a search of that census did not show any Fish households. Joseph Martin Fish (F6/1.1) died in 1862 in Williamson County.
Nancy "Ann" Dyches Fish (D6/1.4) appeared as the head of a household enumerated in the 1870 census of Williamson County, Household 92-92. The family was listed as:
"Fish, Nancy 68, born in Louisiana, keeping house, $300 real
estate, $200 personal property, illiterate
Thompson, Gordon 22, born in Arkansas, stockraiser, $500 person-
Kyle, John 8, born in Texas [grandson]
Kyle, Necia 5, born in Texas" [granddaughter]
For $40 Nancy "Ann" Dyches Fish (D6/1.4), "feme sole," deeded 40 acres additional land to Dr. David F. Knight June 14, 1873, according to Williamson County Deed Book 14, page 480. The land was located at the southeast corner of the Joseph Fish League and adjoined the Dresser land.
She gave a correction deed to W. R. Piper October 22, 1873 to clarify the deed made by her deceased husband "to the heirs of Catherine Dresser" concerning land that adjoined her east boundary line, according to Williamson County Deed Book 14, page 666. For $15 she deeded 20 acres additional to W. R. Piper February 27, 1874, according to Williamson County Deed Book 15, page 662.
She received a deed to 160 acres located five miles northwest of Georgetown from R. F. Jenkins for $300 January 3, 1876, according to Williamson County Deed Book 16, page 689.
She appeared June 14, 1880 in the federal census living in the home of her daughter Amanda M. Fish Whitmire (F5/1.3) in Williamson County Justice Precinct 4. She was listed as "Nancy Fish, 79, widow, lame."
She gave a deed in May 1883 to her son-in-law Leroy Boyce Lord (L5/1.1), according to Williamson County Deed Book 28, page 548.
Nancy "Ann" Dyches Fish (D6/1.4) survived her husband for about 38 years and died about 1900 at about the age of 98. She continued to do her own housework, according to Maurie Duncum Monroe (D2/1.3), a descendant. She was buried in Chalk Ridge Cemetery where her daughter Amanda M. Fish Whitmire (F5/1.3) was later buried.
Apparently the deed to Josiah Taylor was contested by some of the Fish heirs. Williamson County District Court minutes record a judgment "in Cause No. 1250 for E. H. Napier, Emma B. Napier, John L. Peay, defendants and against Nancy Short, Evan Short, Cretia Lord, Rebecca Thompson and T. G. Thompson, plaintiffs." The decree stated that "on November 11, 1857 Joseph Fish was mentally capable of making a good and valid deed to Josiah Taylor," according to Minute Volume 4, page 585.
Children born to Joseph Martin Fish and Nancy "Ann" Dyches Fish include:
John N. Fish born in 1823
Mary Fish born in 1824
Amanda M. Fish born in 1826
Catherine Fish born about 1827
Joseph Adam Fish born in December 1830
Isaac Franklin Fish born in 1833
Jerusha Fish born in 1834
Louisa Fish born in February 1838
Celia M. Fish born in 1840
Nancy Fish born in 1842
Lucretia E. "Crecy" Fish born in 1845
Sarah Rebecca Fish born in 1848
More About Joseph Martin Fish (Fishback) and Nancy Ann Dyches: Marriage: Bef. 1824
Children of Joseph Martin Fish (Fishback) and Nancy Ann Dyches are:
+Mary A Fish, b. Abt. 1823, Washington Parish, LA1, 2, d. Abt. 1875, Williamson Co., TX3.