Biography of Nathaniel J. W. Fish
Bristol County, MA Biographies

NATHANIEL J. W. FISH, mayor of the city of Taunton, was born in that city, the second son of Capt. Frederick L. and Mary J. (Perry) Fish His father was a master mariner, a native of Rochester, Mass., but sailed from New Bedford and Fairhaven for many years in the days when whalers from these ports were to be found in every quarter of the globe. When Captain Fish retired from the sea he settled in Taunton where be resided until his death. He was an honest, upright man and attached many friends. As a whaling captain he was highly successful and made a number of voyages which stand on record as among the most profitable of the period.

Mayor Fish was well grounded in the schools of Taunton and after completing their prescribed courses prepared for the profession of civil engineering. Having a fondness for adventure and travel and a desire to see something of the western country, in 1878 he went to Texas with the intention of engaging in stock raising, which at that time was proving very profitable. After serving for a time as a Texas cowboy, he, in company with others, crossed the plains from Dallas, Texas, to Santa Fe, New Mexico. The trip was made through what was then a wild country and consumed two months. After a few months in New Mexico he entered the employ of the Chicago, Burlington and Quincy Railroad as a civil engineer, and was stationed at Orleans and other points in Nebraska during the construction of the lines which did so much towards opening up for settlement the plains of the Great West. He remained in this capacity nearly two years and then returned to the East, his health shattered by malarial fever. He now made an extended tour of the Western Islands (Azores), and upon his return was engaged on surveys at the headwaters of the Cumberland River in Kentucky. Later Mayor Fish was employed by the Chicago, Rock Island and Pacific, and the Grand Island and Wyoming Central Railroads (Black Hills extension). He returned to Taunton in 1890.

A man broadened by travel and contact with all classes and conditions of men, of wide and honorable fraternal connection, and of the most pleasing social qualities, Mayor Fish was well adapted to enter the political arena. He became a candidate for alderman from Ward 4, 1894, and was elected by a surprising majority. He was re elected in 1895, and in both terms served as chairman of the board, giving sub. stantial evidence in this position of marked executive ability and true judgment, which led to a nomination for the mayoralty and which has characterized his administration of that office. The municipal campaign of 1896 was based on several important issues, one being the question of municipal ownership of electric lights. Mayor Fish received the nomination of his party and was elected with practically no opposition. He was again nominated and re elected in 1897, and also in 1898. In all of these terms an unusual number of important questions have been publicly agitated, causing much responsibility to rest upon the executive head of the city government, but his administration has been generally recognized by all—both opponents and coadherents—as able, clean and effective. Mayor Fish has a wide fraternal connection; he is past master of Ionic Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons, past high priest of St. Mark’s Royal Arch Chapter, and a member of St. John’s Cornmandery, Knights Templar. He is also past grand of Sabbatia Lodge of Odd Fellows, and deputy grand master of the Massachusetts Grand Lodge of Odd Fellows. Mayor Fish is unmarried and resides with his mother at 97 Ingell street, Taunton.

Our county and its people
A descriptive and biographical history of
Bristol County, Massachusetts
Prepaired and published under the auspices of
The Fall River News and The Taunton Gasette
With assistance of Hon. Alanson Borden
The Boston History Company, Publishers, 1899.

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