Biography of John G. Fisher
Cuyahoga County, OH Biographies

JOHN G. FISCHER, one of the influential and public spirited citizens of Cleveland, was born and reared in Cuyahoga County and has honored the same by his character and his achievement. He has served in various positions of public trust, including membership in the State Legislature, and has done much to advance the interests of his home city, county and state.

Mr. Fischer was born on the family homestead farm in Parma Township, Cuyahoga County, on the 1st of January, 1861, and is a scion of the third generation of the Fischer family in Cuyahoga County. His grandfather, Michael Fischer, a native of Birne, near Wertzberg, Germany, was there a subject of Maximilian, the Austrian arch duke who later became emperor of Mexico, and as he did not wish to rear his only son under the military reign and government of Maximilian, Michael Fischer decided to establish a home in the. United States. His wife died in Germany, and thereafter he came alone to the United States and made settlement in Cuyahoga County, Ohio, where he was later joined by his only son, who was born at the old family home in Germany, in the year 1832, and who was reared and educated in his native land, where he learned the butcher's trade. There was solemnized his marriage to Margaret Kleinholtz, and he, in company with his young wife, joined his father on the latter's farm in Parma Township, Cuyahoga County. John Fischer here became successfully established in the livestock and wholesale meat business, in which he continued on the old home farm of his father until 1876, when he purchased forty five acres of land in Rockport. Township, where he continued in the same line of business until his sudden death in a railroad accident, while he was en route home after purchasing a carload of cattle in the Chicago market. After his tragic death his widow assumed charge of the estate, and with utmost solicitude cared for her three minor children, John G., Margaret (now deceased) and George, whom she reared and educated with utmost maternal devotion, the while she ably conserved the interests of the family estate. This noble and gracious woman remained a widow until her death, February 13, 1913, at the age of eighty three years and eight months.

John G. Fischer gained his youthful education by attending the public schools of his native county and through discipline received under the direction of private tutors. He early decided to fit himself for the line of business with which his father had been identified, and thus, at the age of fourteen years, he entered the employ of a butcher and livestock dealer, who paid him $7 a month in the winter season and $9 in the summer. After about eighteen months of service in this connection Mr. Fischer found his advancement to be of rather negative order, his financial status having been shown in his indebtedness to his employer in the sum of 20 cents. He sized up the situation and made a change in his plans. He tied his small surplus of clothes in a red bandana handkerchief and then set forth on foot for the maternal home, four miles distant. Upon his arrival he informed his mother that he wished to engage in business for himself, and so implicit was her faith in him that she consented to lend him $400. He was then sixteen years of age, and with this financial reinforcement he engaged independently in the livestock business, in which he continued successfully in Cuyahoga County for the ensuing quarter of a century, save for the interval of 1884-1887, during which he held the position of manager of the George H. Hammond Company's packirg plant at South Omaha, Nebraska.

Mr. Fischer made his debut in public office in the year 1888, when he was elected trustee of Rockport Township, said township now constituting the West Park district of the City of Cleveland. He continued his effective service in this office until 1894, when the township system of government was abolished and Rockport Township was incorporated as a village. Mr. Fischer was then elected a member of the board of education of Rockport school division, and in this service he continued, without compensation, about fifteen years, during a considerable portion of which he was clerk of the board.

In 1900 Mr. Fischer became a member of the Cuyahoga County Republican Central Committee, as representative of the district west of the river, and after serving one year he was made secretary of the committee, a position which likewise he retained one year. In 1902 he was appointed deputy state supervisor of elections in Cuyahoga County, and this position he held until January 1, 1904. In the November election of 1903 he was elected representative of his native county in the Lower House of the State Legislature, and he served during the Seventy sixth General Assembly. In 1904 Mr. Fischer was elected a county commissioner, for a term of three years, and he continued the incumbent of this position, by successive reelections, until September, 1913.

As commissioner he was active in securing the necessary action in the board for building, under the good roads law, over 300 miles of brick and heavy duty type of roads in the county. While he was a member of the board and by his active support the new Superior High Level Bridge, the first in the state, costing over $4,000,000, was put under construction, the Denison Harvard Bridge, three quarters of a mile in length, connecting the west and south sides of the city with the section of the city containing the great iron industries, which employ thousands of men, was constructed, the building of the new $6,000,000 courthouse, the pride of the city and county, was carried out. Mr. Fischer was chairman of the building commission for two years. While he was commissioner the Detroit and Rocky River Bridge, at the time the greatest concrete arch in the world, was constructed. His name appears upon more bonds for public improvements than that of any other man that has served in the county, and in all his long service upon the board there was never a criticism from any civic or public body as to the expenditures or as to the carrying forward of these contracts, and there was never a contract carried out that did not leave a surplus in the fund set apart for that especial purpose.

While a member of the Seventy sixth General Assembly of the Ohio Legislature Mr. Fischer introduced and ably championed the first good roads bill in the state, the same providing for a department of public highways. This bill was made a law, and in 1920, moved by a desire to bring about an amendment of this law, Mr. Fischer became a candidate for reelection to the House of Representatives. He was elected and in the ensuing legislative session his efforts resulted in the supplementing of the above mentioned law in such a way as to vest in the department of highways the power to bring about the elimination of all grade crossings of railroads over public highways in the state, this amendment to the law having passed the House but having been lost in the Senate. Mr. Fischer was the author of several other bills of somewhat minor importance, and these came to enactment. One of these laws gives to railroads further power of permanent domain, the purpose being to lessen the cost of highways by giving railroads the right of way to lands containing deposits of gravel, sand, marl and asphalt in the state. In the election of November, 1922, Mr. Fischer was returned to his seat in the State Legislature, and again introduced the grade crossing elimination law, and it was passed and became a law in April, 1923.

In 1914 Mr. Fischer initiated the purchasing of real estate for the Belt Terminal Realty Company, and he was successful in securing the right of way for the Belt Line Railroad west of the river, in Cuyahoga County, in the interest of the New York Central Lines. He purchased in this connection many farms that are being held for future development.

After having acquired ownership of the old family homestead Mr. Fischer in 1916 sold forty acres of this tract, but reserved the five acres on which stood the old home of his mother. Here he erected his present modern house, which is probably one of the finest of the many handsome residences in the West Park section of Cleveland.

Mr. Fischer takes deep interest in all that tends to advance the civic and material interests of his home city and county, is a valued member of the Cleveland Chamber of Industry, of the West Side Advisory Committee, of the Cleveland Trust Company, and holds membership in the Western Reserve Club, and is one of the oldest members of Tippecanoe Club.

The year 1884 recorded the marriage of Mr. Fischer and Miss Elizabeth Colbrunn, who was born in what is now the West Park division of Cuyahoga County, February 2, 1866, and who is a daughter of the late Frederick A. Colbrunn, her father having been born in Germany and his father having become a pioneer settler in Cuyahoga County. In conclusion is given a brief record concerning the children of Mr. and Mrs. Fischer: John Carl, born in 1886, was graduated in engineering and mining at the Case School of Applied Science, later read law and was admitted to the bar, and he is now a successful paving and bridge contractor in Cuyahoga County. He married Bessie Kennedy, and they have three children: John G. (II), Richard H. and Jane. George Herman, born in 1889, is a graduate of the Spencerian Business College in Cleveland, and is now (1923) a deputy in the office of the treasurer of Cuyahoga County. He married Miss Pearl Ketcham, of New London, Ohio. Pearl Margaret, the only daughter, born in 1892, is the wife of Herman L. Christensen, engaged in the greenhouse business at Rocky River, Cuyahoga County, and they have two children, Irene and Laverne.

A History of Cuyahoga County
and the City of Cleveland
By: William R. Coates
The American Historical Society
Chicago and New York, 1924

Privacy Policy for OnlineBiographies


Cuyahoga County, Ohio Biographies

Names A to G
Names H to P
Names Q to Z



New York



For all your genealogy needs visit Linkpendium

Family Tree Maker 2012