July 5: Charlotte Margaret Sioussa Fisher (1869)

Charlotte Margaret Sioussa was the eighth child of Jean Pierre Sioussa and his second wife, Julia. The charming Jean Pierre was born in Paris and after his immigration to America was known as “French John.” Due to his knowledge of French customs, Sioussa was particularly valuable at official functions. He worked for the British Minister before being hired as the first doorkeeper at the White House by President Jefferson. First Lady Dolley Madison, known for her frequent entertaining, hired Sioussa as her master of ceremonies. When the British ravaged Washington during the War of 1812, it was Sioussa who assisted Dolley in saving the Gilbert Stuart portrait of George Washington and evacuating the White House.

In 1845, Charlotte Sioussa married Thomas Fisher, who became a successful Washington businessman. The Fishers had twelve children, five of whom lived to maturity. The family first shows up in Epiphany’s records in 1857 with the baptism of their fifth child, Alice. The burial of Alice is recorded four days later. Nine months later, Charlotte Fisher was confirmed at Epiphany by Bishop Whittingham. A series of baptisms and burials follows until Charlotte’s burial in 1869. She was 42 years old. In the years following her death, three of Charlotte’s children were married at Epiphany. Following Thomas Fisher’s death, the Fisher children memorialized their parents with the gift of a stained glass window. Dedicated in 1890, the window is on the west side of the nave and depicts Christ as the Good Shepherd and the True Light.

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