October 28: Thomas Jefferson Fisher (1888)

Thomas Jefferson Fisher was the founder of Thomas J. Fisher & Company, a prominent real estate firm in Washington in the late 19th Century. Fisher was born in Woodstock, Virginia, the son of German immigrant Friedrich Karl Fischer. The elder Fischer came to America in 1816 at age 26 and became known as Charles Fisher in his adopted country. He worked as a clerk in the Treasury Department for 20 years. Charles was extremely patriotic and named his first child and the subject of this article after third president Thomas Jefferson. A later child was named George Washington Fisher. Thomas Fisher started life with very little. He moved to Washington at age fifteen to find work. After several jobs he went to work in 1851 for Dyer & McGuire real estate auctioneers. Here, he found his niche. The firm made Fisher a partner. Fisher served on the city council and became president of Franklin Fire Co. In 1878, at the age of 55, Thomas J. Fisher founded, with Edward Stellwagen as the notary, the successful and profitable real estate firm which bore his name.

Thomas Fisher served as a director of the Children’s Hospital, the Foundling Asylum, the Night Lodging House, and Columbia Hospital. In 1845, Fisher married Charlotte Margaret Sioussa. Thomas and Charlotte had twelve children, of whom seven died young. The first mention in Epiphany’s records of the Fisher family is the baptism of fifth child Alice Fisher. Her burial is recorded four days later. The baptisms of four more children follow, with burials for two of them shortly thereafter. Happier times are recorded with the confirmation of wife Charlotte and the marriage of three daughters. The marriage of daughter Charlotte and Edward J. Stellwagen brought together two early Epiphany families. Wife Charlotte’s burial took place at Epiphany following her death at age 43. Thomas Jefferson Fisher died in 1888 at age 65. His funeral took place at Epiphany. Shortly after their father’s death, the Fisher children placed a stained glass window in memory of their parents. The window is on the west side of the nave near the transept and depicts Jesus as the good shepherd and the true light.

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