Dimly visible in the metalwork surrounding this clock on Duane St. is the florid inscription Nath'l Fisher & Co.. The inscription is clearer on the other side (click for image). The business manufactured boots and shoes and also functioned as a wholesale dealer. The founder was Nathaniel Fisher (1818-1880). He was followed in the business by two sons, Irving Requa Fisher (1851-1925) and Nathaniel Campbell Fisher (1860-1923). They were located here at 144-146 Duane St. for almost sixty years (1894 to 1953)!
Nathaniel Fisher first appears in New York city directories in 1843. He was employed early on at Baldwin and Studwell, boot and shoe manufacturers at 252 Pearl St. This company became Baldwin, Studwell & Fisher by 1851. In 1863 the New York Times reported that Baldwin, Studwell & Fisher had been dissolved, and replaced by Baldwin, Fisher & Co. (NYT, 8 Jan. 1863). Nath'l Fisher & Co. was formed around 1870.
Nathaniel Fisher is recorded in the U. S. Census of 1860 living in Manhattan (Ward 9, District 1). His son, Irving, was 9 years old. In 1870 Nathaniel Fisher lived at 6 W. 39th St. Irving was 18 years old, and Nathaniel Jr. was 10. In 1880 the family residence was still 6 W. 39th St., and both Irving and Nathaniel Jr. lived at home (Irving now 29 and Nathaniel Jr. 19). When Fisher died in 1880, the death notice read, "Fisher - On the 9th inst., after a short illness, Nathaniel Fisher, of the firm of Nathaniel Fisher & Co., New-York City. Funeral services on Saturday, 11th inst., at 11 o'clock, at his late residence, No. 6 West 39th-st." When Nathaniel Fisher's wife, Mary A., died in 1892, the funeral took place in the same 6 W. 39th St.
In 1873 the threesome of Mary Ann Fisher, Lillie R. Fisher, and Irving R. Fisher applied for passports. Mary Ann Fisher was Nathaniel Fisher's wife. She was born Mary Ann Woodruff, 3 Feb. 1824, in Elizabeth, New Jersey. Lillie and Irving Fisher were her children. Their passport applications indicate that Lillie was born 24 Dec. 1847, New York City, and Irving was born 27 Jan. 1851, New York City.
In 1890 the officers at Nath'l Fisher & Co. were Irving R. and Nathaniel C. Fisher and George W. Davis. On his death in 1904, George W. Davis, had a short obituary in the New York Times (15 April 1904), "George W. Davis, sixty-two years old, died Wednesday at his home in East Orange, N. J., after a short illness. He was born on Long Island and had been in the shoe manufacturing business all his life, and at the time of his death was senior member of the firm of Nathaniel Fisher & Co. of New York."
This advertisement for Nath'l Fisher appeared in the Souvenir Program of the Siegel Cooper Co. Employees' Association, 1899.
This advertisement for Nath'l Fisher appeared in the Boot and Shoe Recorder, 24 March 1909, pg. 82.
In 1910 Nathaniel C. Fisher, unmarried, lived with his brother, Edward Fisher, a physician. Irving R. Fisher, age 59, lived at that time with his wife and five children at 67 W. 50th St. Their household included three servants.
Nathaniel C. Fisher's death notice in the New York Times (8 Nov. 1923) read, "Fisher - Suddenly, on Nov. 7, in his 63d year, Nathaniel C. Fisher, son of the late Nathaniel and Mary Ann Fisher. Funeral services at his late residence, 46 East 52d St., on Saturday, Nov. 10, at 10:30 A. M."
Irving R. Fisher's obituary in New York Times (5 Jan. 1925) read, "Irving R. Fisher, for more than forty years at the head of the shoe firm of Nathaniel Fisher & Co., died yesterday at his residence, 116 East Sixty-third Street, aged 73. For years he had been active in the affairs of the National Shoe Wholesale Association and he was also a member of the New York Chamber of Commerce, Hardware Club, New England Society and the Union League Club."
This portrait of Irving R. Fisher appeared in Moses King's Notable New Yorkers of 1896-1899 (1899).
The following was written in 1901 by Frank W. Norkross in his A History of the New York Swamp, "Nathaniel Fisher was born in Dedham, Mass., in 1818. He began in the shoe trade in Buffalo, with John V. Ayres, but came to New York in 1837 and went into the store of L. S. Bouton & Co., in Pearl street. Shortly after that the firm of Baldwin, Studwell & Fisher, in which he was a partner was formed. In 1869 the firm became Nath. C. Fisher & Co., which is the style now. N. Fisher died December 9th, 1880. Two sons, Irving R. Fisher and Nathaniel C. Fisher, are partners and continue the business. They occupy a double store on Duane street and are leading wholesale shoe dealers."
Among the people involved in Fisher's early career in New York was Lewis S. Bouton, whose "boot and shoe" store Fisher joined when he came to New York in 1837. Lewis S. Bouton was listed in New York city directories from 1827 to 1848, first at 95 Chatham St., then later at several addresses on Pearl St. His last address was 252 Pearl St. This business seems to have been taken over in 1848/49 by Baldwin & Studwell. Baldwin & Studwell were partners at 252 Pearl St. from around 1849 to 1851. Nathaniel Fisher was employed here prior to becoming a partner in 1851. Baldwin was Harris M. Baldwin, who was recorded in the 1850 U. S. Census, age 40, living in Clinton, New Jersey with his father-in-law, Caleb H. Camp. One of Nathaniel Fisher's sons was named Harris Baldwin Fisher. Studwell was Joseph Studwell, Jr. He appears in the 1850 and 1860 U. S. Census reports. In 1850, age 34, he lived in New York in the household of Sophia Wait. The Waits were related to Nathaniel Fisher through marriage. Also related to Nathaniel Fisher was Henry Dix (1833-1891). Like Fisher, he was born in Dedham, Mass., and was Fisher's nephew. His mother was Elizabeth Richards Fisher (1805-1893), Nathaniel Fisher's older sister. Henry Dix worked at Baldwin, Studwell & Fisher in the early 1860s and later at Nath'l Fisher & Co. until his death in 1891. Henry Dix's son was named Henry Nathaniel Dix. Henry N. Dix (1865-1935) was a saleman for Nath'l Fisher & Co. He appears as such in the 1920 U. S. Census, age 54, living at 110 W. 80th St., New York. In 1930, however, at age 65, he lived with his own son, Henry N. Dix Jr., in Valley Stream, N. Y., and was recorded as a clerk in his son's heating contractor business.
The website bklyn-genealogy-info.com records the following gravestone inscriptions in Green-Wood Cemetery, Brooklyn: Fisher, Nathaniel, died 9 Dec 1880, born 18 May 1818; Fisher, Mary Ann Woodruff, died 8 Sept 1892, born 3 Feb 1824 - wife; Fisher, Nathaniel C., died 7 Nov 1923, born 26 Sept 1860. There is also an infant: Fisher, Nathaniel Requa, died 28 Apr 1847, born 18 Oct 1846.
In 1928 Nath'l Fisher & Co. registered the trademark " Walkmore Arch Reformer Shoes" for "shoes made wholly or in part of leather" (serial number 71269401, filing date 11 July 1928).
Copyright © 2010 Walter Grutchfield