Dea. Samuel Fisher was born in he north of Ireland, in the year 1722, and was of Scottish descent. His father was a weaver. Dea. Fisher came to America in 1740, in the nineteenth year of his age. The ship in which he came was usually spoken of as "The starved ship." The vessel was so scantily supplied with provisions, that long before the voyage was completed, one pint of oat-meal for each individual on board, and a proportionate allowance of water, was all that remained. Mr. Fisher once went to the mate with a tablespoon to obtain some water, which was refused him, there being but two-thirds of a chunk-bottle full on board. Mr. Fisher's custom was, to take a tablespoonful of meal daily, and having moistened it with salt water, to eat it raw. The passengers and crew, having subsisted in this manner for fourteen days, were at length reduced to the necessity of eating the bodies of those who died. Even this resource failed them, and at length Mr. Fisher was selected to give up his life to preserve the lives of the rest. Providentially, however, a vessel hove in sight, and their signals of distress being observed they obtained relief and were saved. So deep an impression did the horrors of that passage make upon the mind of Mr. Fisher, that, in after life, he could never see, without pain, the least morsel of food wasted, or a pail of water thrown carelessly upon the ground.
On his arrival in this country, he was bound by the captain to a man in Roxbury, for the payment of his passage. He came to Londonderry, probably about one or two years after, and became a member of the family of Mr. Matthew Taylor, whose daughter he married, when he was twenty-five years of age. He was made a ruling elder of the church in the West Parish, during the ministry of Rev. David MacGregor, and remained in this office until he was no longer able to perform its duties on account of his age. He seemed to be well instructed in the great principles of the gospel, as set forth in the Westminster Catechism, and in the Confession of Faith of the Church of Scotland. These Principles he taught diligently to his children, for whose spiritual welfare he felt a deep solicitude.
One of his grandchildren (Mrs. Dickey), writes thus of him: "I can only speak of the impression he made on my mind when visiting in his family when quite young. His family worship was strikingly impressive. When he read a portion of Scripture, he became remarkably interesting. I shall never forget his manner, in reading the chapter in which Isaac blesses his son Jacob. It seemed as thought he was the very patriarch himself. When he knelt in prayer, how deeply impressive were his devotions; how ardently would he plead the promise, 'I will be a God to thee, and thy seed.' He had a most happy faculty of improving the occurrences which took place about him for the religious instruction of his family. He was a great lover of Watts and Doddridge; would frequently address me on the subject of religion, and give me some of his books."
Deacon Fisher was married three times, and had twelve children; eleven of whom arrived at adult age, and ten of whom survived him. Ten of his children were married, and most of them lived to advanced age. The average age of four of them was ninety-one years. His descendants now (1850) number nine hundred and fifteen, and are scattered through nearly all the States of the Union, through Nova Scotia, and the Canadas. Some of them are ministers, and some elders in the church. It is estimated, that three-fourths of those over twenty years of age are professors of religion.
Deacon Fisher was, in his personal appearance, tall and commanding, and his countenance was grave and solemn, so that few would willingly be guilty of levity in his presence. He died at Londonderry, April 10, 1806, in the eighty-fourth year of his age.