Fish, Hamilton

Life Span
    Full name
    Hamilton Fish
    Place of Birth
    Birth Date Certainty
    Death Date Certainty
    Sectional choice
    Free State
    No. of Spouses
    No. of Children
    Nicholas Fish (father), Elizabeth Stuyvesant (mother), Peter Stuyvesant (uncle), Julia Kean (wife)
    Columbia (King’s College)
    Attorney or Judge
    Relation to Slavery
    White non-slaveholder
    Political Parties
    Lincoln Administration (1861-65)
    Grant Administration (1869-77)
    US Senate
    US House of Representatives
    State legislature
    Other state government
    Local government

    Hamilton Fish (American National Biography)

    Fish's record in office at both the state and national levels was unremarkable. He did not play a significant role in the debates over the expansion of slavery that commenced with the introduction of the Kansas-Nebraska Act in 1854. When William Henry Seward led many of the state's Whigs into the ranks of the forming Republican coalition in 1855, Fish did not follow, struggling instead to revive the moribund Whig organization. He reluctantly supported the Republicans the following year but felt uncomfortable with the moral intensity of the party's position on slavery. It was thus not surprising when the Republicans looked elsewhere in 1857 for a Senate candidate, and Fish retreated into retirement from electoral politics, spending the next two years in Europe.

    Fish supported the candidacy of Abraham Lincoln in 1860 primarily for the lack of a more satisfactory alternative. In the secession crisis that followed, he advocated compromise. During the Civil War he headed New York's Union Defense Committee and was appalled by the July 1863 draft riots…Cheered by Andrew Johnson's ascent to power in 1865, Fish supported the president's initial course during Reconstruction. However, he also cultivated a friendship with Ulysses S. Grant, subscribing to a fund for the general and hosting the general and his family. By 1867 he was disenchanted with Johnson. Grant, he believed, could best restrain Republican radicalism while denying the Democratic party control of the presidency. He became an active supporter of Grant's presidential candidacy and contributed freely to his campaign.
    Brooks D. Simpson, "Fish, Hamilton," American National Biography Online, February 2000,

    Hamilton Fish (Congressional Biographical Directory)

    FISH, Hamilton, (father of Hamilton Fish [1849-1936], grandfather of Hamilton Fish [1888-1991], and great-grandfather of Hamilton Fish, Jr. [1926-1996]), a Representative and a Senator from New York; born in New York City August 3, 1808; attended Doctor Bancel’s French School, New York City; graduated from Columbia College, New York City, in 1827; studied law; admitted to the bar in 1830 and practiced in New York City; commissioner of deeds for the city and county of New York 1832-1833; elected as a Whig to the Twenty-eighth Congress (March 4, 1843-March 3, 1845); unsuccessful candidate for reelection to the Twenty-ninth Congress; resumed the practice of law; lieutenant governor of New York 1848-1849; Governor of New York 1849-1850; elected to the United States Senate and served from March 4, 1851, to March 3, 1857; was not a candidate for reelection; president general of the Society of the Cincinnati from 1854 until his death; appointed by President Abraham Lincoln as one of the board of commissioners for the relief and exchange of Union prisoners of war in the South; president of the New-York Historical Society 1867-1869; appointed by President Ulysses Grant as Secretary of State 1869-1877; resumed the practice of law and managed his large real estate holdings in New York City; died in Garrison, N.Y., September 7, 1893; interment in the cemetery of St. Philip’s Church-in-the-Highlands, Garrison, N.Y.
    "Fish, Hamilton," Biographical Directory of the United States Congress, 1774 to Present,
    How to Cite This Page: "Fish, Hamilton," House Divided: The Civil War Research Engine at Dickinson College,