Biography - Robert Fisher

ROBERT M. FISHER, State's Attorney for Johnson County, is one of the foremost lawyers of southern Illinois, one of the most important civic functionaries of this section, and a conspicuous figure in its political life. He is a son of the soil, and springs from one of the very earliest pioneer families of this part of the State. His father, William Fisher, was born in this county in 1816. The father of the latter, who bore the same name as himself, was from Indiana and came over the border from that State to Illinois as early as 1810, being one of the first to brave the dangers and privations of frontier life in the wilderness that then prevailed here. This part of the country was then under Territorial government, and but few white men had ventured to settle among the Indians and wild animals that then held possession of the forests and prairies. The elder Mr. Fisher was a man of resolute character, was strong, courageous and capable, and his industry was duly rewarded. In dying, he left behind him a noble record as a pioneer farmer, who had contributed his quota to the development of the agricultural resources of the State.
The boyhood of the father of our subject was passed in arduous toil on his father's farm, as he was early set to work to clear and break the land, fence it and place it under cultivation. As his parents were poor, he had no chance to attend school. At the age of nineteen, he took upon himself the cares and responsibilities of domestic life, marrying Miss Minerva Johnson, who had come to this State from Kentucky with her parents. After marriage, he and his young wife commenced making a home on land which he had bought in the forests. He devoted his energies to felling the timber that cumbered his farm, and had done much toward reclaiming it from its native wildness when the hand of death stayed his labors, December 25, 1844, while he was yet in the flush of early manhood, and the county thus lost the services of one of its most useful citizens, who is worthy of remembrance as one of its honored pioneers, as well as for being one of its first-born sons. After the death of the father the mother removed to Massac County, and there died, in February, 1858.
Robert M. Fisher, of whom we write, is the only survivor of five children. The others were John, William, Levi and James K. Our subject was born in Johnson County October 10, 1843, and was but a year old when deprived of a father's care. He was reared on a farm and became accustomed to hard work when young. He managed to attend the public school occasionally, but the most of his education has been obtained outside of schools. He was ambitious to make the most of life and win a name and place for himself in one of the professions, and having a decided bent toward the Bar, he commenced the study of law with John F. McCartney, of Massac, and Judge Duff of Benton, Franklin County. His bright and active mind easily mastered the fundamental principles of jurisprudence, and he made such rapid progress in his studies that the end of nine months' preparation found him ready for admission to the Bar and he became a member thereof in 1869. He did not, however, enter into active practice until the spring of 1873, when he opened an office at Vienna, where he has since made his home. He had continued his legal studies after being admitted to the Bar, and brought to his professional duties a sound knowledge of common law, a keen, well-trained, analytical mind, together with a ready wit and a talent for extemporaneous speaking that have won him high honors in his profession and have gained him an extensive patronage.
A man of Mr. Fisher's calibre, influence and high personal standing is necessarily looked to by his fellow-citizens for counsel and aid in public matters and is thus drawn into the civic life for which he is so eminently well qualified in all respects, and he has filled various offices of trust. In 1869 he was elected County Superintendent of Schools, and during the four years that he occupied that position he devoted his energies to the advancement of educational facilities in every part of the county. He was elected Police Magistrate, but resigned after serving three years, and his next official post was that of State's Attorney, to which he was elected in 1876 on a non-partisan ticket for a period of four years. In 1888, well satisfied with his first administration of the functions pertaining to that office, the people again made him State's Attorney, and he is still acting in that capacity. He has always affiliated with the Republican party, is an able advocate of its principles and is prominent in political circles. He is a gentleman of true courtesy, genial and frank in his manner, and among an extensive acquaintance has gathered many warm friends.
Mr. Fisher was first married July 28, 1870, to Miss Mary E. Fisher, a native of Johnson County. Her death occurred August 1, 1887. Five children were born of that marriage: Stella, wife of William H. Shields, of Eldorado Springs, Mo.; Lucinda, who lives at Mt. Carroll; Walter A., who died; and George H. and William M., who are at home with their parents. Our subject's second marriage was with Mrs. G. O. Hamilton, widow of R. W. Hamilton. She is a native of Williamson County, where her father was a physician of much prominence during his life, having settled there in the town of Bainbridge in 1841. Both he and his wife were of New England birth and breeding, he from Massachusetts and she from Connecticut. She died three years before he did. Mrs. Fisher can trace her ancestry to the branch of the Harrison family to which President Harrison belongs. By their present union Mr. and Mrs. Fisher have one daughter, whom they have named Amy.

Extracted 23 Apr 2016 from 1893 Biographical Review of Johnson, Massac, Pope, and Hardin Counties, Illinois, pages 233-234.

Templates in Time