JOHN K FISHER
This gentleman's history is one replete with interest, including as it does a war record, life on the frontier and identity in various ways with a prosperous western town, and were it written in detail would make a volume of interesting reading. In this connection, however, only a succinct review can be presented.
John K. Fisher was born in Dauphin county, Pennsylvania, near the city of Harrisburg December 26, 1824, of German descent. His people for several generations lived and died in the Keystone state. Henry Fisher, his father, was born in Lancaster county, that state, August 12, 1793, son of George Fisher, whose birth occurred there in 1752. The mother of our subject was before marriage Miss Lydia Keller. Her birth occurred in Lancaster county October 1, 1800, and she was a daughter of Joel Keller. Both the Fishers and the Kellers were well-to-do farmers.
John K. Fisher passed his boyhood days in his native county, receiving his early education there. Later he attended school in Lancaster county and completed his studies with a course in the Harrisburg Academy. After leaving the academy he secured a position as clerk and subsequently engaged in mercantile business for himself at a place called Uniontown, in Fayette county, Pennsylvania, where he remained until 1864. In 1862 he recruited a company of cavalry, known as the Sixteenth Pennsylvania Cavalry, and on the organization of the same was commissioned first lieutenant. When the regiment was organized he was elected captain, under Colonel J. I. Gregg, who was the commander of the regiment. They were ordered to Antietam, Maryland, where the regiment was held as a reserve. Later it was ordered to different points in Virginia and finally to Gettysburg, in which memorable battle it took part. It was also a participant in the action at Fredericksburg and in other smaller engagements, some thirty in all. Twice he was wounded, in the battle of Shepherdstown, Virginia. The first wound was through the right hip. Twenty minutes later he was shot through the chest, the bullet passing through his left lung, and he was then carried to the field hospital. Later he was sent to Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, and as soon as he was able to travel went home, having received an honorable discharge in December, 1863. At that time a major's commission awaited him, as a reward for valiant and daring service, but he was not physically able to continue in the service longer and accordingly returned to his home in Fayette county.
In 1864 Mr. Fisher came to Atchison county, Kansas, and took a claim to one hundred and sixty acres of land in what was then called Grasshopper township (now Delaware township), which he improved and where he resided for three years. It was during that time that his political career began. In 1866 he was elected to the state senate on the Republican ticket and served acceptably as a member of that honored body. In 1867 he was appointed internal revenue inspector for the state of Kansas and while acting in that capacity was occasionally sent to Nebraska. From 1867 to 1873 he served as a United States assessor, under the administrations of Johnson and Grant. In 1869 he moved from his farm above referred to and took up his abode in Atchison, where he purchased a home and has since resided. In 1870 he established an insurance agency, which he has continued to the present. In addition to extensive operations in real estate and insurance he also does a large amount of pension business, and he has for his patrons in all his lines of business many of the leading people of the county. From 1872 to 1874 he had as an associate C. F. Cochran, who is now a member of congress, representing the fourth district of Missouri.
Mr. Fisher was married, August 25, 1846, to Miss Elizabeth A. Shepler, of Cumberland county, Pennsylvania, a daughter of Jacob and Julia (McCausland) Shepler. Mr. Shepler was of a Pennsylvania family and by trade a millwright. Mr. and Mrs. Fisher have had seven children, namely: Harvey, deceased; Emma, the wife of A. H. Decker, of Chicago; Lydia, the wife of Thomas M. Gray, of Atchison, Kansas; Mary, the wife of John A. Rossi, of Atchison; Alice C., wife of John B. Elwood, of New York city; John H., a conductor on the Santa Fe Railroad; and Julia, the wife of Frank Rice and residing in New Orleans.
In his early life Mr. Fisher gave his political support to the Whig party and since the organization of the Republican party he has affiliated with it. For several years he was a member of the school board, a portion of the time serving as its president, and two years was a member of the Atchison city council, of which body also he served as president. He was one of the charter members of John A. Martin Post, No. 93, G. A. R., of which he has the honor to be a past commander, and he also maintains a membership in the Loyal Legion, a military association of officers of the Civil war.