Monday, April 7, 2014

Frothingham Fish (1820-1895)

From the Medico-Legal Journal, Volume 25, 1907.

   Oddly named New Yorker Frothingham Fish was a two term member of the state assembly, a Montgomery County district attorney, and a State Supreme Court justice. A scion of the prominent Fish family of New York state, Mr. Fish was blessed with a very eye-catching first name, one that is truly unique in the annals of the New York State Assembly (a legislative body that has been very well represented here!)
   Born into a family that could count among its relations one Preserved Fish (1766-1846), Frothingham Fish was the third of five children born to Howland (a former Montgomery County district attorney) and Eliza Frothingham Fish, his birth occurring in the town on Glen, New York on August 26, 1820. Given the first name "Frothingham" due to it being his mother's maiden name, Fish followed in his father's footsteps and embarked upon the study of law in Montgomery County, eventually establishing an office in the town of Fultonville.
   On April 29, 1845 Fish married to Susan E. Bronk (1820-1906), with whom he would have four children: Robert Bronk (1849-1919), Howland (1848-1888), Edmund (1858-1918) and Leonard Frothingham (1867-1932). Of these children, Leonard followed in his grandfather's stead and was elected as the District Attorney for Montgomery County in 1893, serving six years in office.
   Three years following his marriage Frothingham Fish was elected to the first of two terms in the New York State Assembly, representing Montgomery County. Taking his seat at the beginning of the 1849 term, Fish served on the assembly committees on Privileges and Elections. He was later returned to the assembly for the 1861 term and sat on the house committee on Claims. A capable member of the legislature, Fish was described in the 1861 Biographical Sketches of the State Officers and Members of the Legislature of the State of New York as:
"Formerly a Whig. He adhered firmly to that ancient organization until it ceased to exist, and then became a Republican, to the principles and policy of which party he is still firmly attached. He is not one of the rabid Abolition John Brown school of politicians, and in the present threatening aspect of our national affairs, has generally, by his votes in the house, shown a disposition to do whatever appears best calculated to restore peace and quiet to the country."
    After leaving the legislature Fish returned to practicing law in Fultonville and continued along this route until reentering political life in 1883, when he was elected as an Associate Justice of the New York State Supreme Court for the state's 4th judicial district, which comprised the counties of Montgomery, Saratoga, Warren, Fulton and Hamilton. His tenure on the court extended until 1891 when he retired, and during his time on the bench "occasionally presided at the Warren County circuit at Lake George." 
  Frothingham Fish spent the remainder of his life in retirement in Fultonville and died at his home there on April 27, 1895 aged 74, being mentioned in his Johnstown Daily Republican obituary as "having been an invalid for along time." He was survived by his wife Susan, who, following her death in 1906 was interred in the same plot as her husband at the Fultonville Cemetery and Natural Burying Ground.

                                                         From the Johnstown, NY Daily Republican, April 1895.

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