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James Fisk (October 4, 1763 – November 17, 1844) was an American politician from Vermont. He served in the House of Representatives and the United States Senate.

James Fisk
James Fisk politician.jpg
Member of the
United States House of Representatives
from Vermont's 3rd district
In office
March 4, 1805 – March 3, 1809
Preceded byWilliam Chamberlain
Succeeded byWilliam Chamberlain
Member of the
United States House of Representatives
from Vermont's 3rd district
In office
March 4, 1811 – March 3, 1815
Preceded byWilliam Chamberlain
Succeeded byChauncey Langdon
United States Senator
from Vermont
In office
November 4, 1817 – January 8, 1818
Preceded byDudley Chase
Succeeded byWilliam A. Palmer
Member of the Vermont House of Representatives
In office
Personal details
Born(1763-10-04)October 4, 1763
Greenwich, Province of Massachusetts Bay, British America
DiedNovember 17, 1844(1844-11-17) (aged 81)
Swanton, Vermont, U.S.
Political partyDemocratic-Republican
Spouse(s)Priscilla West
ProfessionPolitician, Minister, Lawyer, Judge


Early lifeEdit

Fisk was born in Greenwich, Province of Massachusetts Bay, the son of Stephen Fisk and Anna Bradish. His father died when Fisk was a year old, and he was largely self-educated.[1] As a teenager, he worked on his family's farm.

Start of careerEdit

Military serviceEdit

He served in the Revolutionary War from 1779 to 1782 as a private in Captain Willis' Company, Colonel Brooks' Regiment, a unit of the Massachusetts Militia.

Post-American RevolutionEdit

After the war, he was a farmer in Greenwich. In 1785, Fisk served as a member of the Massachusetts General Court.[2] Fisk was ordained as a Universalist minister, and preached occasionally. He married Priscilla West in 1786.[3]

Move to VermontEdit

In 1798, Fisk moved to what is now Barre City, Vermont, but was then a village in the Town of Barre. While owning and operating a farm, Fisk received his credentials as a Universalist minister and began to preach. He also studied law, was admitted to the bar, and began the practice of law as the first attorney in Barre.[4] In 1799 he was elected to the town's board of selectmen.

Fisk represented Barre in the Vermont House of Representatives from 1800 to 1805, 1809 to 1810 and in 1815.[5] He was judge of the Orange County, Vermont Court from 1802 to 1809 and in 1816.[6] In 1803, he was Orange County's member of the commission to choose a permanent site for the state capital, which selected Montpelier In 1804, he served as chairman of the commission that attempted to settle the question of the Vermont-Canada boundary.


In 1804, Fisk was elected to the United States House of Representatives as a Democratic-Republican. He was reelected in 1806, and served two terms, March 4, 1805 to March 3, 1809.[7] He ran unsuccessfully for reelection in 1808.

In 1810, Fiske was elected again to the House. He was reelected in 1812, and served from March 4, 1811 to March 3, 1815.[8] He was chairman of the Committee on Elections.

Fisk was appointed United States Judge for the Territory of Indiana in 1812 by President James Madison,[9] but declined the appointment. He was a delegate to the state constitutional convention in 1814, and served as judge of the Supreme Court of Vermont from 1815 to 1816.[10]

U.S. SenatorEdit

In 1817, Fisk was elected to the United States Senate to fill the vacancy caused by the resignation of Dudley Chase. He served from November 4, 1817 until resigning on January 8, 1818[11][12] to become U.S. collector of customs for the district of Vermont. He served from 1818 until 1826,[13] moved to Swanton, Vermont in 1819 so that he could be closer to the border with Canada and the crossing points where customs were paid.


Fisk died in Swanton on November 17, 1844. He was interred at the Church Street Cemetery in Swanton.[14]


Following his Revolutionary War service, Fisk married Priscilla West (1763-1840).

Fisk's daughter Parma was the wife of Orlando Stevens, who served as Fisk's deputy collector, and was later a member of the legislatures of both Vermont and Minnesota.[15]


  1. ^ "James Fisk (1763-1844)". The Political Graveyard. Retrieved November 15, 2012.
  2. ^ Journal of the Senate, Volume 130. Commonwealth of Massachusetts. 1909. p. 170.
  3. ^ "James Fisk". Find A Grave. Retrieved November 15, 2012.
  4. ^ "FISK, James, (1763 - 1844)". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. Retrieved November 15, 2012.
  5. ^ Crockett, Walter Hill. Vermont: the Green mountain state, Volume 2. 1921: The Century history company, inc. p. 593.
  6. ^ Gazetteer of Washington County, Vt., 1783-1889. The Syracuse journal company, printers. 1889. p. 59.
  7. ^ "Sen. James Fisk". Retrieved November 15, 2012.
  8. ^ "Sen. James Fisk". Retrieved November 15, 2012.
  9. ^ "Federal Judges for the Indiana Territory" (PDF). Retrieved November 15, 2012.
  10. ^ Thompson, Zadock (1842). History Of Vermont, Natural, Civil And Statistical, In Three Parts, With A Few Map Of The State, And 200 Engravings. p. 124.
  11. ^ Dodge, Andrew R. (2005). Biographical Directory of the United States Congress, 1774-2005: The Continental Congress, September 5, 1774, to October 21, 1788, and the Congress of the United States, from the First Through the One Hundred Eighth Congresses, March 4, 1789, to January 3, 2005. Government Printing Office. p. 85.
  12. ^ "Sen. James Fisk". Retrieved November 15, 2012.
  13. ^ Lanman, Charles Lanman (1887). Biographical Annals of the Civil Government of the United States. J.M. Morrison. p. 171.
  14. ^ "James Fisk". Find A Grave. Retrieved November 15, 2012.
  15. ^ Crafts, James M.; Crafts, William Francis (1893). The Crafts Family: A Genealogical and Biographical History of the Descendants of Griffin and Alice Craft of Roxbury, Mass., 1630-1890. Northampton, MA: Gazette Printing Company. p. 224.

Further readingEdit

  • "Gazetteer of Washington County, Vt., 1783-1889" by William Adams, The Syracuse Journal Company Printers, 1899

External linksEdit