Berkeley County, West Virginia Biography of James B. FISHER


         The father of James B. FISHER was a man “of considerable means” in Fulton County, Pennsylvania, but lost all his wealth by endorsing notes for his neighbors. He, together with his wife, daughter, and son James moved to Berkeley County in 1875. The family drove there by wagon and rented the farm of the late James M. Vanmetre, east of Martinsburg. His father only lived two years after moving. A long illness, causing a large doctor’s bill, together with family expenses, consumed all the possessions of the family, which left the mother and sister wholly dependent on young Fisher, a lad of 16 years.

         James Fisher moved the family to Martinsburg and secured a position as clerk in the store of C.P. Herring for $5 per month plus board. Shortly afterwards, he received $20 per month by boarding with his mother. He remained in that position for two years and then went to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and worked for $40 per month. James Fisher returned to Martinsburg and clerked for Eugene Herring, a brother of C.P. Herring, who conducted the “Blue Front” (because the frontage of the store was painted a sky-blue color), a general store. He remained there six months and accepted a position with John W. Bishop, wholesale grocer, as traveling salesman for the smaller towns in that section and as far away as Keyser, West Virginia. He remained in that capacity for 10 years, his salary being advanced from time to time until he reached $1,000 per year.

         In 1885, James Fisher started in business for himself in the Myers building on North Queen Street, later occupied by the Sites hardware store, under the name James B. Fisher, Dry Goods, &c. He remained in that building 24 years when he disposed of his store and fixtures to Miss Ida Beck. After retiring from that business, he purchased the farms of E. Mong Pitzer on the Arden road and the Captain E.L. Hoffman farm on the Arden-Darkesville road. The latter he sold to James E. Butler in 1920.

         James Fisher was a candidate for the legislature in 1913 and a candidate for the office of county commissioner in 1917, but was defeated for both offices by small majorities. As Chairman of the Roads Committee of the Business Men’s Association of Martinsburg, he helped to build the Arden-Darkesville road and the Shoppert Ford road in Berkeley County. He was an elder in the Reformed Church of Martinsburg and held the office of treasurer in that church for 12 years. His only child, J. Carl Fisher, was a soldier in World War I in the Bureau of Standards in Washington D.C. and was connected with the Consolidated Gas and Electric Company of Baltimore City, Maryland.


    Submitted by Marilyn Gouge and extracted from History of Berkeley County, West Virginia, 1928

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