More memories of Dr. Daniel Fisher, whose place in Vineyard life was interestingly told in an article by Martin B. Faris, present owner of the beautiful Dr. Fisher House at Edgartown, published in a recent issue of the Vineyard Gazette, are contained in a letter written to Mr. Faris by Henry Franklin Norton. By permission of Mr. Norton and Mr. Faris the letter is presented here as a postscript to the earlier article.
Mr. Norton adds not only to present knowledge of the house, but he quotes in full a letter written by Dr. Fisher to his son, and this letter not only reveals much of the doctor’s character but stands as a model for communications of that sort.
Mr. Norton’s Letter:
I enjoyed your account of “Edgartown’s Whaling Magnate”; the article tells the story of my great grandfather Dr. Fisher and his home on Main street. Dr. Fisher, is more of a grandfather to me for he took my mother Emma Fisher to his home after the death of her father, Daniel, Dr. Fisher’s oldest son. Mother was two months older than her aunt, Grace Fisher. Mother was married from that house in 1814. As a little boy I played around the house, when calling on “The Aunts” and left my mark on the front hall stair rail. It is still there.

Soaked Timbers in Lime

My father, born in 1842, always told me about the building of the Dr. Daniel Fisher House. The doctor had vats made at the “Fort” so he could soak all the selected timbers and boards two years in lime. Copper and brass spikes and nails were used when the house was built in 1840. Mother told me many stories about the home life and the grandfather she loved.
Dr. Fisher never wanted his good deeds published. At the time of his death a public record was not required of the property left. His estate was much more than the records show. His children living at his decease divided the estate as their father wished. Many citizens of the town were helped at that time, those who had worked for the doctor were thought of first.
I take the liberty to copy a part of a letter of Dr. Daniel Fisher to his son Leroy Yale Fisher, at Brattleboro Military School.
Edgartown, Feby. 17, 1866.
My dear Son:
Your letters to your mother are at hand this evening. I am glad that you relinquish the idea of having the gun forwarded to you. This gunning business does not amount to much and particularly when a boy is at school. You are just the right age to study and study thoroughly and now is the time to attend to it. I feel in hopes that you will improve the opportunity and endeavor to get a thorough education. All your studies will be perplexing at first but as you progress you will understand everything better and it will be much easier to you to get your lessons. -
Probably a part of the boys in the school will have ambition enough to get a thorough education the other part will probably not amount to anthing and all they will ever be good for will be to run about and spend money they never earned. If you will only be diligent and endeavor to learn, you will eventually find it a great source of pleasure to yourself as well as a great gratification to your parents, and now is the time to do it. Your time is not of much consequence except to prepare you for later life. In looking back my past life I look upon my school boy days the happiest of my life. My “Sands” have nearly run and a few years more and you will have no parents to look after you and no parential roof to flee to. 

Would Gratify Parents’ Wishes

It will be a great gratification to your parents for you to get an education and be prepared when left to yourself and own resources to be able to go out into the world prepared to take care of yourself.
Very truly your affectionate,
Daniel Fisher.
I enclose $5.
The letter tells the story of a real father. He was a friend to all. The Gazette gives the true Dr. Fisher in the issue of December 18, 1876. “Indeed, he had few peers in a long career of active usefulness. He was faithful to right and to duty, and possessed a clear and independent mind. He leaves behind him a respectable fortune, not one mill of which was dishonestly obtained.”
I thank you for putting before the public the story of “Edgartown’s Whaling Magnate”. I spend my summers at Lagoon Heights and hope sometime to meet and talk over a few Island subjects.
Yours most sincerely,
Henry Franklin Norton.