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Fisher, C

Caleb Fisher (1770-1799)

  • Dedham, MA to Salem, NY

  • Direct Tie to Luther Fisher (L Fisher)

C Fisher








Investigation of C Fisher is tied to that of L Fisher based on the identical construction / details of the L Fisher and the C Fisher molding planes. (These details included the cartouche within the maker initial marks, the nearly unique outline of the wedge profile and the chamfer stop design on the reverse toe and heel ends.) You need to find both craftsmen working in a common area at a common time with some close form of family tie. This linkage is especially important as the Fisher name is so common that there are too many C Fisher or L Fisher candidates to be able to narrow down the list of potential makers .... one needs the link between C Fisher and L Fisher.

C and L brother pairs were searched throughout New England and while C and L Fisher brothers were found, none of the pairs were linked to woodworking trades. (C and L father and son pairs were also investigated without results.) A search through NY tax / land records eventually provided the missing link; a Caleb Fisher and Luther Fisher being assessed for a common property along with Nehemiah Batcheller, who was found to be Luther’s brother-in-law. All three men, in their early twenties, jointly owned and were jointly taxed for the property in Salem, NY in 1794. Few of the other entries in the tax list included multiple names for a single lot. Once the Caleb and Luther Fisher names, a date and a place were known, a targeted search of land, tax and genealogical records pieced together the identities and connections of the three men. While not brothers, Caleb and Luther were first cousins, while Luther and Nehemiah were brothers-in-law. Importantly, all three were carpenters. Caleb and Luther were both born in 1770, Caleb in Dedham, MA and Luther in nearby Needham, MA. Based on their ages, it is assumed that both men learned their craft and finished their apprenticeships in or nearby their hometowns before moving to Sturbridge / Chatham in 1792/1793.

Caleb Fisher
born in 1770 Dedham, MA

moved to Sturbridge, MA by 1792 (after he was 21 and had finished his apprenticeship)

moved to Salem, NY between 1793 and 1794
died in 1799 Salem, NY

parents Joseph and Elizabeth of Dedham

married Mary Plympton in 1793, both of Sturbridge, MA
daughter Rebecca was born 1798

                                                                                                                                                                                                 Caleb was a housewright in 1792 and 1793 deeds in Sturbridge, MA deeds.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                

A Salem, NY tax assessment dated 1794 included Luther Fisher and Nehemiah Batcheller.  Based on the entry format in the town list, it is assumed that all three owned the one property.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                

Caleb ran ads in 1798 for “a number of joiners”, citing constant employment and high wages.                                                                                                                                                                                                                

He was a member of Capt. James Harvey’s cavalry company in Salem, NY.                                                                                                                                

Caleb was killed in a cannon accident July 4,1799. While his property was on an 1800 Salem tax list, it is not known what became of his widow, Mary.


Masonic symbols are on his tombstone.

Several plows by Caleb are known, indicating that he did make planes for other craftsmen. The plows, as with the other molding planes are expertly crafted with a keen eye to their design. A set of his planes with a period EW mark (with cartouche) were found in surrounding NY towns as well as in Brattleboro, VT.


1792 deed with housewright Caleb Fisher of Sturbridge, MA selling land.







Caleb Fisher ad 1798, Salem, NY.                                                           


                                                                                                          Caleb Fisher obit, Salem NY, 1799







Caleb Fisher tombstone, 1799.












Although 50 to 60 years apart, the reverse chamfer stop details for S Dean of Dedham and C Fisher, born in Dedham, are very close. They are unusual in their design.



The transition between the turnout below the finial and the flat at the front wedge mortise is rounded, a definitive and very unusual design element.











Side view of planes shown in the first image.



Luther Fisher sash coping plane (one of two molders known)






Important links to other craftsman 

Luther Fisher                                    

b 1770 Needham, MA

1793 Chatham, MA

1794 Salem, NY

d 1808 Sullivan, NY


1st cousin to Caleb Fisher, his father was Samuel Fisher, housewright , and his mother

Lydia, Needham. In 1793, Luther married Huldah Batcheller in Charlton, MA.

Nehemiah Batcheller

b 1771 Charlton, MA. After Salem and Sullivan, NY, he was in Lenox, NY through 1830. Carpenter. Brother-in-law to Luther. Nehemiah witnessed Luther’s 1808 deed in Sullivan and was co-admin with Huldah in Luther’s 1808 probate.



The initials I F are found on a 9 ½” thumb nail plane, ca. early 19th C, with a wedge matching those found on C and L Fisher planes. No strong candidates have yet been found in the Suffolk / Norfolk Co.’s of MA.

C Fisher Planes

(SOJ 4 - 4 Summer 2003)


By Pat Lasswell


C Fisher is listed in AWP4 with three ca. 1790 planes reported: a round, a thumbnail and a small complex molder. At least two additional planes are known, a yankee plow and a quarter round. All of the planes are made of birch, have wide shallow chamfers and are 10” long. Two additional imprints are noted in AWP4: a CF and a Fisher with the C removed.


Recently, a group of seven planes were found together at a farmhouse in Westerlo, NY. Three are marked C Fisher with an EW owners mark lower on the toe. One was marked with the EW mark alone high on the toe. The remaining three molders are unmarked. In addition, a plow plane was found a year earlier with the EW overstamped on the C Fisher imprint. (This plow plane was presented in SOTJ 3-4, with the stamp erroneously reported as E Wher.).


These additional four C Fisher planes are important from two standpoints. Firstly, with only five planes documented to date, these additional planes constitute a significant increase in known examples. Secondly, the owner’s mark EW ties four of these planes to a particular place and relative time as part of one tool set.


The three new C Fisher molders and plow, have nearly identical features. The chamfers are of the same width and angle with a step and bold flute on the reverse. (The plow has flutes on the front as well. In addition, the quarter round mentioned above also has less pronounced flutes on the front shoulder.)  The wedge mortises are laid out and relieved. No other scribe lines are noted except for the plow. Here the arms and depth stop mortises are laid out with scribe lines. All four new examples have wedges that are identical as well as graceful. Plane lengths vary between 9 15/16 “ and 10” and heights vary on the molders between 3” and 3 1/8”. Widths vary with the molding profile and range between 1 5/16” and 1 11/16”. The three molders are stamped C Fisher high on the toe with the EW lower. The molder’s irons are all of similar manufacture and are unmarked.


The four remaining molders of this group of seven are clearly related and appear to have been made by one hand. Just not the hand of C Fisher. Three planes are made of birch: a narrow hollow and round pair and a larger bead with cove (marked EW). The fourth plane, a smaller astragal and cove is made of beech. All planes are 10” in length and the birch planes have steps followed by flutes on the reverse, similar to those marked C Fisher. However, the flutes are noticeably smaller and less bold. The beech molder has no flutes on the reverse with the chamfers ending with turnouts. The three birch molders have chamfers which are identical to the C Fisher planes, while the beech molder has chamfers that are only ¼’ wide and less shallow. Clearly from the comparison of the chamfers alone, the beech molder seems to be from a later date. The three birch molders have wedges that seem to have been patterned after the C Fisher wedges, but are much less gracefully executed. The general design is similar with the finials a bit smaller, however, these three wedges are varied with regard to the relief under the finial. The beech molder’s wedge is nearly identical to the C Fisher wedges. One is left with the impression that the maker of these four planes was learning as he was going.


C Fisher Narrow Hollow (not illustrated)


1. Imprint:                               C Fisher AWP4.

2. Length:                                 10”.

3. Width:                                  1 5/16”.

4. Height:                                 Body, 3 1/16”.

5. Woods:                                 Birch.

6. Chamfers:                            5/16” flat shallow chamfers on the top and on the ends.

7. Chamfer stops:                    Step with a separate bold flute on the reverse.

8. Layout:                                 Mortise scribe lines. 

9. Shoulder:                             Step with a hollow.

10. Iron:                                    Unmarked.

11. Other:                                 EW owner’s mark lower on the toe.

C Fisher Wide Hollow (illustrated)


1. Imprint:                                 C Fisher AWP4.

2. Length:                                 9 15/16”.

3. Width:                                   1 11/16”.

4. Height:                                  Body, 3”.

5. Woods:                                  Birch.

6. Chamfers:                             5/16” flat chamfers on the top and on the ends.

7. Chamfer stops:                     Step with a separate bold flute on the reverse.

8. Layout:                                  Mortise scribe lines.

9. Shoulder:                              Step with a hollow.

10. Iron:                                    Unmarked.

11. Other:                                 EW owner’s mark lower on the toe.


C Fisher Wide Round (illustrated)


1. Imprint:                                 C Fisher AWP4.

2. Length:                                 10”.

3. Width:                                   1 5/16”.

4. Height:                                  Body, 3 1/8”.

5. Woods:                                 Birch.

6. Chamfers:                             5/16” flat chamfers on the top and on the ends.

7. Chamfer stops:                     Step with a separate bold flute on the reverse.

8. Layout:                                  Mortise scribe lines.

9. Shoulder:                              Step with a hollow.

10. Iron:                                    Unmarked.

11. Other:                                 EW owner’s mark lower on the    toe.


The remaining C Fisher plane of the “EW” group is the yankee plow. The plane’s chamfers are the same as found on the three molders, but with bold flutes on the front as well as on the reverse. The skate has rounded lower corners and is riveted to the body. The arms are let into the fence and the arm ends are round as viewed from above. The arms are held onto the fence with rivets and square washers. In general the plow is well made and has decorative details. The second known plow is nearly identical. 


C Fisher Plow (illustrated)


1. Imprint:                                 C Fisher AWP4.

2. Length:                                 10”.

3. Body Width:                          1 1/8”.

4. Height:                                  Body, 2 3/4”.

5. Woods:                                 Birch.

6. Chamfers:                             5/16” flat chamfers on the top and on the ends.

7. Chamfer stops:                     Step with a separate bold flute on the front and reverse.

8. Layout:                                  Wedge mortise, arm mortise and depth stop scribe lines.

9. Fence:                                   Arms inlet into fence. Held in place with rivets and square washers.

10. Skate:                                  Riveted to the body. Lower ends rounded.

11. Iron:                                     Heavy and unmarked.

12. Other:                                  EW owner’s mark lower on the toe.


Taken together, all of the known C Fisher planes could constitute part of one tool set of a maker/owner based on the limited and non-duplicated variety of the molder profiles. In addition, the planes show little variation of style or detail and therefore suggest a relatively short period of manufacture. Little points to a commercial maker, except for existence of the second plow. That raises a question mark. As is often the case, additional pieces will help define the story.
































































Caleb Fisher hw 1792 edited.jpg
Northern_Centinel_1798-08-13_Caleb Fisher.png
Spectator_1799-07-17_Caleb Fisher.png
C Fisher S Dean_edited.jpg

      C. Fisher

       A mark 

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