HAMILTON FISH, the eighteenth governor of New York, was born in New York City on August 3, 1808. His education was attained at Dr. Bancel’s French School, and at Columbia College, where he graduated in 1827. He went on to study law, and in 1830 was admitted to the bar. Fish first entered politics in 1832, serving as commissioner of deeds for the city and county of New York, a position he held two years. He also served as a member of the U.S. House of Representatives from 1843 to 1845; and was the lieutenant governor of New York from 1848 to 1849. Fish next secured the Whig gubernatorial nomination, and was elected governor by a popular vote on November 7, 1848. During his tenure, the University of Rochester was established; the state’s canal system was advanced; and a free school system was created. After leaving the governorship, Fish was elected to the U.S. Senate, an office he held from 1851 to 1857. He also served on the board of commissioners for the relief and exchange of Union prisoners of war in the South. From 1869 to 1877 he served as President Grant’s secretary of state and negotiated the Treaty of Washington. He also served as the president-general of the Society of the Cincinnati from 1854 to 1893. Governor Hamilton Fish passed away on September 7, 1893 and was buried in the Highlands Cemetery in Garrison, New York.
Sobel, Robert, and John Raimo, eds. Biographical Directory of the Governors of the United States, 1789-1978, Vol. 3, Westport, Conn.; Meckler Books, 1978. 4 vols.