battle with life at an early age,
tuberculosis being the principal killer. Anyone at all susceptible
to the dread disease could not expect longevity. After Sukey died, Isaac
married her sister Sophronia but they had no children.
How much law Isaac practiced in his Weston office is debatable for
he was a man of affairs. He was elected Town Clerk of Weston four times
in the period 1804-1827 and served a total of eleven years in that
office in spite of being Register of Probate of Middlesex County from
1817 until 1851 and living in Cambridge part of the time. Besides, he
was a real estate trader and money lender and his success is evidenced
by the fact that he became a fairly rich man. According to the book
The Rich Men of Massa-chusetts, published by Forbes and Green in
1851, Isaac was a "man of excellent character. Benevolent."
Not so his son Augustus, my great-grandfather. According to
the same volume: "In reference to benevolence — although it is
our rule to be silent where we cannot praise — we must hazard
the suggestion that whoever seeks an engagement with Augustus H.
Fiske in modern financeering is bound to come off 'second best'." It
further states that Augustus was a "man of knockdown logic. . . . with a
memory that can clinch a thousand new facts with
greater ease than it can let go a single old one."
Augustus practiced law in Boston and was a tireless worker.
It has been said that A. T. Stewart, the great New York merchant,
arrived in town one evening and told the cab driver that he
needed a lawyer immediately. "I'll take you to Mr. Fiske's
office," said the driver. "He's apt to work late." — and so began
a long and profitable relationship.
When the Fitchburg Railroad was completed in 1848 and