George Fishley joined the Continental Army in 1777, serving three years and taking part in Monmouth, the New Jersey battle led by George Washington. Ultimately captured by British forces and held captive at Halifax for three months, Fishley would ultimately die of his wounds during captivity.
He was a veteran of the Revolution and widely respected locally as a hero. He attended numerous patriotic events, and was among the few surviving veterans to witness the opening of Bunker Hill Monument in Boston in 1843.
Early Life and Education
Fishley was born and raised in New Hampshire, then an English colony. As a veteran of the Revolution, he took part in the Battle of Monmouth – an engagement between Americans and British led by George Washington that set him apart.
After the war, he relocated to Portsmouth and quickly gained notoriety for his participation in Patriotic events. In 1843, he attended the dedication of Bunker Hill Monument in Boston dressed in his uniform.
Every town has a local historical society and most have old “colonial revival” museums filled with hundreds of artifacts waiting to be appreciated. Volunteers — the backbone of these institutions — are always searching for ways to conserve, interpret and display these priceless possessions.
George Fishley had an outstanding professional career. As both a high school football player and later at the University of Akron, he excelled in sports. A four-year letterman in football, George earned honorable mention All-American recognition in 1982.
The Portsmouth Historical Society’s volunteer staff have been hard at work preserving artifacts like George Fishley’s daguerreotype – one of the city’s three longest-living Revolutionary War veterans – as part of their collection. It’s been an enjoyable job, particularly considering all that other items there are to look after at this museum – another example of America’s many “colonial revival” museums that still contain fascinating artifacts that need further appreciation. The Portsmouth museum serves as a testament to these “colonial revival” museums across America that possess captivating artifacts yet to be appreciated.
Achievements and Honors
At the start of the American Revolution, Fishley served in a unit that participated in the Battle of Monmouth – an epic New Jersey confrontation led by George Washington. Additionally, he was among those Americans who attacked Indians who had joined forces with Britain.
He became a local celebrity in Portsmouth, where he settled after the war. According to an 1850 obituary in The Portsmouth Journal, he died at 91 and was often present for public events.
He was a famous hat wearer, sporting tall, wide-brimmed headgear with cocked brims. This daguerreotype photo of him wearing it can be found in one of many old “colonial revival” museums like those found in Portsmouth and beyond around the region. Its rebirth serves to demonstrate the passion and energy behind volunteer-run local history museums.
George Fishley served three years in the Continental Army, according to The Portsmouth Journal. He joined the Revolution in 1777 and was present during Monmouth, a New Jersey battle led by George Washington that proved decisive for his cause.
He was a beloved figure in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, where he lived. Known as “the last of our cocked hats,” he was often present at public events.
George Fishley’s photo has become a source of fascination for museum volunteers at a local historical society. These dedicated workers – the backbone of historical societies – take great pleasure in uncovering such hidden gems and ensure they receive all the recognition they deserve.