Schoharie County NYGenWeb Site

Notes on Mrs. Sally Ann (Rulison) Fish

Submitted by Colleen Mysliwiec, June 4, 2004

MRS. SALLY ANN (RULISON) FISH, A. B. This prominent lady well known throughout Michigan as the publisher of the Missionary Lesson Leaf and Foreign Mission Fields, was born in Evans Mills, Jefferson County, N. Y., and is a daughter of Charles Rulison. He came to Michigan in 1849 but died soon after his arrival January 7, 1850, at the age of forty-four. He was an earnest Abolitionist even at that early day. His wife, Margaretta Swanberg, was born in Philadelphia in 1808, and was a daughter of John G. Swanberg, a blacksmith, who afterward went to sea for his health, but died in Philadelphia during the War of 1812. His wife, Mary Wright, was born in Pennsylvania and her father was a native of London, England and settled in Pennsylvania. After the death of Mrs. Fish's father her mother brought up the family, and she still resides in Flint. Of her six children this daughter is the eldest, and the eldest son, Cornelius E., served for three years in the second Michigan Infantry. He received serious injuries and suffered much from wounds, and after the war became a practicing physician and died at Flushing in 1890. The second son, Herman G., enlisted in the Seventh Michigan Artillery in 1861 and died from sickness during his term of service. Charles W. now resides in Flint and John and Mary died in early childhood.

The lady of whom we write had her early training in New York and until she was past fifteen years old attended school, studying at a select school in Theresa, N. Y. and continued her studies after she came West. At the age of sixteen she began teaching and in 1857 entered Albion College, graduating therefrom in June, 1859, with the degree of Bachelor of Sciences. For about three years she taught at various points and about the year 1870 she began organizing missionary societies in Michigan, and established about one half the societies in the State which are under the care of the Methodist Episcopal Church.

After carrying on this good work with great ability for a number of years this able lady then became assistant editor of the Michigan Christian Advocate in Detroit, where she resided for three years.

Returning to Flint Miss Rulison gave attention to Temperance work, being an ardent member of the Woman's Christian Temperance Union and State secretary for one year. She began editing a small temperance paper entitled Our State Union, and in August, 1883, undertook the publication of the Missionary Lesson Leaf, to which work she added in 1889 the Foreign Mission Fields, which have a circulation in nearly every State in the Union.

The union of this lady in marriage, June 22, 1884 with Dr. G. W. Fish brought her into companionship with one of the noblest men of Flint. He was born in Kortwright, N. Y. in 1816, and received his education in the East, beginning the practice of medicine in Pennsylvania, marrying there in 1838, Octavia Mowry, and coming with her the following year to Flint, which was an almost unbroken wilderness. He carried on a pioneer practice until 1847 or 1848 at which time his health failed and going North he served the Hudson Bay Company for a short time as physician.

A year later the Doctor went South and practiced his profession at Aspinwall and Panama and in 1859 visited China. While at Shanghai in 1860 he was acting Consul at Ningpo. The breaking out of the Civil War in the United States, caused the Doctor to discontinue his residence in China and he returned to New York in June, 1862, having made the entire circuit of the glove.

Entering the army as Surgeon of the Michigan Cavalry the Doctor took part in the campaigns of Rosecrans, Thomas and Sherman, acting most of the time as Brigade Surgeon, and for nearly three years was in active service. At the close of the war he returned to Michigan and served his State as State Senator and Collector of Internal Revenue.

The dire disease, consumption, had entered his household and a son and daughter were taken from the home circle. Their mother soon followed and the bereaved husband and father, who was appointed Consul to Tunis, Africa, went abroad, taking with him his only remaining daughter, who was also failing in health.

After his return from this foreign residence Dr. Fish was united in marriage with the subject of our sketch and with her remained at home until his death. He was a man of clear and vigorous mind, of broad experience and a writer of merit, being a contributor to various periodicals of note. His death occurred September 19, 1885 and he was deeply mourned throughout the community. The Doctor was a stanch Republican and assisted in organizing the Republican party at Jackson.

Mrs. Fish was elected with two other ladies members of the Board of Education of the City of Flint in 1883, in which office she served for two years, and they have the honorable distinction of being the first women to be elected to such an office in the State. She is a believer in the right of woman's suffrage and a worker in the cause of prohibition.

1892 Portrait & Biographical Album of Genesee, Lapeer & Tuscola Counties, in Michigan. Chapman Bros.


Charles Rulison
Male Family
Birth: 10 FEB 1806 Of, Esperance, Schoharie, New York

Death: 07 FEB 1850 Flint, Genesee, Michigan
Spouse: Margaretta Swanberg Family
Marriage: 1830 Of, , , New York

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