The Fishers

Lucius George and Katherine “Kate” Louise (Eddy) Fisher

Fisher BuildingLucius (1843 – 1916) was a paper company magnate who commissioned (and owned for the rest of his life) the beautiful Fisher Building on Dearborn. Completed in 1896, it is the oldest 20-story building still standing in Chicago. His wife Kate (1849 – 1910) was the daughter of a Presbyterian minister who founded several congregations throughout his career.

Lucius was born in Wisconsin but headed to New York in 1861 at age 18. He ended up as a color sergeant in the Civil War and went to Chicago after mustering out in 1865. Five years later he married Kate, and five years after that he became president of the Union Bag and Paper Company at the age of only 32.

Kate was born during her father’s tenure in New York — where both her parents were originally from as well — but the family moved to Wisconsin for her father’s health when she was still a baby. When she was six, they moved to Bloomington, Illinois, and at fourteen, the family settled in Chicago where she met and married Lucius in 1870.

Both could trace their familes back to before the Revolution and Kate’s great-grandfather had fought with Washington and survived Valley Forge. By 1900, they had four adult children and several servants. They summered on Mackinac Island, where they were listed on the social register, and cruised the Great Lakes on a steam yacht.

Possibly as a celebration following their daughter Ethel’s wedding the month before, Lucius and Kate went to Europe in the summer of 1910, visiting Germany where, sadly, Kate died. I can’t find any details about what happened, but ten days later, Lucius arrived in New York aboard the Kronprinzessin Cecilie alone, escorting his wife’s coffin back home to Chicago.

It’s likely the headstone for the family plot at Graceland was designed in Kate’s honor as she was the first of their little family to pass. Lucius died in 1916 at home in Chicago and is buried beside his wife; son Lucius Jr died just two years later after a long illness and a recent surgery. He had never married nor had children. In 1975, Ethel was buried with her parents and brother. Their other two sisters (Alice and Katherine Jr) are buried elsewhere with their husbands.

RIP Fishers

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