Albion Interactive History / People / Emily Fish

Albion Interactive History

Albion Interactive History / People

Fish, Emily Maitland, 1843
    Died 1931

Emily Maitland was born in Albion on February 22, 1843. At seventeen she became the second wife of Dr. Melancthon Fish. Her sister, Juliet, had been his first wife and had died in childbirth. Dr. Fish was the United States vice consul in Shanghai, China, for six years. In 1862, he and Emily returned to Oakland, California, where Dr. Fish established a medical practice and began teaching at the University of California.In 1893, at age fifty, Emily Fish was widowed. Her son-in-law was a naval officer and also the lighthouse inspector for the Twelfth District. When he told her that the Los Pinos lighthouse post would be available as the result of a retirement, she decided to become a lighthouse keeper. The home she established on the 92-acre lighthouse site was furnished with the antiques, fine silver and china from her Oakland home. When Emily and Melancthon returned to the United States from China, they had brought with them a Chinese servant named Que. At the lighthouse, Emily had topsoil brought in to cover the California sand and scrub and she and Que planted trees, grass and a cypress hedge. She kept horses for her carriage, Holstein cows, chickens, and French poodles. After her period of mourning for Melancthon ended, Emily joined the social life of California’s Monterey Peninsula, entertaining artists, writers, and naval officers from ships which called there. Inspectors always rated her lighthouse keeping as excellent. She was on duty the day of the San Francisco earthquake, April 18, 1906. She died in retirement in 1931 at age eighty-eight.

Source: Albion Public Library, Local History Room

From: Albion AAUW. Some Notable Women of the Albion Area. Albion, Michigan: American Association of University Women. 1998.

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