A Fish Named Hamilton

Hamilton Fish was a boyhood chum of my great-great-grandfather, Abraham Van Orden, in NYC. They remained friends throughout life. As fortune would have it, his friendship not only helped Abraham in adulthood, he even rescued my great-grandfather, Archie Van Orden, during his days of direst war horrors in late 1864.

United_States_Representative_Hamilton_Fish_1844_Fenderich

Even in young adulthood, Hamilton demonstrated innate talent for politics. Perhaps this was a genetic predisposition, as he was a descendant of Pieter Stuyvesant, Director-General of the Dutch Colony of Nieuw Netherland in 1647 (which would become New York in 1664 ). From those 17th century roots, the Fish and Van Orden families became neighbors, collaborators, and friends. Hamilton’s parents, Nicholas and Elizabeth, named him in honor of their friend, Alexander Hamilton, who was a Founding Father of the United States of America.

Hamilton Fish would be elected by the people of New York to serve as State Representative, NY Governor, and U.S. Senator. An early and vital supporter of Abraham Lincoln as the Republican Party Candidate for President in 1860, Hamilton would be recognized by Lincoln for his exceptional abilities, with presidential appointments both during and after the Civil War.

Hamilton_Fish_Brady_Edited

Thousands of Union troops were spared horrible extremes of pain and death through the personal intercession of Hamilton Fish in southern prison camps. Thus, it is no surprise that Archie’s younger brother, my great-grand-uncle, was named Hamilton Fish Van Orden in honor of that great man and patriot.

11 responses to “A Fish Named Hamilton

  1. Robert Van Orden

    Hamilton Fish Van Orden was my great , great grandfather . My name is Robert M. Van Orden

  2. A great quote from Hamilton Fish: “If our country is worth dying for in time of war, let us resolve that it is truly worth living for in time of peace.”

  3. There is a Van Orden: Robert Errol Van Orden, best known as John Smith, the actor!

    • With a name as unique and memorable as Robert Errol Van Orden, it’s difficult to comprehend today why a Hollywood publicist thought it was better to take the most mundane name imaginable, John Smith.

  4. Hamilton FIsh VanOrden, Born in Michigan around 1850 was my great grandfather. Are we referring to the same one. My birth name is VanOrden and my grandfather was Walter Hamilton VanOrden born around 1880 also in Michigan.

    • Mary, your great-grandfather may be the same person as my great-grand-uncle, Hamilton Fish Van Orden — but our birth information differs. My Hamilton was born February 7, 1852 in New York, NY. He died on February 22, 1920 in Arkadelphia, Arkansas. He was the son of my great-great grandfather, Abraham Van Orden and his wife, Martina May Van Orden. Hamilton was named after Abraham’s lifelong friend, Hamilton Fish, who grew up to be Governor of New York, as well as U.S. Secretary of State.

    • Mary, I do see in my records that Hamilton Fish Van Orden lived in Petosky, Michigan in 1900. He was married to Celia Catherine Lutes in 1874. I see also that he lived in East Lansing, MI in 1920, before his death in Arkansas. He did have a son named Walter Hamilton Van Orden, born September 21, 1883 in Detroit, who died in 1977 (location unknown). So your ancestor and mine are probably the same man. I hope this information helps you.

  5. Mary, your great-grandfather may be the same person as my great-grand-uncle, Hamilton Fish Van Orden — but our birth information differs. My Hamilton was born February 7, 1852 in New York, NY. He died on February 22, 1920 in Arkadelphia, Arkansas. He was the son of my great-great grandfather, Abraham Van Orden and his wife, Martina May Van Orden. Hamilton was named after Abraham’s lifelong friend, Hamilton Fish, who grew up to be Governor of New York, as well as U.S. Secretary of State.

  6. Mary, I do see in my records that Hamilton Fish Van Orden lived in Petosky, Michigan in 1900. He was married to Celia Catherine Lutes in 1874. I see also that he lived in East Lansing, MI in 1920, before his death in Arkansas. He did have a son named Walter Hamilton Van Orden, born September 21, 1883 in Detroit, who died in 1977 (location unknown). So your ancestor and mine are probably the same man. I hope this information helps you.

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