Transcribed from A Standard History of Kansas and Kansans, written and compiled by William E. Connelley, Secretary of the Kansas State Historical Society, Topeka. Chicago: Lewis Publishing Company, copyright 1918


Samuel Brownlee Fisher

SAMUEL BROWNLEE FISHER of Parsons, consulting engineer of the Missouri, Kansas & Texas Railroad Company, is one of the eminent railway engineers of America. He has had nearly fifty years of active experience and has been identified with the construction of various railway lines in the West and East.

He comes of an old Scotch family of Covenanter stock. On the maternal side his ancestors were the Brownlees, who were Covenanters in Scotland and were exiled because of their religious belief and settled in Pennsylvania. Mr. Fisher's great-great-grandfather in the maternal line, George Wilie, was a soldier in the Revolutionary war, and another member of this same family was Colonel Thompson, an aide to General Washington. Mr. Fisher's maternal grandfather, Samuel Brownlee, was born in Washington, Pennsylvania, in 1792, and spent all his life on a farm in that rugged district of Southwestern Pennsylvania, dying in 1855. He was an active abolitionist in the days before the Civil war and was a member of the Associate Branch of the Presbyterian Church. Samuel Brownlee married Ann Wilie, who was born and died at Washington, Pennsylvania.

The father of Mr. Fisher was Rev. Jacob P. Fisher, who was born in Ohio in 1808, but was reared and married in Washington, Pennsylvania. He was a minister of that branch of Presbyterianism formerly known as the Associate Church. He was also actively identified with the abolition cause. His death occurred in Washington, Pennsylvania, in 1853. Rev. Mr. Fisher married Jane Thompson Brownlee, who was born in Washington, Pennsylvania, in 1820. She died in 1888 while visiting in Montana, her home at that time being in Washington, Pennsylvania. Samuel B. Fisher was the older of the two sons. His brother, George McVey Fisher, is a farmer at Kalispel, Montana, is a graduate of Washington and Jefferson College and is also a Presbyterian minister.

Samuel Brownlee Fisher was born October 24, 1846, while his parents resided at Cherry Fork, Ohio. He grew up in Southwestern Pennsylvania near Washington, attended the district schools there, and in 1868 graduated Bachelor of Science from Washington and Jefferson College at Washington. That splendid old institution has honored him with other degrees because of his prominence in his profession. In 1871 he received the degree master of science, and in 1908 his alma mater conferred upon him the degree of Doctor of Science.

The years 1869-71 Mr. Fisher spent in learning a trade with the Rogers Locomotive Works at Paterson, New Jersey. From 1873 to 1885 he was in the engineering department of the Pennsylvania lines west of Pittsburg. From 1885 to 1890 he was chief engineer of the Milwaukee & Northern Railway. He was chief engineer of the Soo lines at Minneapolis, Minnesota, from 1890 to 1892. During 1893-94 he was chief engineer of the Everett & Monte Christo Railway in the Puget Sound district of Washington.

Mr. Fisher has been connected with the Missouri, Kansas & Texas Railway Company for the past twenty years. In 1895 he lived in Parsons a few months representing that company, but from 1896 to 1912 was chief engineer with headquarters at St. Louis. Since 1912 he has been chief engineer of construction and was also chairman of the valuation committee. In 1916 he became consulting engineer, and has had his offices in Parsons since 1915. He still owns his home in St. Louis.

Mr. Fisher is a member of the American Society of Civil Engineers, belongs to the Engineers Club of St. Louis, and to the Association of American Railway Engineers. He is a republican and is an elder in the Second Presbyterian Church of St. Louis.

In 1881 in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania, he married Miss Agnes Crooks, daughter of James and Anna Crooks, both now deceased. Her father was a farmer. Mrs. Fisher died at St. Louis in 1906, leaving two children: Brownlee, who completed his education in Washington University at St. Louis, is now secretary of the Van Zandt Gas Appliance Company of St. Louis, and is also a lieutenant in the Naval Reserve. Ann P., who lives with her father, graduated A. B. from Washington University at St. Louis.


Transcribed from volume 4, pages 2110-2111 of A Standard History of Kansas and Kansans, written and compiled by William E. Connelley, Secretary of the Kansas State Historical Society, Topeka. Chicago: Lewis Publishing Company, copyright 1918; originally transcribed October 1997, modified 2003 by Carolyn Ward.

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