Monadnock Moments No. 8: Josiah Fisher Killed the Indians in Keene
On the corner of the John W. Day Educational Center, formerly the Keene Post Office, at 34 West Street, is a plaque which reads: “Near this spot Deacon Josiah Fisher was killed and scalped by an Indian, July 10, 1745, a pioneer settler of this town in 1734”.
Josiah Fisher was one of the eight original settlers to arrive in what was then called Upper Ashuelot on the evening of September 18, 1734 to create a community on the growing edge of Colonial expansion. He played a prominent role among the early settlers, serving on many political and religious committees.
Life was not easy in the newly founded community, and became even more difficult in March of 1744 when England declared war on France. Known as King George’s War, the declaration disturbed the settlers greatly for they knew that the local Indians were allies with the French. Attacks by small bands of Indians began in early 1745 in the region. They burned the home of Timothy Harrington on March 26 and killed and scalped William Phips in Westmoreland on July 5.
On the morning of July 10, Fisher started out from his home, the present site of the Wyman Tavern on Main Street, to drive his cow to pasture. He traveled up Main Street and turned off on a side road near the present Lamson Street. It was here that Fisher met his fate at the hands of Indians. He was found at that spot later in the day, killed and scalped.
Josiah Fisher was the first person to be killed by Indians in Upper Ashuelot (Keene). Fisher left no descendants. He and his wife Ruth had but one child, Abigail, who died in May of 1745, less than two months before her father’s death. The plaque upon the Day Educational Center wall remembers Deacon Josiah Fisher for his efforts and sacrifice for the infant village of Keene.