William Fish may be considered the inspiration behind the building of Christ Church at the Quarry in 1862-1863. The congregation was formed years before as a missionary outreach of the Episcopal Church at Kenyon College, Harcourt Parish, which held services in Rosse Hall. Christ Church first held services in the vicinity of the present chapel in a wooden house. After the house was destroyed by fire the Bateman Family donated property for a new wooden structure. William Fish suggested the use of stone from his nearby quarry to build a more durable structure. He donated the stone and the labor was paid for by Mr. Columbus Delano of Mount Vernon.
William Fish was born April 29, 1823 in Accrington, Lancashire, England, the son of William Fish and Jenny Akers. Accrington is about twenty miles north of Manchester and today has a population of about 35,000. His parents never left England.
William arrived in the USA in 1849 with his new bride, Winifred Parker, who he married in Accrington on June 30, 1845, and two young children, Elizabeth, 3 years of age, and a baby, Alfred and her brother, John Parker.
They lived initially in Deerfield, Oneida, New York, and then Cleveland and Akron before moving to Gambier in 1857 to work on Ascension Hall at Kenyon College. He owned the quarry which was located on what is now Monroe Mills Road just north of the chapel. His stone was used in several buildings in Gambier where he was identified as a stone cutter.
In 1866 he relocated to Columbus where he was a contractor and building stone supplier and owner of the Fish Stone Company. We worked on many buildings in Columbus including the city hall and the penitentiary. In 1899 son William H Fish donated the pagoda gate at the north entrance to Goodale Park. The Fish House built in 1890 is located diagonally across the street from the gate.
William Fish returned to Gambier in 1877 and in 1880 at age 57 he bought the house at the northwest corner of Wiggen Street and Acland Street, which is now the Gambier House B&B.
William and wife Winifred and her two sisters and their husbands returned to England sailing on the S.S. Alaska on May 15, 1883 to visit family.
He and Winifred had seven children:
Elizabeth Margaret Fish 1846-1923
Alfred Fish, Sr. 1848-1932
William Henry Fish 1850-1931
Jennie E Fish 1852-1906
Joseph Fish 1856-1867
Winifred F. Fish 1858-1940
Mary Harriet Fish 1867-1931
William Fish died April 13th 1901 and is buried in Oak Grove Cemetery, Gambier, Ohio. Winifred Parker Fish died February 9, 1903 and is buried with her husband in Gambier Ohio.
Alfred Fish was a private in the 124th Phio Volunteer Infantry, Company C, during the Civil War, although he would and been only 17 when the 124th was disbanded in 1865.
The Fish family continues to be active with Quarry Chapel.