John Albert Fish, Imperial Light Horse 1 month 3 weeks ago #71513
Short-tempered, an adventurer, a bit of a bad lad, a dodgy character - any or all could be probably applied to Captain Fish - and was he really a captain?.
ASSAULT BY A CAPTAIN.
OBJECTED TO A DOCTOR ATTENDING HIS WIFE.….Captain John Albert Fish, whose address was given as the Junior Army and Navy Club, was before Mr. Sheil, at Westminster Police-court, London, summoned for assaulting Dr. Frederick John Hicks, of 138, St. James's-court, Buckingham Gate.
….In opening the case for the prosecution Mr. A. R. Butterworth said that this was a most extraordinary charge of assault. Complainant resided in a large block of flats, and some three weeks ago was called to professionally attend the occupier of another flat in the same building - a lady who was known as Mrs. Suggett, but who, it had since been stated, had gone through some sort of marriage ceremony in Scotland with the defendant. Captain Fish, who was present, wanted the doctor to understand that the lady had been drinking, but that was not the doctor's opinion. Complainant gave the lady a sleeping draught, and subsequently attended her. On one occasion, seeing a number of the photographs of the lady, the doctor took one away with him to his own flat, and after showing it to Mrs. Hicks placed the picture over the mantelpiece. Defendant, calling on complainant, saw the photograph, and objected to its retention. The doctor offered to destroy it, and did so in defendant's presence, throwing the pieces into the waste-paper basket. On this occasion defendant angrily told the doctor not to attend his wife further, but the complainant pointed out that it was a very common thing for husband and wife to have different medical attendants, and the lady had more latitude in this matter, as she was not living with her husband. The doctor was again sent for by he lady, but the defendant, arriving whilst he there, threw him out of the flat. It was after this that Mrs. Hicks became acquainted with Mrs. Suggett. The ladies went to Drury-lane Theatre together, and the doctor met them there, and returned with them in a cab to St. James's-court. The defendant then, continued counsel, came and assaulted the doctor - a much older man than himself - in a very outrageous way.
….Complainant gave evidence bearing out the statement of his counsel, and said his collar, tie, and coat were "soaked" with blood, and a vulcanite and gold tooth-plate in his mouth was broken.
….Mrs. Hicks, wife of complainant, was called to corroborate as to the assault.
….Mr. Douglas Hogg, for the defence, said the defendant was recently invalided home from South Africa, and that having had a bullet wound in the arm he was physically incapable of the violence which had been described. He married the lady who had been referred to as Mrs. Suggett as recently as October 2 in Scotland, and soon found that she was of intemperate habits. On November 14, in response to a wire, he visited his wife's flat, and found the lady and her maid in an excited state, with many bottles about that had contained drink. The defendant was called in, but after the incident of the photograph the captain told him that his services were not required further. Notwithstanding this, he found the complainant again at the flat and in company with his wife at the theatre. It was not surprising, under the circumstances, that the defendant lost his temper, though the assault was not one of a serious nature, as the police evidence showed.
….Captain Fish said he served in the Imperial Light Horse, and was all through the Boer War. He married the lady referred to as Mrs. Suggett in October last. There were now matrimonial proceedings pending. On the 19th witness again visited his wife's flat, and the maid tried to stop his entry. To his surprise he saw Dr. Hicks there and his (witness's) wife in dishabille. Using no more force than necessary, he put the doctor out, telling him that he had been ordered not to go to the flat. With regard to the assault after the visit to the theatre, he denied that he used a stick, and said that he only used his open hand.
….The defendant was sentenced to a month's imprisonment in the second division.
….Notice of appeal was given.
The Weekly Mail, Saturday 13th December 1902
English Lady Arrested.….New York, Sunday. - Romance tinges the story surrounding the arrest of Mrs Inez Hyland, a pretty and well-dressed Englishwoman, against whom a charge of grand larceny rests. She is alleged to have obtained by fraud 20,000 dollars' worth of diamonds and other jewellery from Captain J. A. Fysh, of the Imperial Light Horse, who fought through the Boer war, and was with General Baden-Powell in Mafeking. Mrs Hyland was arrested in Harlem yesterday, but denounced the action of the police as an outrage. Captain Fysh, who is married to a New York girl of good family, told the police yesterday that he first met Mrs Hyland at Beira, in Mozambique, in 1897, where she was a society leader, and presided at the receptions of the British Consul. Captain Fysh was wounded in the Boer war, and while he was convalescent he received a letter from Mrs Hyland. A correspondence ensued, and Mrs Hyland came to New York. Captain Fysh saw her here, and he says his wife knew about the acquaintance, and thought nothing of it. Captain Fysh says he needed 10,000 dollars for a mining venture, and Mrs Hyland offered to lend him the sum. Capt. Fysh hypothecated with her 20,000 dols. worth of diamonds and jewellery, she promising to let him have the money on December 2nd, but she then disappeared, and the detectives arrested her yesterday. Mrs Hyland was brought up at Jefferson Market Police Court and held in 10,000 dollars bail. Her counsel, on cross-examining the complainant, brought out the facts that Captain Fysh was born in Connecticut. He entered the Army, but deserted, and went to Mozambique, where he shot a negro. He afterwards fled to South Africa.
The Cardiff Times, Saturday 26th December 1903
THE CAPTAIN AND HIS JEWELS….Mrs. Hyland was yesterday acquitted by the court, says a New York telegram, on the charge of stealing jewels from Captain Fish, and discharged. The district attorney referred to Mrs. Hyland's testimony, in which she said that Captain Fish had deserted from the United States Army at the age of nineteen and had killed a negro in Africa. While the jury were out of court Captain Fish detailed to the reporters the story of his experiences in South Africa, where he served for two years in the Boer War. He showed two handsome medals that he had received from the Government, one of them bearing evidence on its face that he had served during the siege of Ladysmith and at various battles. On the reverse side of one medal was inscribed, "Captain John A. Fish, Imperial Light Horse." The other medal was the King's Service medal. He also had papers showing that he was in receipt of a pension from the British Government for wounds received during the war.
Evening Express [Cardiff], Saturday 19th March 1904
FISH GETS FIVE YEARS
[ASSOCIATED PRESS DISPATCH]….BOSTON, March 13. - Captain John A. Fish of New York was sentenced to five years in the federal prison at Atlanta, Ga., for burning his yacht, Senta, in Edgartown Harbor, in order to obtain $15,000 insurance money. Judge Hale said in view of the fact that Fish saved the lives of those aboard the burning yacht, he would only give him five years, the maximum being life.
The Arizona Republican, Saturday 14th March 1914
FIVE YEAR SENTENCE GIVEN CAPTAIN FISH.
Convicted of Burning his Yacht to Collect $15,000 Insurance.…."Captain" John A. Fish of New York was sentenced to five years in the federal prison at Atlanta by Judge Hale in the United States district court at Boston on Friday. Fish was convicted of burning his yacht in Edgartown harbour in 1910 for the purpose of obtaining $15,000 insurance. United States District Attorney Asa P. French represented the government and Guy A. Ham the defendant. Several persons were at Boston from New York to assist in a plea for leniency.
….After the sentence, notice was given by Mr. Ham that the case would proceed to the circuit court of appeals upon a writ of error. In view of this situation, Judge Hale consented to admit the prisoner to bail of $15,000. The amount is an increase of $5,000 in the bond given following the conviction of Fish.
….While in the cage in the office of United States Marshal Murchie, Fish expressed confidence in his friends being able to furnish the required surety, but he was sent to Cambridge jail in default of sureties. When released he will start for New York city. In his assignment or [for?] errors he will contend that there was no evidence on which to allow the jury to consider the case.
….It is intimated that the case may go to the supreme court at Washington upon a constitutional question, should the court of appeals decide against Fish.
….In moving sentence District Attorney French stated that Fish when 21 years old deserted from the United States army while acting as an orderly at West Point. Several friends from New York spoke in his favour, and his counsel recounted the bravery while in the British army in South Africa which earned for him service medals.
….Judge Hale in Imposing sentence said that the maximum penalty was imprisonment for life, but that in view of the fact that Fish saved the lives of those on board the burning yacht he would make it five years.
….Another boat belonging to Captain Fish, also named the Senta, was burned in Stonington harbour.
The Norwich Bulletin [Connecticut], Saturday 14th March 1914
….Captain John A. Fish, of New York, was found not guilty of setting fire to his schooner yacht, Senta, in Edgarton Harbor, October 25, 1910, by a Jury Federal court...…
Star-Gazette [Elmira, New York], 20th November 1914
There's a reference to a Captain John A. Fish, of Fishtown, Mystic, Connecticut, which I'm unable to access, in The Times [Montgomery, Alabama], 12th September 1924.
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John Albert Fish, Imperial Light Horse 1 month 2 weeks ago #71519
Interestingly, there was one "675 L/Cpl. John Albert FISH" who served in the ILH and later as Lt. in the CinC Bodyguard. He earned both QSA and KSA and the clasps on his QSA included "Defence of Ladysmith" and "Relief of Mafeking". I could find no reference in Palmer to his being wounded.
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John Albert Fish, Imperial Light Horse 1 month 1 minute ago #71808
Thanks to the Mystic River Historical Society, we now have some additional background information on Captain Fish.
….He was born at Noank, Connecticut, on September 4th 1874, the son of John Albert Fish, senior (born 1853) and Laura Kate Relyea Fish - the Fish family had lived in the Groton/Mystic area since the 1780s.
….The 1910 US Census records have our J. A. Fish living at W146th Street, Manhattan, NYC; he was an unmarried insurance agent. He then appears in the 1914 "Who's Who in New York" directory with a short write-up that includes references to his military experience in Africa and his summer home in Groton (i.e. Mystic). His 1918 WWI draft card, and the 1920 & 1930 US Census records all list him as a farmer living on Flanders Road, Mystic, CT. In 1935 he shows up back in New York (this time in Queens), where he seems to live out the rest of his life with his (adopted?) daughter Katherine.
….Possible references to him are a John A. Fish who appears in the 1912 Mystic-Stonington directory as a "laborer" living in Stonington, and in 1929 as a "farmer" living on New London Road in Mystic (neither entry references a wife).
I went through Mystic once, in 2008, while on a train going from New Haven, Connecticut, to Providence, Rhode Island, and managed to take a photo.
My sincere thanks to the Mystic River Historical Society, from whose email I've mostly quoted verbatim.
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