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Joseph Fish Collection circa 1906


Overview of the Collection

Creator: Fish, Joseph, 1840-1926
Title: Joseph Fish Collection
Inclusive Dates: circa 1906
Quantity: 1 Box (0.5 Linear Feet)
Abstract:The Joseph Fish Collection houses a typescript copy of Fish's History of Arizona and a subject index. Fish's history is a relatively comprehensive topical account of the development of Arizona that was written in about 1906.
Identification: MSS-86
Language: Material in English
Repository: Arizona State University Library. Greater Arizona Collection
P.O. Box 871006
Tempe, AZ 85287-1006
Phone: (480) 965-4932
Questions? Ask An Archivist!

Biographical Note

Joseph Fish was born to Horace and Hannah (Leavitt) Fish on June 27, 1840 at Twelve Mile Grove, Illinois and spent his early childhood with the Mormon settlers at Nauvoo. In about 1850, the Fish family settled at Parowan, Utah. Fish married Mary Campbell Steele (1840-1874) on March 22, 1859. The couple had six children: Mary Josephine (Fish) Barraclough, Frances Amelia (Fish) Carson, Delphina Catherine (Fish) Smith, Joseph Campbell, John Lazell, and Jessie May (Fish) Lee. Fish married Eliza Jane Lewis on July 26, 1869, Adelaide Margaret Smith on May 1, 1876, and Julia Ann (York) Reidhead on April 19, 1883. He had three children with Adelaide (Horace Nathaniel, Silas Leavitt, and Joseph Smith) and five with Julia.

Joseph Fish was ordained an Elder by F. T. Whitney on March 11, 1856, ordained a Seventy by W. C. McGregor on February 22, 1865, and ordained a High Priest and set apart as a member of the High Council by President Joseph F. Smith on March 14, 1869. During his time in Parowan, Fish worked as a farmer, as a lumberer, and as a merchant. He was also active in the Church and served in the Utah militia. During the winter of 1878-1879, Fish moved to Snowflake, Arizona with part of his family. He returned to Utah for the rest of his family the following fall. After working briefly for the Atlantic and Pacific Railroad, Fish returned to the mercantile trade and established the cooperative store known as Charles Jarvis and Joseph Fish Co. at Holbrook, Arizona in 1881. In order to avoid being arrested for polygamy, Fish spent a year in Mexico in 1884. He was arrested for the same offence with several other men in 1905, but all were excused on the condition that they pay a fine of $100. In 1893, he moved to Layton, Arizona and was elected to the 18th Territorial Legislature as a Representative from Graham County. In 1896 he returned to Holbrook and began collecting materials and writing about the history of Arizona. He is the author of The Pioneers of the Southwest and Rocky Mountain Regions and The Life and Times of Joseph Fish, Mormon Pioneer. Fish died on December 10, 1926.

Scope and Content Note

The Joseph Fish Collection houses a typescript copy of Fish's History of Arizona and a subject index. Fish's history is a relatively comprehensive topical account of the development of Arizona that was written in about 1906. Fish wrote at length on relations between white settlers and local Indian tribes with emphasis on the story of the Apaches and the Indian Wars. He also provides some information on the "colonization" of Mormon families in Arizona in the second half of the text. Fish documented some of his sources and added detailed commentary in long textual footnotes.

Although the work treats the development of prehistoric cultures and covers events from the Spanish colonial period to early twentieth century territorial politics, there are some items of particular interest in this work. Fish provides lists of territorial Governors, Justices, and Legislators from 1863 to 1905 (p. 366-373) and briefly describes the work of the territorial legislature in each session from 1889 to 1905 (p. 697-703). A summary of elections for congressional delegates from 1890 to 1904 is also provided (p. 704-706). The author offers population estimates for Indians in Arizona listed by tribe for 1863 and 1899 (p. 534). Finally, Fish included statistics for number of schools, school attendance, and school property valuations from 1885-1900 (p. 741).


This collection consists of one box.


Access Restrictions

To view this collection, make an appointment at least five business days prior to your visit by contacting Ask an Archivist or calling (480) 965-4932. Appointments in the Wurzburger Reading Room at Hayden Library (rm. 138) on the Tempe campus are available Monday through Friday. Check the ASU Library Hours page for current availability.


Arizona State University does not own the copyright to this collection. We recognize that it is incumbent upon the researcher to procure permission to publish information from this collection from the owner of the copyright.

Access Terms

Personal Name(s)
Fish, Joseph, 1840-1926.

Geographic Name(s)
Arizona -- History -- To 1912.
Arizona -- History, Local.

Church buildings -- Arizona -- History.
Cities and towns -- Arizona -- History.
Indians of North America -- Arizona -- History.
Manuscripts, American.
Mormon pioneers -- Arizona.

Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

[Identification of item], Joseph Fish Collection, MSS-86, Arizona State University Library.


The Joseph Fish Collection was received in 1990 (ACC # 1990-00390).

Container List

11 History of Arizona, Undated (Typescript; Pages 1-110 and 347-428)
12 History of Arizona, Undated (Typescript; Pages 429-561)
13 History of Arizona, Undated (Typescript; Pages 562-637 and 639-662)
14 History of Arizona, Undated (Typescript; Pages 663-762)
15 History of Arizona, 1962 (Typescript; Index; 19 Pages)