US Presidential Cabinet Secretary, US Senator, Governor of New York, US Congressman. He served as the 26th United States Secretary of State during the Administrations of President Ulysses S. Grant and Rutherford B. Hayes from 1869 until 1877. He was widely regarded as being one of the most efficient and effective figures to serve at this capacity. A member of the Whig Party (later became a Republican), he served as a Senator from the State of New York in the United States Senate from 1851 to 1857. He served as the 16th Governor of the State of New York from 1849 to 1850. He served the 6th District of the State of New York in the United States House of Representatives from 1843 to 1845. His father was a successful attorney, his mother was from the Stuyvesant family, Hamilton graduated among the best of his class from Columbia College of where he received his degree in Law. Initially a member of the Whig Party, he entered the political arena and served briefly in the US Congress, followed by the Governorship of New York. During his tenure as governor, he prioritized revitalizing the state’s public education. Additionally, he oversaw expansion of the New York canal system. After the Whig Party became defunct, he joined the Republican Party prior to his election to the US Senate. He succeeded Elihu B. Washburne as United States Secretary of State, when Washburne resigned to become Minister to France. During his tenure, Fish played significant roles in the resolution of multiple key issues. On behalf of President Grant, Fish negotiated a treaty of annexation in regards to Santo Domingo. However, the idea was blocked by the Senate chairman Charles Sumner of which resulted in the annexation being defeated. In spite of this, Fish was received with positive favor for his efforts. During the Alabama Claims in which the United States sought monetary retribution from the British who violated their neutral stance during the Civil War, when they built and supplied Confederate cruisers of which destroyed numerous American freighters, Fish oversaw the Treaty of Washington of which resulted in the British paying the sum of $15,500.00 in damages. When Fish became Secretary of State, the United States was facing a crisis with Cuba in regards to a rebel uprising. Fish was able to convince President Grant to avoid a declaration of war against Spain. After leaving office, Fish remained active in various organizations until his death at the age of eighty-five. His son Hamilton Fish II, grandson Hamilton Fish III and great-grandson Hamilton Fish IV all served in the United States Congress.
Bio by: C.S.
Julia Ursin Niemcewiez Kean Fish