Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
Grant Wilson, John Fiske and Stanley L. Klos. Six volumes, New York: D. Appleton
and Company, 1887-1889 and 1999. Virtualology.com warns that these 19th Century
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FISHER, Philip, clergyman, born in Madrid, Spain, at the close of the 16th century; died in Maryland in 1652. Although he was known on the records of the Jesuit society and in Maryland as Philip Fisher, his real name appears to have been Thomas Copley. He was descended from an old English Roman Catholic family. When Lord Baltimore applied to the provincial of the Jesuits in England for missionaries, on behalf of the Roman Catholic settlers, Father Fisher furnished the means by which the first missionaries were sent out and maintained. He came to Maryland, 8 August 1637, accompanied by Father Thomas Knolles.
He was appointed superior of the mission, and obtained for it several thousand acres of land under Lord Baltimore's conditions of plantation. These lands were cleared and put under cultivation by his direction, and for two centuries met the cost of maintaining worship in these parts of Maryland. In 1639 his term as superior expired, and be was stationed at the chapel of St. Mary's, the capital of the colony, but resumed his office in 1642. During, the rebellion of Clayborne he fell into the hands of Ingle, Clayborne's lieutenant, who treated him as a criminal, and put him in irons. After being confined for some time, he was sent to England, where he was indicted under a statute that made it death for a priest ordained abroad to come into England. He pleaded that he had not come of his own will, and the judges directed an acquittal. He was, however, kept in prison for some time, and on his release was sentenced to perpetual banishment. On the suppression of Clayborne's rebellion he returned to America, landed on the coast of Virginia in January 1648, and made his way with difficulty to St. Mary's. The rest of his life was spent among his Indian converts.
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