Peter Fisher: Sayreville's Founder and Builder
Peter Fisher was born in Fishkill, New York on October 28, 1818. There, in the Hudson Valley, he earned success in the business of shipping aggregates. In 1850 he entered into a partnership with James Randolph Sayre of Newark, who provided the capital (while Fisher provided the know-how) to form a clay mining and brick manufacturing enterprise in South Amboy. The Sayre and Fisher Company rapidly purchased large tracts of clay-rich land along the south bank of the Raritan River at a place called “Roundabout.” Eventually, Sayre and Fisher bought out most of the small pottery and brick manufacturers then operating along the river. At its height the Sayre and Fisher Company owned or leased over 1500 acres of property (about twenty percent of the high ground in present-day Sayreville) that stretched over two miles along the waterfront of the Raritan River; by 1900 S&F was one of the ten largest employers in New Jersey. James Sayre envisioned a fully integrated company town to support his brick enterprise, and his money and influence brought Sayre's Village into existence. However, it was Peter Fisher who built a home and raised a family in the newly formed Township of Sayreville. A self-made man, Fisher always considered himself as one of the workers at his brick company, and his hard work and business acumen brought him great financial success. Even when in his advanced age, his workers witnessed him stop a newly hired S&F employee to demonstrate for the young man the most efficient way to wheel a wheel-barrow full of brick from the kilns to the boats docked on the Raritan. In his obituary, he was called Sayreville's "founder and builder, its leading citizen, widely known for his acts of charity and benevolence, while his employees loved him for his uniform kindness." Fisher lived over fifty years of his life in Sayreville, and died at his summer home in Allenhurst, NJ on June 30, 1906.