Samuel Rhoads Fisher

Matagorda Cemetery Road   SH 60 & S Gulf Road          28°42'0.38"N      95°57'19.42"W
 

 

Arrived in Texas in 1830

Matagorda representative at the Convention of 1836

Signer of the Texas Declaration of Independence on March 2, 1836

Signer of the Constitution of the Republic of Texas

First Secretary of the Republic of Texas Navy October 28, 1836

Photo courtesy of the Fisher Family.

Samuel Rhoads Fisher          Samuel Rhoads Fisher Family Tree at Star of the Republic Museum

Samuel Rhoads Fisher - Handbook of Texas          Texas Independence: The Delegate Connection
 


GRAVE OF REPUBLIC OF TEXAS SECRETARY OF THE NAVY

S. RHOADS FISHER
(1794-1839)

     STATESMAN-BUSINESSMAN WHO CONTRIBUTED TALENT AND TIME TO ESTABLISH AND MAINTAIN TEXAS INDEPENDENCE.

     A QUAKER; BORN IN PENNSYLVANIA. MOVED TO TEXAS 1830. SET UP MERCANTILE HOUSE AND SHIPPING BUSINESS IN MATAGORDA. STRUGGLED AGAINST ANTI-TEXAS POLICIES OF SANTA ANNA’S DICTATORSHIP IN MEXICO. WON ELECTION AS ONE OF MATAGORDA DELEGATES TO THE 1836 CONVENTION IN WASHINGTON-ON-THE-BRAZOS. SIGNED TEXAS DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE. IN FIRST REGULAR ADMINISTRATION OF REPUBLIC OF TEXAS, BECAME SECRETARY OF THE NAVY IN CABINET OF PRESIDENT SAM HOUSTON IN OCTOBER 1836.

     BY MARCH 1837 MEXICAN BLOCKADERS WERE TRYING TO REDUCE TEXAS TO STARVATION BY CAPTURING SHIPMENTS—INCLUDING THOSE OF THE U. S. A. – ON GULF OF MEXICO.

     SECRETARY FISHER WENT TO SEA WITH THE TEXAS NAVY TO ATTACK MEXICAN COAST AND DRAW BLOCKADERS AWAY FROM PORTS OF GALVESTON, MATAGORDA, AND VELASCO. TEXAS CAPTURED TERRITORY AND SHIPS OF THE ENEMY; BUT LATER ACCIDENTS AND STORMS DESTROYED THE NAVY AND PRIZES.

     IN LATE 1837 SECRETARY FISHER RESIGNED. BACK IN MATAGORDA HE DIED AS RESULT OF A SHOOTING IN 1839. HE AND HIS WIFE HAD FOUR CHILDREN. SEVERAL LEADERS IN STATE GOVERNMENT HAVE COME FROM THIS FAMILY. IN 1876 A NEW COUNTY WAS NAMED IN HONOR OF S. RHOADS FISHER. (1968)
 




Inscription typed by Faye Cunningham
 


 


Samuel Rhoads Fisher


Samuel Rhoads Fisher, born December 31, 1794, in Pennsylvania came to Matagorda County with Stephen F. Austin's third colony in 1830. He received title to two leagues of land in Matagorda County, one league in Lorenzo de Zavala's Colony in Hardin and Tyler counties, and one league in Harrisburg, Harris County. Samuel Rhoads Fisher married Ann Pleasants, born January 26, 1796, in Pennsylvania. Ann died October 21, 1862, of yellow fever.

Samuel Rhoads Fisher was a planter but he also owned several schooners for shipping various cargoes. Fisher and Bailey Hardeman were elected as delegates to the Convention from Matagorda in February 1836. He was a signer of the Texas Declaration of Independence. In 1836, President Sam Houston appointed Fisher Secretary of the Navy and he was confirmed by the Senate. In October, 1837, however, Houston ordered him removed from office. The President's displeasure came from what Mirabeau B. Lamar later called Fisher's "Plundering, burning and destroying the property of defenseless and unoffending Mexicans; not warranted by laws of wars and nations." The Senate promptly ordered Fisher's reinstatement, although the acting secretary refused to yield the office.

Fisher was shot and killed in Matagorda, March 13, 1839. Albert G. Newton was charged with the murder but was acquitted on March 3, 1840. The district attorney in the trial was William L. Delap and the jurors were Benjamin I. White, foreman; H. T. Davis, John Delap, Charles Dale, Henry Williams, A. C. Horton, William C. McKinstry, H. L. Cook, G. M. Collinsworth, Charles Howard, A. L. Clements, John D. Newell and James Duncan. The grand jury was duly sworn, the Honorable William Jones delivered the charges to the jury, and they retired to the jury room attended by the sheriff, Isaac Van Dorn. The jury returned a verdict of "Not Found" and the defendant was discharged by the court.

Samuel and his wife, Ann, were both buried in the Matagorda Cemetery. A historical marker, which notes he was a signer of the Texas Declaration of Independence and the first Secretary of the Texas Navy, was placed on Samuel's grave in 1964. Fisher County was created August 21, 1876, and was named in honor of S. Rhoads Fisher, "a distinguished officer of the Republic."

Samuel Rhoads and Ann Pleasants Fisher had six children:

Samuel W. Fisher (May 29, 1819 - September 15, 1874) married Ann Elizabeth Ophelia Smith August 16, 1848. Their children were Samuel Rhoads, Fred Kenner, Coleman, Walter Pemberton, Nettie P., William Compton and Henry Mansfield.

Ann Pleasants Fisher, the second child, was born May 2, 1823, in Philadelphia, and married James Wilmer Dallum, October 1, 1845, in Matagorda. After his death she married John W. Harris, on July 1, 1852.

Israel Pleasants Fisher, died May 6, 1848. He never married.

Rebecca was born July 6, 1830, in Pennsylvania, and died September 26, 1862, of yellow fever. She married Doctor J. C. Perry, on October 3, 1850. Doctor Perry was born October 26, 1818, and died October 12, 1861. Christ Church records list three children of this couple: William Bechincornt, born December 23, 1851; Ann Fisher, born February 4, 1854; and Louisa Hankocle, born June 6, 1859.

Rhoads Fisher (March 18, 1832 - 1911) was the chief clerk of the General Land Office under William C. Walsh. He married Sophia Rollins Harris (1840 - February 5, 1889). She and Rhoads are both buried in Oakwood Cemetery, Austin, Texas. Their children were Annie F., who married Thomas L. Ormand; a daughter, who married Dayton Moses of Fort Worth; a daughter, who married Andrew Moses of Washington, D. C.; and Lewis Fisher, who married May Masterson.

Elizabeth Rhoads died as an infant in 1836.

Historic Matagorda County, Volume I, page 66
 

 

Copyright 2011 - Present by Carol Sue Gibbs
All rights reserved

Created
Sep. 10, 2011
Updated
Sep. 10, 2011
   

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