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
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,
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
Elizabeth Rhoads died as an infant in
Historic Matagorda County,
Volume I, page 66