Fields, William (ca. 1810–1858)

By: Robert Wooster

Type: Biography

Published: 1952

Updated: September 26, 2019

William Fields, author and legislator, was born in North Carolina about 1810. He moved to Tennessee and published the first edition of Fields' Scrap Book, a collection of literary efforts, anecdotes, and sketches, before moving to the Lone Star State in 1837. After living briefly in Liberty County he moved to Galveston County but returned to Liberty in 1842. He was elected to represent Polk and Liberty counties in the first of four consecutive terms in the state legislature in 1847. While in the Texas House, Fields opposed the legislature's hurried call for delegates to the Nashville Convention of 1850. He also opposed any measure asserting the state's supposed claim to Santa Fe that might lead to war with the United States. For most of the period he engaged in a heated newspaper quarrel with his bitter rival Thomas Jefferson Chambers. In 1855 the American (Know-Nothing) party chose Fields as its candidate for land commissioner. Claiming that he had been and would remain a Democrat, Fields mounted an unsuccessful campaign for the position in the Democratic primary. Despite the defeat, he was named state engineer in 1856.

Fields revised his Scrap Book in 1851; new editions appeared in 1854, 1856, 1860, 1872, 1884, and 1890. He accumulated little property in Liberty County; the 1854 county tax rolls assessed his estate (including one slave, four horses, thirty cattle, and a watch) at less than $1,200. Fields was married to a native of Tennessee and had at least five children. He died at Hempstead on September 9, 1858, and was interred at Galveston.

Randolph B. Campbell, "Texas and the Nashville Convention of 1850," Southwestern Historical Quarterly 76 (July 1972).

  • Writers, Authors, Publications, and Literature
  • Literature
  • Scholars, Editors, and Critics
  • Second Legislature (1847-1848)
  • Third Legislature (1849-1850)
  • Fourth Legislature (1851-1853)
  • Fifth Legislature (1853-1854)
  • House

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.

Robert Wooster, “Fields, William,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed May 17, 2022,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

September 26, 2019