Fisher, Orceneth (1803–1880)

By: Robert Edgar Ledbetter, Jr.

Type: Biography

Published: 1952

Updated: September 26, 2019

Orceneth Fisher, Methodist minister and author, the son of Dr. David and Britannia (Chase) Fisher, was born in Chester, Vermont, on November 5, 1803. Before 1821 he moved to Indiana Territory, where he joined the Methodist Church, in which he became a pioneer minister. After admission on trial to the Missouri Conference in 1823, he was assigned to various Illinois circuits. In 1839 he visited Texas for his health and preached at Brazoria. He returned to Springfield, Illinois, where he published Sketches of Texas in 1840.

Fisher moved to Texas in 1841 and served in Washington and Brazoria. In 1844 and 1845 he was chaplain of the Congress of the Republic of Texas. He resumed the ministry in Houston in 1846, served the Houston African Mission in 1848, and edited the Texas Wesleyan Banner and later the Texas Christian Advocate (see UNITED METHODIST REPORTER). He was transferred to the East Texas Conference, where he served as pastor at Marshall and presiding elder for the Nacogdoches, Palestine, and San Augustine district. During this period he published several tracts: Baptismal Catechism (Houston, 1849), The Christian Sacraments (Nacogdoches, 1851), and History of Immersion as a Religious Rite (Rusk, 1852).

After being transferred to the Pacific Conference in 1855, Fisher was pastor in San Francisco and Stockton, California, and presiding elder of several districts. His most noteworthy western accomplishment was the opening of the work of Southern Methodism in Oregon, including the establishment of Corvallis College in 1861. He was first editor of the Pacific Methodist (1856–57) and president of the trustees of Pacific Methodist College at Vacaville, California. He published further editions of The Christian Sacraments at San Francisco (1858) and St. Louis (1870).

After serving as a delegate to the General Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, at Memphis, Tennessee, in 1870, Fisher returned to Texas and served as Sunday school agent, as presiding elder, and as minister at Austin, Chappell Hill, Bellville, Belton, Georgetown, Round Rock, and West Point.

He married Elizabeth Watts in St. Clair, Illinois, on September 25, 1825. His second wife was Rebecca J. (Gilleland) Fisher, whom he married on May 15, 1848. He died in Austin, Texas, on August 28, 1880.

Robert Edgar Ledbetter, Jr., Orceneth Fisher, Pioneer Methodist Preacher of Texas and the Pacific Coast (M.A. thesis, University of Texas, 1938). W. W. Sweet, Religion on the American Frontier, 1783–1840 (Vol. 4, University of Chicago Press, 1946).


  • Journalism
  • Religion
  • Methodist

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

Robert Edgar Ledbetter, Jr., “Fisher, Orceneth,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed November 29, 2021,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

September 26, 2019