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Fisher, Samuel Rhoads (1794–1839)

L. W. Kemp Biography Entry

Samuel Rhoads Fisher, secretary of the Texas Navy during the republic era, was born in Pennsylvania on December 31, 1794. Before 1819 he married Ann Pleasants; they had four children. Fisher came to Texas in 1830 and settled at Matagorda. He represented Matagorda Municipality in the Convention of 1836 at Washington-on-the-Brazos and there signed the Texas Declaration of Independence. Fisher's nomination by President Sam Houston as secretary of the Texas Navy was confirmed by the Senate on October 28, 1836. Houston later accused Fisher of abuse of office, insubordination, use of his position for smuggling, and the unjust capture of the English brig Eliza Russell. A lengthy and bitter trial before the Senate ensued. On November 28, 1837, by a vote of six to five, the Senate voted to remove Fisher as Secretary of the Navy on “the grounds of harmony and expediency,” though they did not find that Houston presented enough evidence for a finding of dishonorable conduct . Fisher died on March 14, 1839, and was buried at Matagorda. Fisher County, established in 1876, was named for him.

Linda Ericson Devereaux, The Texas Navy (Nacogdoches, Texas, 1983). Jim Dan Hill, The Texas Navy (New York: Barnes, 1962). John Powers, The First Texas Navy (Austin: Woodmont Books, 2006). Louis Wiltz Kemp, The Signers of the Texas Declaration of Independence (Salado, Texas: Anson Jones, 1944; rpt. 1959).

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

L. W. Kemp, “Fisher, Samuel Rhoads,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed October 22, 2020, https://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/entries/fisher-samuel-rhoads.

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

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