Fitzhugh, William F. (1818–1883)

By: Lester Newton Fitzhugh

Type: Biography

Published: 1976

Updated: August 15, 2017

William F. Fitzhugh, soldier, Texas Ranger, and farmer, the son of John and Sarah (Shelton) Fitzhugh, was born in Kentucky in 1818. As a child he moved with his parents to Missouri, and at the age of seventeen he volunteered for service in the Seminole War in Florida. After returning to Missouri he participated in the campaign to expel the Mormons from that state. In 1845 he moved to Texas with his parents and settled just south of the site of present Melissa. He married Mary Rattan and received a 640-acre headright. During the Mexican War he served in the First Regiment, Texas Mounted Volunteers, commanded by Col. John Coffee (Jack) Hays. Fitzhugh returned to Collin County after the war and divided his time between farming and serving with the Texas Rangers on the Indian frontier. In March 1862 he entered Confederate service as first colonel of the Sixteenth Texas Cavalry, a regiment that served in the Trans-Mississippi Department and participated in five battles. He was wounded by a musket ball in the right hand and arm at the battle of Cotton Plant on July 7, 1862, and evacuated from the battle field. After the war Fitzhugh resumed farming at Melissa. He served as doorkeeper for the Constitutional Convention of 1875 and as Senate doorkeeper for the Fifteenth through the Eighteenth legislatures. On October 23, 1883, he was killed when he was thrown from a wagon. He was first buried in Forest Grove Cemetery near McKinney but was subsequently reinterred in Fairview Cemetery in Denison. He was survived by seven children.

San Antonio Light, February 8, 1883. J. Lee and Lillian J. Stambaugh, A History of Collin County (Austin: Texas State Historical Association, 1958).

Time Periods:

  • Civil War

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

Lester Newton Fitzhugh, “Fitzhugh, William F.,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed January 25, 2022,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

All copyrighted materials included within the Handbook of Texas Online are in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107 related to Copyright and “Fair Use” for Non-Profit educational institutions, which permits the Texas State Historical Association (TSHA), to utilize copyrighted materials to further scholarship, education, and inform the public. The TSHA makes every effort to conform to the principles of fair use and to comply with copyright law.

For more information go to:

If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond fair use, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

August 15, 2017

This entry belongs to the following Handbook Special Projects: