University of Texas, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History

A Guide to the Rebecca J. Fisher Papers, 1827, 1860-1927, 1936, 1944, 1964



Descriptive Summary

Creator: Fisher, Rebecca Jane Gilleland, 1831-1926
Title: Fisher, Rebecca J., Papers
Dates: 1827, 1860-1927, 1936, 1944, 1964
Abstract: Consisting of correspondence, manuscript speeches and memoirs, receipts, books, photographs, and memorabilia, the Rebecca J. Fisher Papers, 1827, 1860-1927, 1936, 1944, 1964, chronicle the life of Rebecca J. Fisher during her tenure as a charter member and president of the William B. Travis chapter of the Daughters of the Republic of Texas.
Accession No.: 95-11
Extent: 2 ft.
Language: Materials are written in English.
Repository: Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, The University of Texas at Austin

Biographical Note

Called the "Mother of Texas," Rebecca Jane Gilleland Fisher (1831-1926), was born in Philadelphia on August 31, 1831, the daughter of Johnson Gilleland and Mary Barbour. Fisher moved with her family to Texas around 1837. Her father fought in the Texas Revolution under Captain Thomalson. Living near Don Carlos Rancho in Refugio County, the Gilleland family was attacked by members of the Comanche tribe in 1840. The Comanche murdered her parents and captured Fisher and her brother, William. Enduring captivity, they were rescued by Albert Sidney Johnston and a unit of Texas soldiers, and eventually sent to live with their aunt, Jane Trimble, in Galveston. From 1844 to 1848, Fisher attended Rutersville College in Fayette County. Upon her graduation, she married Orceneth Fisher, a Methodist minister, with whom she had six children. In 1855, Fisher accompanied her husband to the Pacific coast, where he worked as a pastor in California and Oregon for sixteen years. In 1871, they returned to Texas and resided in Austin.

After returning to Texas, Fisher became a charter member of the Daughters of the Republic of Texas, and alongside Clara Driscoll, was instrumental in saving and preserving the Alamo. She was president of the William B. Travis chapter of the Daughters of the Republic of Texas for nearly eighteen years. A prominent proponent for political and social issues in Texas, Fisher was asked to present a speech at the unveiling of the Sam Houston monument at Huntsville and also gave the opening prayer at the convening of the Texas legislature for several years. She was the only woman elected to the Texas Veterans Association and the first woman to have her portrait hang in the Senate Chamber at the Texas Capitol. After Fisher’s death on March 21, 1926, her funeral services were held in the Senate Chamber. Fisher was interred in Oakwood Cemetery in Austin.

Source:

"Fisher, Rebecca Jane Gilleland. "Handbook of Texas Online. Accessed December 3, 2010. http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/ffi22.


Scope and Contents

Consisting of correspondence, manuscript speeches and memoirs, receipts, books, photographs, and memorabilia, the Rebecca J. Fisher Papers, 1827, 1860-1927, 1936, 1944, 1964, chronicle the life of Rebecca J. Fisher during her tenure as a charter member and president of the William B. Travis chapter of the Daughters of the Republic of Texas. The collection contains biographical material written by or about Fisher, as well as items pertaining to members of her family, such as her daughter’s certificate of membership for the Daughters of the Republic of Texas. Also included are numerous photocopies of newspaper clippings about Fisher, which relate her captivity by the Comanche tribe and her prominence as a member of the Daughters of the Republic of Texas. Other newspaper clippings concern the Daughter of the Republic Texas’s preservation of the Alamo.


Restrictions

Access Restrictions

This collection is open for research use.


Index Terms

Subjects (Persons)
Fisher, Rebecca Jane Gilleland, 1831-1926--Archives
Subjects (Organizations)
Daughters of the Republic of Texas
Subjects
Alamo (San Antonio)--Sources
Indian captivities--Texas
Texas--History--Revolution, 1835-1836--Sources
Places
Austin (Tex.)
San Antonio (Tex.)

Related Material

See also Daughters of the Republic of Texas, William Barret Travis Chapter, Records, 1892-1994

See also Orceneth A. Fisher Papers


Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Rebecca J. Fisher Papers, 1827, 1860-1927, 1936, 1944, 1964, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, The University of Texas at Austin.

Processing Information

This collection was processed by Patti Woolery-Price, April 1996.

Basic processing and cataloging of this collection was supported with funds from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC) for the Briscoe Center’s "History Revealed: Bringing Collections to Light" project, 2009-2011.


Detailed Description of the Papers

 

Inventory

box
3D132 Private life: Rebecca Jane Gilleland Fisher and Orceneth Fisher:
Narratives and newspaper clippings related to Rebecca Fisher’s childhood, 1887-1906, undated
Ordination certificate, book, and pamphlet of Orceneth Fisher, relating to the Methodist Episcopal Church, 1827, 1871, 1895
Narratives related to Orceneth Fisher and Rebecca Fisher, [1885?], 1886, 1924, undated
Biographical summaries, obituaries, and other materials related to Rebecca Fisher, 1892-1906, 1917-1927, 1964, undated
Family, friends, and associates:
Newspaper clippings, narratives, and assorted materials, 1894-1902, 1914, 1923, 1936, 1944, undated
Correspondence, 1877, 1880, 1892-1914, undated
Bible of Orceneth Fisher, son of Rebecca and Orceneth Fisher, 1875
box
3D133 Public Life: Daughters of the Republic of Texas:
Newspaper and magazine clippings, programs, and other materials relating to annual conventions, 1900-1926, undated
Newspaper and magazine clippings, programs, and other materials relating to public appearances by Rebecca Fisher, [1883-1887?], 1896-1926, undated
Two books, Texas Patriotic Papers, containing information on the Daughters of the Republic of Texas history, conventions and other topics, 1887, 1894-1915, undated
box
3D134 Newspaper clippings and other materials about the Alamo, artifact acquisition, and other topics, 1894-1914, undated
Speeches and public messages, 1894-1897, 1909-1919, undated
Official correspondence:
General, 1890-1902, 1913-1926, undated
Complimentary, 1916-1925, undated
Newspaper clippings, poems, and advertisement honoring Rebecca Fisher, 1902-1921, undated
Photocopies of scrapbook and loose materials containing newspaper clippings (poems, obituaries, wedding and anniversary announcements, history, biographies), programs, ribbons, and assorted materials related to Rebecca Fisher, Orceneth Fisher, other family members, Daughters of the Republic of Texas, Texas, and the University of Texas, 1860-1902, 1926, undated
Newspaper clippings and other materials related to Texas and United States History, 1901-1924, undated
Notes and fragments, 1908, 1920, undated
box
2.325/AA14b Oversize statement by Mrs. Anson Jones, undated Gossip, Austin, Texas, April 24, 1915