Since its original printing in 1952, the publication of the Handbook of Texas has been made possible through the support of its users. As an independent nonprofit, TSHA relies on your contributions to close the funding gap for the online Handbook and keep it a freely accessible resource for users worldwide. Please make a donation today to preserve the most comprehensive encyclopedic resource on Texas history. Donate Today »


Robert Edgar Ledbetter, Jr.

FISHER, ORCENETH (1803–1880). 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) Fisherqv, 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).

Image Use Disclaimer

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.


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

Handbook of Texas Online, Robert Edgar Ledbetter, Jr., "FISHER, ORCENETH," accessed June 19, 2019,

Uploaded on June 12, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

Get this week's most popular Handbook of Texas articles delivered straight to your inbox