While our physical offices are closed until further notice in accordance with Austin's COVID-19 "stay home-work safe" order, the Handbook of Texas will remain available at no-cost for you, your fellow history enthusiasts, and all Texas students currently mandated to study from home. If you have the capacity to help us maintain our online Texas history resources during these uncertain times, please consider making a 100% tax-deductible contribution today. Thank you for your support of TSHA and Texas history. Donate Today »


Art Leatherwood

FISHER, OVIE CLARK (1903–1994). Ovie Clark Fisher, attorney, congressman, and author, was born in Kimble, twelve miles east of Junction, Texas, on November 22, 1903, to Jobe Bazilee and Rhoda Catherine (Clark) Fisher. He grew up in Junction, graduating from Junction High School in 1921. O. C. Fisher married Marian E. DeWalsh on September 11, 1927. They had one daughter, Rhoda.

He attended the University of Colorado and the University of Texas. He took his LL.B. from Baylor in 1929, and was admitted to the Texas Bar that year. He practiced law in San Angelo from 1929 to 1931 then served as county attorney in Tom Green County for two terms from 1931 to 1935. He was a member of the Texas legislature in the House of Representatives from 1935 to 1937. He was district attorney for the 119th District from 1937 until he was elected as a member of the United States House of Representatives from the Twenty-first Congressional District in 1942. He served in Congress until his retirement in 1974.

At the time of his retirement Representative Fisher was the second ranking member of the House Armed Services Committee and the ninth ranking member of the House. Throughout his life he was a conservative Democrat who favored states' rights, conservation and water control, a large and powerful defense establishment, and was dedicated to national fiscal responsibility. He actively opposed big government, big spending, the New Deal, Fair Deal, New Frontier, and the Great Society. He sponsored the Three Rivers dam at San Angelo, the Brady Creek Dam and Brady Reservoir at Brady, and the Amistad Dam on the Rio Grande at Del Rio.

The old San Angelo Dam and San Angelo Lake (now the O. C. Fisher Reservoir and Dam) in Tom Green County and the federal building in San Angelo have been named in his honor. His papers are deposited in the O. C. Fisher wing of the Kimble Library in Junction and at Baylor University. Over his many years in Congress, O. C. Fisher published a long running series of newsletters (Our Washington Newsletter) to the people of his district. He was a prolific author and published many books relating to his Texas heritage and his experiences during thirty-two years in Congress. They include: New Deal to Watergate (1980), Cactus Jack (John Garner) (1978), It Occurred in Kimble County (1937), The Speaker of Nubbin Ridge: The Story of the Modern Angora Goat (1985), King Fisher: His Life and Times (1964), The Texas Heritage of the Fishers and the Clarks (1963), Political Miscellany (1980), and Great Western Indian Fights (with others) (1960).

After retirement from Congress he resided in San Angelo where he died December 9, 1994. He is buried in the Junction Cemetery alongside his wife Marian.

Austin American–Statesman, December 10, 1994. Ovie Clark Fisher, The Texas Heritage of the Fishers and the Clarks (Salado, Texas: Anson Jones Press, 1963). Jack Pope, ed., John Berry and his Children (Georgetown, Texas: John Berry Association 1988). Vertical Files, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin.

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: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml

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, Art Leatherwood, "FISHER, OVIE CLARK," accessed August 08, 2020, http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/ffi57.

Uploaded on June 12, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
visit the mytsha forums to participate

View these posts and more when you register your free MyTSHA account.

Call for Papers: Texas Center for Working-Class Studies Events, Symposia, and Workshops
Hi all! You may be interested in this call for papers I received from the Texas Center for Working-Class Studies at Collin College...

Katy Jennings' Ride Scholarly Research Request
I'm doing research on Catherine Jennings Lockwood, specifically the incident known as "Katy Jennings' Ride." Her father was Gordon C. Jennings, the oldest man to die at the Alamo...

Texas Constitution of 1836 Co-Author- Elisha Pease? Ask a Historian
The TSHA profile of Elisha Marshall Pease states that he wrote part of the Texas Constitution although he was only a 24 year-old assistant secretary (not elected). I cannot find any other mention of this authorship work by Pease in other credible research about the credited Constution authors...