Sunday, July 18, 2010

Texian Navy Day Ceremony in Matagorda - September 18, 2010

On Saturday, September 18, 2010, at 11:00 a.m., The Sons of the Republic of Texas will sponsor a ceremony at Matagorda Cemetery, honoring Secretary of the Navy Samuel Rhoads Fisher and the entire Republic of Texas Navy. After witnessing the capture of the Texas flagship Independence during a running battle with the Mexican ships Vencedor del Alamo and Libertado near the mouth of the Brazos River on April 17, 1837, Secretary Fisher planned the storied Yucatan Expedition, where the Texas Navy raised the Lone Star Flag of the Republic of Texas on Mexican soil.

The local citizens in Matagorda are excited about the event that will honor the Republic of Texas Navy and one of their early citizens, Samuel Rhoads Fisher. Several descendants of Secretary Fisher will be present to participate in the ceremony. Representatives from the Daughters of the Republic of Texas and the Texas Navy Association will participate.

With the approach of the 175th anniversary of Texas Independence from Mexico, it is appropriate to remember the events that led to the Texas Revolution. Much of the colonists' discontent with the centralist Mexican government involved maritime issues, including unreasonable tariffs on shipped goods. In September 1835, the first naval engagement occurred near Velasco, between the Texian privateer ship, the San Felipe, and the Mexican revenue cutter, the Correo Mejicano, the Correo Mejicano was forced to surrender unconditionally.

Less than one month later, the first land engagement between Texian colonists and Mexican forces occurred at Gonzales on October 2, 1835. The fall of 1835 in Texas was as volatile as the pre-revolution American sentiment in the British colonies only 60 years earlier.

Bringing lawn chairs, hats and umbrellas for rain or sun will be good planning. If storming or lightning, the ceremony will be held in the Stanley-Fisher House Bed & Breakfast, the historic home of Samuel Rhoads Fisher - 107 St. Mary Street, Matagorda, Texas 77457. Overnight accommodations in Matagorda are limited or already booked, but there should be ample room in nearby Bay City, 15 miles from Matagorda.

After the ceremony, the Texas Navy Association is sponsoring a BBQ lunch at Christ Episcopal Church Fellowship Hall located at 206 Cypress Street in Matagorda. The cost of the meal is $7 per person, and lunch reservations are requested for planning purposes. Tickets for lunch will be pre-sold in Matagorda County. For attendees outside of the Matagorda area, lunch reservations must be made by contacting Admiral William C. Fisher, IV by email at: .

After lunch, Rik and Peggy Stanley, owners of the Stanley-Fisher House Bed & Breakfast, have graciously opened their historic home to everyone attending the Texian Navy Day ceremony. This home was built in 1832 in Matagorda by Samuel Rhoads Fisher.

For people staying in the area Saturday night, Christ Episcopal Church has planned a colonial Texas church service at 9:00 a.m. on Sunday. Christ Church is the oldest Episcopal Church in Texas, established in 1838; Samuel Rhoads Fisher was one of its early members.

Texian Navy Day is observed on the third Saturday of September. The Honorable Todd Staples, currently the Agricultural Commissioner of Texas and SRT honorary member, authored the legislation designating Texian Navy Day as an official state recognition day. Enacted by the 79th Texas Legislature in 2005, Texian Navy Day is honored each year on the third Saturday in September. Commissioner Staples drafted the legislation as a Texas State Senator, which office he served at the time.

For additional information, contact SRT Texas Navy Committee Chairman David Hanover at (903) 509-2206 or by email at:

Our special thanks to D. A. Sharpe for providing this press release to the Texas History Page. D. A. Sharpe is a member of the Sons of the Republic of Texas and the Texian Navy Day Committee. He is a member of the Ephraim M. Daggett Chapter of the SRT in Fort Worth and is the Web Master for that chapter. D. A. Sharpe is an Admiral in the Texas Navy and Executive Officer for the Admiral Chester W. Nimitz Squadron of the Texas Navy Association.

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