In 1876 King Fisher married Sarah Vivian and eventually had four daughters. Having a family apparently had a calming effect on the man as he began to settle down and his unfavorable accounts seem to have stopped. (Except when he shot himself in the leg in 1879, accidently.) By 1881 he had been cleared of all charges and accepted the position of Deputy Sheriff of Uvalde County, Texas. He was appointed interim Sheriff (the previous Sheriff was being indicted) until he ran for the position in 1884.
One interesting side story is the apprehension of Jim Hannehan. Two brothers, Jim and Tom Hannehan were accused of robbing a stagecoach. Sheriff Fisher trailed the men to their ranch near Leaky, Texas and when he encountered them they resisted. Tom was shot and killed but Jim surrendered and returned the loot. Following King’s death, the Hannehan’s mother was known to come to King’s grave each year on the anniversary of Tom’s death to build a fire and dance on King’s grave. Nice.
Overall, John King Fisher was regarded as a popular and extremely effective lawman. Unfortunately his choice of companionship was to be his undoing. While attending the Vaudeville Variety Theater (Austin, Texas) on March 11, 1884 with noted gunslinger Ben Thompson they were ambushed while watching the show. Apparently this was the wrong opera house to attend with Mr. Thompson as he had shot and killed the owner of the establishment just two weeks prior. Sitting in the box with Thomson and Fisher were Joe Foster and Billy Simms, former partners of the deceased Jack Harris. Fisher attempted to leave "before trouble started” but the two men were shot down.
Accounts of the day say that Foster and Simms were assisted by three men lurking in the shadows. These men aimed rifles and shotguns into the box and Fisher was struck thirteen times in the head and chest. As is the norm for the period, there are conflicting accounts of the events that evening. There was a public out cry for a grand jury indictment of those involved. No action was ever taken. The San Antonio Police and the prosecutor showed little interest in the case and it was ruled a case of “self-defense”.
John King Fisher was buried on his ranch on the Pendencia Creek, he was thirty years old. In the 1930s, his body was moved from its original burial site and buried in the Pioneer Park Cemetery in Uvalde, Texas.
About The Author:
Charles Bennett was born in our Nation's Capital and grew up in the Maryland suburbs. Mr. Bennett has been working in all aspects of the publishing industry since the late 1980s primarily in the fields of commercial photography and magazine production. Moving to California in 1992 to attend college resulted in B.F.A and Masters degrees. California also supplied Mr. Bennett with his wife. The two of them are avid sports persons and participate in shooting, scuba diving, surfing, running and bicycling. As a long time hobby Mr. Bennett has studied the legends of American law enforcement which led to his writing these columns.