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By Bartee Haile

Returning to work on Sep. 5, 1837, Samuel Rhoads Fisher, secretary of the Texas Navy, was stunned to discover that President Sam Houston had changed the locks on him.

When the Independence appeared off the port of Velasco in the spring of 1837, the whole town went down to the docks. No one wanted to miss the triumphant return of William H. Wharton, who singlehandedly had talked the United States into recognizing the new nation of Texas.

Among the host of dignitaries on hand to greet the diplomat was naval secretary Fisher. But instead of embracing his old friend, he watched helplessly as Wharton and the Lone Star sailors were taken prisoner by the Mexican navy.


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