Dr. Richard Matthew Fletcher (1830)

Photo from Ancestry.com (DFletcher0728)

Photo of Dr. Fletcher's home from grandson Richard Fletcher Pride (Rankin)
 Medical Doctor

Nickname:R. M.
Born:April 1, 1831, Richmond, Virginia
Died:June 17, 1906, Madison County, Alabama
Buried:Maple Hill Cemetery, Huntsville, Alabama
Brother of:Captain Algernon Sidney Fletcher (1833)
Uncle of:Charles Fletcher
Father of:Dr. Richard M. Fletcher (1869)
Son of:James Nicholas Fletcher
Father of:Octavia Fletcher Frazier
Uncle of:Shelby Sidney Fletcher


•  Son of James M. and Matilda G. (Cheatham) Fletcher, the former a native of Brunswick County, Va., who served several times in the Virginia legislature, and moved with his family to Alabama in 1833. - Owen

•  Soon after he was born, Dr. Fletcher moved with his extended family to "Nubin Ridge" located on the border of Madison and Limestone Counties. He grew to manhood there. He was educated by tutors hired by his father. - Goldsmith & Fulton

•  "He was educated at the Green Academy at Huntsville; left school in 1849 to read medicine under Dr. A. S. Harris; attended the medical course at the University of Pennsylvania, 1852-1854, and was graduated, the latter year, M. D. He returned to Alabama and practiced medicine in Madison County." - Owen

•  Received Doctor of Medicine degree in 1854 from the University of Pennsylvania. - Goldsmith & Fulton

•  Married: August 2, 1855, Rebecca Mason, daughter of William Mason of Virginia. - Owen

•  He married Rebecka Mason of Athens, Alabama on August 2, 1855. (She was born Nov. 24, 1832 and died July 31, 1910.) - Goldsmith & Fulton

•  Served on the Madison County Boards of Health, 1877-1889, 1893, 1894, 1854 & 1903. Served as Madison County Health Officer 1895-1897. "In the beginning, the Health Board was given advisory duties only, but with the 1881 legislation was empowered to act as the agent of the State Health Board with authority to administer officially the State Health Laws. The County Board and Health Officer have since continuously been charged with investigating and suppressing all nuisances to public health. It has been continuously required to exercise special supervision over inspection of schools and most public type businesses. Registration of vital statistics, such as life and death, is an important function of the Health Department." - Record, Vol. 1

•  Rich M Fletcher was the first president after the Madison County Medical Society was officially chartered in 1877. He also served as president of the Alabama State Association in 1895, page 104. - Etheridge

•  "He was a member and president for one term of the Limestone County Medical Society, a member and three times president of the Madison County Medical Society; a member, vice-president, junior and senior counselor, and grand counselor of the Alabama State Medical Society" - Owen

•  "He read a paper on puerperal convulsion before the state medical association in Mobile, 1888, which attracted much attention, and was a frequent contributor to medical journals." - Owen

•  State President, Alabama Medical Society, 1895. - Record, Vol. 1

•  "The medical profession uses the word 'consultation' when one doctor is called in by another to get another opinion about a patient's condition or situation. In Dr. Fletcher's case, the word?which he liked very, very well? applied just as aptly outside the medical field. They came to consult, not to admonish; friends, politicians, statesmen, men, women, children, blacks and whites asked for Dr. Fletcher's advice and opinions. He often advised them; occasionally he did not. It is said that many arguments were settled, many enemies became friends and that several young men decided to study medicine, law or farming after consulting with Dr. Fletcher.
     Described as having a perennial twinkle in his eye, Dr. Fletcher was cordial to everyone. His affection for his family was unsurpassed. He was beloved by black and white, young and old. They found in him kindness and fairness. Although his main interests in life were his family, friends and associates, Dr. Fletcher did enjoy a good fox hunt whenever he could find the time." - Goldsmith & Fulton

•  Member of the Methodist Episcopal church. - Owen

•  Father of:
Thomas James Fletcher 1856 - 1924
Mary Branch Fletcher 1858 - 1858
Eldred Mason Fletcher 1859 - 1915
Algernon Sydenham Fletcher 1861 - 1923
Branch Cheatham Fletcher 1863 - 1938
Leslie Fletcher 1865 - 1945
Dr. Richard Mason Fletcher 1869 - 1912
Mary Gholden Fletcher 1871 - 1956
Octavia Fletcher 1873 - 1969
- Ancestry.com

•  He had a brother named Algernon Sydeny Fletcher (born 1833 and died 1908). And he had a son named Algermon Sydenyham Fletcher (born 1861 and died 1923). His brother's nickname was A.S. and that brother had a son named Shelby Sidney Fletcher (b.1872) and his nickname was Sydney or Syd. It is not clear what Dr. Fletcher's son nickname might have been. - Ancestry.com

•  Dr. Richard M. Fletcher and Dr. Richard M. Fletcher Jr. were in the same medical practice called Fletcher & Fletcher and the home residence is listed as 342 Randolph for both of them. The Jr. Flectcher has an added note saying he was the County Health Officer. Their business office is called "The Southern Bldg." - City Directory 1896-97

•  "During the War of Secession, he gave important medical service among the sick and wounded soldiers at Richmond and Culpeper Court House, Va., and in Madison and Limestone Counties." - Owen

•  June 2, 1897: "'The Monte Sano Light Guards' was the name of the military company mustered into service and organized last week. Col. W. F. Garth, a member of Gov. Johnston's staff, mustered the boys in and administered the oaths. Dr. R. M. Fletcher was elected Captain." June 16, 1897: "There were rumors regarding a mob on the way from Decatur to lynch the Negro rapists, Thompson and Nevill. The Monte Sano Light Guards under the command of Captain Fletcher were ordered to report at the Huntsville Jail Thursday afternoon." - Pruitt

•  April 27, 1898: "The war fever ran high in Huntsville yesterday. Sixty-five young men enlisted to serve the United States in the war with Spain. A meeting was held in the courthouse at noon, and a great deal of enthusiasm was exhibited. Twenty-three volunteers were secured without trouble. Captain R. M. Fletcher presided over the meeting, and speeches were made by Captain Daniel Coleman, Judge Richardson, Jas. H. Branch and the chairman of the County Commission." - Pruitt

•  "When war was first declared, Richard and his brother, Algernon Sydney Fletcher, went together to enlist. Richard was made a captain in the medical corps and sent to Virginia. He was at the first Battle of Bull Run (Manassas), treating both Confederate and Union wounded. However, about four hundred of the citizens of this area petitioned and got him returned home to treat the sick and dying here. During the remainder of the war years, Richard was allowed to freely travel to care for people of either sympathy, including troops of both sides." - Rankin

•  From Mary Jane's Journal:
     "May 18th 1864 All quiet. Said to be fighting at Dalton. They have brought in Dr. Fletcher and Mr. Betts today from Madison Station, accused, it is said, of guiding the Rebels yesterday to the station where the cotton was burnt. I f proved on them, they say, they will hang Dr. Fletcher."
     Nancy Rohr's annotation: "Dr. Richard Matthew Fletcher, 34, enlisted in the Confederate army as a private in Company 1, 4th Alabama Infantry. He became a captain in the Quartermaster Corps but returned home on parole to serve as a doctor at the urging of his community (hundred's of people signed a petition and sent it to his commanding officer). With this arrest he was considered a spy and faced the death penalty. Dr. Fletcher was jailed for months and watched through the window the scaffold for his execution being built. He was finally released on the word of the former commanding officer at Huntsville." - Chadick and Rohr

•  When he died the funeral procession from Madison to Maple Hill Cemetery in Huntsville was more than a mile long. "They came in wagons, buggies, on horseback and on foot to pay their last respects to the doctor they had all known and loved." - Goldsmith & Fulton

•  John P. Rankin wrote five Vintage Vignettes about Dr. Richard Matthew Fletcher. Included in these is information offered by Octavia Fletcher Frazier, Dr. Fletcher's youngest daughter. These Vignettes can be reached through these links:
Dr. Richard Matthew Fletcher, A Vintage Vignette
Dr. Richard Matthew Fletcher - A, A Vintage Vignette
Dr. Richard Matthew Fletcher - B, A Vintage Vignette
Dr. Richard Matthew Fletcher - C, A Vintage Vignette
Dr. Richard Matthew Fletcher - D, A Vintage Vignette
- Editor's Notes:

Related Links:

•  Ancestry.com - Page owned by DFletcher0728 and can be viewed only with an Ancestry.com paid subscription. (Originally found at http://trees.ancestry.com/tree/28032295/person/5118683147.)

•  Chadick and Rohr - Incidents of the War: The Civil War Journal of Mary Jane Chadick, by Nancy M. Rohr, 2005, page 165.

•  City Directory 1896-97 - Huntsville City Directory 1896-97, by Huntsville Directory Company, 1896-1897, page 34.

•  Etheridge - Article titled "The Madison County Medical Society" by Dr. Wm. Etheridge in Commemorative Album, Celebrating our City's Sesquicentennial of Progress, Huntsville, Alabama, by James E. Taylor, General Chairman, 1955, page 104.

•  Find A Grave - Page owned by Donald Fox Fletcher with a nice photo of him and the grave site.

•  Goldsmith & Fulton - Medicine Bags and Bumpy Roads: A Heritage of Healing in Madison County, Town and Country, by Jewell S. Goldsmith and Helen D. Fulton, 1985, pages 135-137.

•  Maple Hill - Maple Hill Cemetery, Phase One, by Diane Robey, Dorothy Scott Johnson, John Rison Jones, Jr., & Frances C. Roberts (Huntsville-Madison County Historical Society), 1995, page 64.

•  Octavia - The Madison Recorder, March 21, 2011, printed a story by Dr. Fletcher's daughter, Octavia, told about a murder in Madison and the role the Fletcher family played in managing the mob.

•  Owen - History of Alabama and Dictionary of Alabama Biography, Volume 3?By Thomas McAdory Owen, Marie Bankhead Owen, 1921, page 588.

•  Pruitt - Eden of the South: A Chronology of Huntsville, Alabama, 1805-2005, by Raneé G. Pruitt, Editor, 2005, pages 91 & 92.

•  Rankin - Memories of Madison: A Connected Community, 1857-2007, by John Patrick Rankin, 2007, pages 66, 76, 100, 103, 104, 109, 113.

•  Rankin File - John P. Rankin has, over the years, collected information about families living in Madison County, AL. He has made these files available here at Huntsville History Collection. The files include Rankin's notes, photos, digital copies of documents, and clippings from newspapers and periodicals. He has a "Dr. Richard Matthew Fletcher" file.

•  Record, Vol. 1 - A Dream Come True: The Story of Madison County and Incidentally of Alabama and the United States, Volume I, by James Record, 1970, pages 225-231, 341.

The Following Pages Link to this Page:
•  Captain Algernon Sidney Fletcher (1833)
•  Chadick and Rohr
•  Charles Fletcher
•  City Directory 1896-97
•  Dr. Richard M. Fletcher (1869)
•  Etheridge
•  James Nicholas Fletcher
•  Maple Hill
•  Octavia Fletcher Frazier
•  Owen
•  Pruitt
•  Rankin
•  Record, Vol. 1
•  Shelby Sidney Fletcher