Greenleaf Fisk -
Written in 1939 by L. W.
Kemp of Houston, Texas
Born in New York, May 19, 1807. He
came to Texas in 1834 as is shown in the headright
certificate issued to him January 2, 1838 by the Board
of Land Commissioners for Bastrop County. He was a
member of Captain Jesse Billingsley'S Company and was
issued Donation Certificate No. 119 for 640 acres of
Land, May 21, 1838 for having been detailed to guard the
baggage at the camp opposite Harrisburg.
Fisk was a member of the House of Representatives of the
Third Congress of the Republic. In 1841 he was Chief
Justice in Bastrop County. He was the first Chief
Justice of Williamson County. He was a member of the
Texas Veterans Association.
moved to Brown County in his later years. He died
January 26, 1887 and is buried in a marked grave in
Greenleaf Cemetery in Brownwood. Mr. Fisk was married
three times. His first wife Mary Manlove, born in 1818
and died in 1858. She is buried in the Fisk family
Cemetery at Leander, Texas. The name of Mr. Fisk's
second wife is not known to the compiler. The name of
Mr. Fisk's third wife 1.4/9S Mattie Stevens who at her
death was buried in the Greenleaf Cemetery at Brownwood.
Fifteen of the sixteen children of Greenleaf Fisk were:
Emma; Mattie; Naomia; Pheobe; Hosea; Greenleaf; Cicero;
Milton; Joe, who married Roxia Johnson; James B., who
married Euphemia Carothers; William; who married Mollie
Wheeler; Elizabeth, who married T. J. Cashion; Mollie,
who married Dallas Woods; Margaret, who was never
married and Fannie, who was never married.
Among the surviving descendants of Greenleaf Fisk are:
T. J. Cashion, Leander; Greenleaf Fish Cashion, San
Antonio; Greenleaf Fisk, Editor of the Abilene Times,
Abilene, Texas; Will Fisk, Leander; Earl Fisk, Leander;
Miss Margaret Faubion, Abilene; W. A. Cashion, Bangs;
Joe Fisk, Jr., Liberty Hill; Mrs. Anne McKinley,
1807 - 1888
The life story of Greenleaf Fisk reads like fiction and
if it were not for factual evidence of his contribution
to Texas History, one could easily say "This made up
story for friends and descendants." Greenleaf Fisk was
born in Albany, New York May 19, 1807. He was the son of
a Presbyterian Minister and at the age of twenty he
became a member of the Presbyterian Church with the
intention of becoming a Minister. History tells us that
after a liberal education in the Public Schools of New
York he went to Lane's Theological Seminary in
Cincinnati, Ohio to prepare himself for the ministry.
After one year there he went to Hanover College in
Hanover, Indiana for further training. We would like to
note here that this pioneer spirit "to move a little
farther west" to new territory was a dominating spirit
throughout his life. History also shows that he was not
just a roving pioneer but he always stopped long enough
to organize, to build, help get things started and then
move on to work out new establishments in raw country.
While at Hanover College, in Indiana, the lure of the
Southwest caused him and a companion to leave College.
He and a companion, perhaps a younger brother, built a
raft and set sail down the Ohio River, into the
Mississippi River and to Texas.
Texas was a part of Mexico at that time and having
plenty of trouble with the Mexican Government. History
tells that settlers who had moved to Texas from the
United States were sending messages to their friends and
relatives back home urging others to come. They were
using stories of wealth, of free land and its
possibilities, as well as their need for more settlers
as an inducement to attract more to come. Perhaps this
inspired the pioneer spirits to build the raft and move
on to adventure and wealth.
He arrived in Mina (now Bastrop) in 1834, age 27, well
educated and single. He soon wed Miss Mary Manlove,
young daughter of Bastrop's Mayor. He was also appointed
Chief Justice of Bastrop County by the Hidalgo
Government. Because there was talk of a revolution for
Texas to gain independence from Mexico one of the first
things Greenleaf Fisk did as a Texan was to join Captain
Jesse Billingsley's Company of Volunteers. He was
appointed guard and manager of his company’s baggage and
supplies at Harrisburg on Buffalo Bayou, which was
located near what, became the San Jacinto Battlefield.
His Company joined General Sam Houston's Army and
participated in the Battle of San Jacinto, giving Texas
freedom from Mexico April 21, 1836.
Shortly after the Battle of San Jacinto, Greenleaf
Fisk's young wife was in that group of Texans, chiefly
women and children, who made up the "Run Away Scrape"
traveling as fast as they could to get out of the reach
of the Mexican Army. News traveled slowly in those days
and the Manlove family and Greenleaf Fisk's wife kept
going east until they crossed the Sabine River into
Louisiana. It was more than a year after the victorious
day at San Jacinto before he found his wife and saw for
the first time his nearly one year old son who had been
born during the hurried move out of the state to safety.
The reunited couple went back to Bastrop and for a time
made their home there. Upon the organization of the
Republic of Texas young Fisk was elected a member of the
Senate and records state that he served his County
faithfully and well.
Later the family moved to Williamson County,
establishing their home on the South San Gabriel River.
This became a more or less permanent home base, but the
pioneer spirit continued throughout his life in
worthwhile activities. Greenleaf Fisk was made the first
Chief Justice of Williamson County upon the County
organization in 1848.
To Greenleaf Fisk's first marriage were born the
following children: -
1. William Augustus Fisk - April 20, 1836
2. James Bartholomew Fisk - August 16, 1838
3. Ann Elizabeth Fisk - December 1, 1840
4. Josiah Fisk - December 20, 1842
5. Margaret Jane Fisk - October 16, 1846
6. Sarah Ann Fisk - December 25, 1848
7. Mary Elmira Fisk - April 11, 1851
"A History of Brown County" written by Dr. Thomas Robert
Havins, Professor of History and Government at Howard
Payne College in Brownwood, gives a great deal about the
activities of Greenleaf Fisk. His interests and work
seemed to center chiefly in Williamson, Travis and Brown
A document on file in Austin records that a grant of 640
acres were given young Fisk by the Republic of Texas for
his services in gathering and guarding supplies for
Captain Billingsley's Company at Harrisburg and in the
war for Texas Independence. The document does not give
the location of the grant. It could have been in any one
of three or four counties. He was a surveyor of wide
experience both for the Republic of Texas and for the
State of Texas. Much of this service was paid for in
Records show that in 1839 the Texas Congress named a
Capital Commission to choose a site for a permanent
Capital of Texas. At this time young surveyor Fisk
offered to give back to the State his 640 acre tract of
land in Travis County and the little community of
Fiskville, a few miles north of the Colorado River, if
the Commission wished to use the land as the Capital
site. The Commission considered his offer but declined
because it was "too far from the River's supply of
Greenleaf Fisk was married three times. After the death
of Mary Manlove Fisk he married a second time, probably
Mary Hawkins. His third wife Mattie Stevens was the
mother of eight children: -
1. Greenleaf Fisk - February 14, 1858
2. Cecero Fisk - February 3, 1861
3. Emma Fisk - February 3, 1861
4. Hosea Fisk - March 18, 1863
5. Marget Fisk - May 11, 1865
6. Mattie Fisk - July 24, 1867
7. Phoebe Fisk - October 9, 1868
8. Milton Fisk - February 25, 1874
Fisk's surveying trips to Brown County began in 1838 and
he made many subsequent trips back there because the
state was dividing Lampasas County into Lampasas,
Hamilton, Cherokee and Brown Counties and he was serving
as surveyor of the lands. He was also given grants in
San Saba County for services as a surveyor. On these
trips he had some very exciting experiences with the
Comanche and Apache Indians. On one trip he was captured
by the Indians but later released. His daughter, Ann
Elizabeth Fisk Cashion, told that he frequently "bought"
himself out of such trouble with a bag of salt.
He moved to Brownwood as a permanent home in 1860. At
that time there was some indecision as to where
Brownwood, the County seat was to be permanently
located. His land grant on Pecan Bayou offered the best
water supply. He gave 60 acres for the Brownwood town
site, another 100 acres for County purposes and a part
of his grant to establish the Presbyterian Daniel Baker
College. (The Douglas McArthur Academy of Freedom, in
Brownwood, is located in the old Administration Building
of Daniel Baker College which is now owned by Howard
The Courthouse and the Masonic School and meeting Hall
were moved to the Fisk side of Pecan Bayou. He set up
classes in the school and started teaching. Thus
settlers were encouraged to move in for the advantages
of schools and County government. This practice of
emergency teaching during initial periods of community
growth seemed been to have been one of his favorite
contributions in more than one new place.
A number of monuments over the state have been
designated to his memory. He was a patriot of San
Jacinto and served as a Senator both during the days of
the Republic and later during statehood. He was Chief
Justice of at least three Counties, District Clerk,
County Clerk, County Treasurer, Justice of Peace and
held several different volunteer teaching positions.
Five months prior to his death, at the age of eighty
one, he was confined to his bed. Funeral services were
held in the Old Presbyterian Church. By proclamation of
the Mayor of Brownwood, all business was suspended and
the entire city did honor to his memory for his great
service in his various home communities, to his state
and to his country. He was laid to rest in Greenleaf
Cemetery, named in his honor because he gave the city's
town site. Greenleaf Street and Fisk Avenue were named
in his honor by the City Council.
He was an ardent citizen of his community and his life
story reads like fiction, combining all the
characteristics of scholar, patriot, statesman,
educator, frontiersman, town builder and family man in
an almost unbelievably generous manner.
We his descendants and recipients of a noble heritage
can not justly and honorably bask in his glory unless we
carry forward at least one of his many talents of worthy
On April 2e, 1858 Greenleaf Fisk signed a document
stating that his wife Mary A. Fisk was deceased and she
left six children.
During his marriage -- he had acquired this property: -
Biography of Judge Greenleaf Fisk, 1807 - 1888, by his
granddaughter, Margaret F. White, an unpublished
Something About Brown, a history of Brown County,
Professor T. R. Havins, Howard Payne College, 1958.
Land of Good Water, A Williamson County, Texas, History,
by Clara Stearns Scarbrough, 1973.
NEWSPAPERS AND PUBLIC RECORDS:
Brownwood Bulletin, Brownwood, Texas, Special edition of
October 15, 1935. A copy dedicated to the pioneers of
Brown County. The assignments were given to staff
members, but the names of writers and their "assigned
pioneer family" were not available.
School Record, Brown County, 1877 - 1884.
CONVERSATIONS AND INTERVIEWS WITH MARGARET F. WHITE:
Ann Elizabeth Fisk Cashion, daughter of Judge Greenleaf
with Margaret F. White, great granddaughter of Judge
T. J. Cashion, grandson of Judge Fisk with Margaret F.
Leonora Fisk Faubion, granddaughter of Judge Fisk and
mother of Margaret F. White.
Martha Rachel Euphema Fisk, daughter-in-law of Judge
Fisk and grandmother of Margaret F. White.
All of these conversations were with these relatives of
Judge Fisk with Margaret F. White from her childhood
until the deaths of the older relatives.
ADDITIONAL MATERIAL FURNISHED BY:
Greenleaf Cemetery, City of Brownwood Miss Myreta
Matthews, Liberty Hill
Some Williamson County statistics
His first wife is buried in the family cemetery on
the old place where he settled in the 1840s: not far
from the banks of the South San Gabriel River, a few
miles north of the present town of Leander. There are
fourteen graves in the fenced in plot near where the log
house once stood. The only engraved stone reads:
MARY A. FISK
BORN IN THE YEAR A.D. 1818
DIED A.D. 1848
The second son of Greenleaf and Mary A. Fisk and his
wife are buried in the Liberty Hill Cemetery.
James B. Fisk 1838 - 1882
Euphemia Carothers Fisk 1843 - 1931
The third child, a daughter of Greenleaf and Mary A.
Fisk and her husband are buried in the Bagdad Cemetery.
Elizabeth Cashion (Faubion)12- 1-1840-- 7- 5-1926
Thomas Cashion 2-24-1835-- 3- 5-1903
Information from the Longhorn Title Company, Georgetown,
tells of his holdings:
Greenleaf Fisk, Abstract No. 5, 11,7,1835 Patent No. 899
NOTE: Correction by Denise
Beadel of Midlothian, TX
Greenleaf Fisk's third wife was Mary Hawkins, who was my
Texas State Historical Association at tshaonline.org. It
includes the following statement: Greenleaf Fisk married
Mary Piper Hawkins, whose children from a previous
marriage were adopted into a family that eventually
totaled fifteen children.