Williamson County
Historical Commission

 

 
Judge Greenleaf Fisk
Historical Marker
Georgetown, Texas


Greenleaf Fisk
First Chief Justice 1848

 

The marker is located on the Courthouse lawn
700 block of S. Austin Ave

GPS Coordinates
North 30o 41' 00.3" - West 97o 38' 17.7"

UTM 14 R - east 0630409 - north 3394092



Marker Text

Born in Albany, New York, Greenleaf Fisk was the son of a Presbyterian minister. He began preparation for the ministry himself but left his studies to migrate to the Texas frontier. In 1834 he settled in Bastrop. There he joined a company of volunteers and fought at the Battle of San Jacinto, April 21, 1836. Later he was elected to the Republic of Texas Senate. In the 1840s Fisk moved his family to a log house on the South San Gabriel River near present Leander. When Williamson County was organized in 1848, Fisk was the first "chief justice," as the office of county judge was then called, a position he had held in Bastrop County. It is said that he often walked the 11 or 12 miles from his home to the courthouse in Georgetown. Fisk was also a surveyor, and many land records in Williamson County bear his name. In 1860 Fisk moved to Brown County, where he again served as county judge and held other county offices. He donated 60 acres for the town site of Brownwood and additional acreage for county use. His grave is in Brownwood's Greenleaf Cemetery. Fisk was married first to Mary Manlove, who is buried near Leander. After her death, he married Mary Hawkins. He had 15 children.




 

Greenleaf Fisk - Judge

 Historical Narrative
 
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. 


 
Judge 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.

 

Mr. Fisk 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, Hamilton, Texas.

Greenleaf Fisk
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 Counties.

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 land grants.
 
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 water."
 
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 Payne College.)
 
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 citizen.
 
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: -
 

 
 
BIBLIOGRAPHY
 
BIOGRAPHIES:
Biography of Judge Greenleaf Fisk, 1807 - 1888, by his great
granddaughter, Margaret F. White, an unpublished manuscript,
1939.
 
BOOKS:
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 Fisk
with Margaret F. White, great granddaughter of Judge Fisk,
T. J. Cashion, grandson of Judge Fisk with Margaret F. White.
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
Greenleaf Fisk
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:
 
SACRED
20 THE
MEMORY
OF
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 - Vol.15
Acres 4,428.4
Myreta Matthews

 

NOTE: Correction by Denise Beadel of Midlothian, TX

Greenleaf Fisk's third wife was Mary Hawkins, who was my great-great grandmother.

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.

 



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