Fleeson, Isaac Neville (1815–1848)

By: William E. Bard

Type: Biography

Published: 1952

Updated: September 27, 2019

Isaac Neville Fleeson, journalist, was born in 1815 at Woodville, Mississippi, and learned the printer's trade at Pittsburg, Pennsylvania. He worked on various newspapers until April 1842, when he joined Capt. Jack R. Everett's Company B of the Mobile Greys for six months' service on the Texas frontier. Fleeson was elected second corporal of the company, and his brother W. B. was elected fourth corporal. Fleeson was discharged on October 2, 1842.

From January 1 until April 2, 1846, he was associated with the Corpus Christi Gazette, a newspaper founded by Samuel Bangs to promote the interests of the United States army in the area. When Maj. Gen. Zachary Taylor moved his troops into Mexico after the battles of Palo Alto and Resaca de la Palma, Fleeson accompanied the army to Matamoros, where, on June 1, 1846, in partnership with Hugh McLeod and William G. Dryden, he began publication of the Republic of the Rio Grande, a semiweekly bilingual newspaper that strongly advocated the separation of the states of northern Mexico from the mother country. The paper's outspoken editorial policy led to its demise, and when McLeod and then Dryden dropped out of the project, Fleeson reorganized the paper as the American Flag. John H. Peoples and later John R. Palmer, printers who had come to Mexico with a Louisiana infantry company that mustered out at Matamoros, became his partners. The Flag, one of the longest running and most important of the war papers, continued under Fleeson and Palmer until the end of the Mexican War.

Fleeson died of tuberculosis on July 26, 1848, and was buried at Fort Brown. The Flag was removed to Brownsville on October 9, 1848, and in 1849 was purchased by Edwin B. Scarborough, who ran it for ten years. In 1850 Scarborough incurred much official displeasure when he used the Flag to advocate a separate territorial government for the so-called "Nueces Strip" between the Nueces River and the Rio Grande. See also REPUBLIC OF THE RIO GRANDE.

Frederick Charles Chabot, Texas Expeditions of 1842 (San Antonio: Artes Gráficas, 1942). Joseph Milton Nance, Attack and Counterattack: The Texas-Mexican Frontier, 1842 (Austin: University of Texas Press, 1964). Marilyn M. Sibley, Lone Stars and State Gazettes: Texas Newspapers before the Civil War (College Station: Texas A&M University Press, 1983). Justin H. Smith, "La República de Río Grande," American Historical Review 25 (July 1920). Lota M. Spell, "Anglo-Saxon Press in Mexico, 1846–1848," American Historical Review 38 (October 1932).

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.

William E. Bard, “Fleeson, Isaac Neville,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed August 18, 2022, https://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/entries/fleeson-isaac-neville.

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

September 27, 2019