Fleming Oak

Historical Period: 20th Century (1900 & Later)
Historical Topic: County Courthouses, Saved From the Axe
Species: Texas Live Oak (Quercus fusiformis)
County: Comanche
Public Access: Yes

Martin V. Fleming and his father arrived in Texas from Georgia in 1854. They spent their first night under the live oak that later became known as the Fleming Oak. When the county seat was established at Comanche, this same oak was on the southwest corner of the site chosen for the courthouse.

About 1911, Comanche’s city fathers decided to pave the courthouse square. As the workmen were busily clearing trees from the area, “Uncle Mart” Fleming, as he was then affectionately known, stopped the workmen as they approached “his tree” and politely told them he had been tying his horse to that tree for years and he was used to seeing it there. In the exchange of words that followed, Uncle Mart threatened to use his “No. 10’s” on them if they even touched the oak with an axe. Thinking he meant a 10-gauge shotgun, the workers backed down, and the tree was spared. Uncle Mart later confided that he had meant his size 10 boots.

In 1919 Uncle Mart again came to the defense of his tree when some “uninformed” citizens talked about removing the old oak. They didn’t. Then in his 80’s, he is quoted as saying, “They since have paid due respect to the old live oak.”

The old oak’s benefactor has been gone for a third of a century, but his love for “his tree” lives on in the hearts of Comanche citizens, who proudly point to this living memorial of their pioneer heritage.

The Fleming Oak is located at the southwest corner of the courthouse square, in Comanche.