Leander, a city in Williamson and Travis counties of Texas, was founded in 1882 as a stop on the Austin and Northwestern Railroad, and was located near the then-existing town of Bagdad. Leander is named after Leander Brown (1817-1889), who was mayor of the city of Austin from 1867 to 1871. “Leander (or Bagdad)” was cited in the Galveston (TX) Daily News on May 30, 1882. “Mr. Leander Brown, for whom the new town is named” was cited in the Austin (TX) Weekly Statesman on June 18, 1882.
The note in the Handbook of Texas Online that Leander was named after a railroad station manager named Karl Leander is incorrect and without any historical documentation.
The name “Leander” is originally from the Greek myth of the two lovers, Hero and Leander.
Wikipedia: Leander, Texas
Leander ( /liˈændər/ lee-an-dər) is a city in Williamson and Travis counties in the U.S. state of Texas. The population was 7,596 at the 2000 census. The U.S. Census Bureau estimated the 2008 population at 25,424. The city was established in 1882 on the railroad to Austin and was named in honor of Leander “Catfish” Brown, a railroad official.
It was near Leander that the Leanderthal Lady, a skeleton dating back 10,000 to 13,000 years, was discovered; the site was one of the earliest intact burials found in the United States.
Wikipedia: Hero and Leander
Hero and Leander is the Greek myth relating the story of Hero (Ancient Greek: Ἡρώ, Hērṓ; pron. like “hero” in English), a priestess of Aphrodite who dwelt in a tower in Sestos on the European side of the Hellespont (today’s Dardanelles), and Leander (Ancient Greek: Λέανδρος, Léandros), a young man from Abydos on the opposite side of the strait. Leander fell in love with Hero and would swim every night across the Hellespont to spend time with her. Hero would light a lamp at the top of her tower to guide his way.
Succumbing to Leander’s soft words and to his argument that Aphrodite, as the goddess of love, would scorn the worship of a virgin, Hero allowed him to make love to her. Their trysts lasted through a warm summer. But one stormy winter night, the waves tossed Leander in the sea and the breezes blew out Hero’s light; Leander lost his way and drowned. When Hero saw his dead body, she threw herself over the edge of the tower to her death to be with him.
Handbook of Texas Online
LEANDER, TEXAS. Leander, on U.S. Highway 183 in southwestern Williamson County, was established in 1882 after the Austin and Northwestern Railroad bypassed Bagdad, a mile to the west. That year Bagdad merchants began moving their businesses to be near the railroad; additional moves were made when the railroad company began selling lots at the new townsite on July 17, 1882. The new community was named Leander. Williamson County histories have credited railroad official Leander Brown as the town’s namesake, but more than likely, the community was named after Karl Leander, station manager for the Austin and Northwestern Railroad. It was accepted practice at that time to name a railroad station after its station manager.
6 February 1868, Flake’s Bulletin (Galveston, TX), pg. 4, col. 3:
The editor of the National Police Gazette will be surprised to learn the gentleman whom he published, with portrait, as Leander Brown, alias Catfish Brown, the Texas Murderer, is now holding no less than three responsible offices in the county of Travis and city of Austin, viz: County Treasurer, Mayor of Austin, and Chief of the Board of Registrars—showing the high estimation in which he is held by the present authorities of Texas.—State Gazette.
The Portal to Texas History
30 May 1882, Galveston (TX) Daily News, “Railroad News,” pg. 2, col. 5:
The stations between Austin and Burnet, with their distances from the former point, are as follows: Hancock, 7 miles; Watters, 13 miles; Cummings, 20 miles; Brueggerhoff, 20 miles; Leander (or Bagdad), 32 miles; Liberty Hill, 29 miles; Bertram 50 miles. Entire distance 60 miles. Through fare $1.80.
11 June 1882, Austin (TX) Daily Statesman, “Matters Briefly Noted,” pg. 4, col. 3:
The plot of Leander, the new town on the Austin and Northwestern railroad, just issued from the STATESMAN office, is pronounced by the critics to be one of the finest places of rule work ever done in Austin.
14 June 1882, San Antonio (TX) Evening Light, pg. 4, col. 2:
We have been called on by Capt. Hosack, who has presented us with a map of Leander, on the Austin and Northwestern railroad, where a sale of town lots will be made on next Saturday, the 17th. The Captain will make said sale, and invites his friends to meet him there, for these lots will pay to buy.
17 June 1882, Austin (TX) Daily Statesman, pg. 4, col. 3:
The Excursion To-day on the Austin and Northwestern.
To-day an excursion takes place up the Austin and Northwestern railroad in the new town of Leander. This excursion is occasioned by the proposed sale of lots in the new town, and no doubt there will be many prospectors and men of means on the trip. Leander is situated in Williamson county, one of the best farming and stockraising sections in Texas.
18 June 1882, Austin (TX) Daily Statesman, pg. 4, col. 7:
The Excursion Over the Austin and Northwestern Yesterday.
At 9 o’clock in the morning the excursion train on the Austin and Northwestern railroad left their depot for the new town of Leander, on said road, near Bagdad, in Williamson county, where a barbecue was to be given by the citizens of that neighborhood, and the sale of lots in the town of Leander was to be made. (...) Several of our Austin people invested. Among others was Mr. Leander Brown, for whom the new town is named. Mr. Brown bought four lots, all of the lots sold were business lots of the place.
12 July 1883, Dallas (TX) Weekly Herald, pg. 1, col. 3:
The Austin & Northwestern railroad company elected directors to-day as follows: J. T. Brackenridge, A. P. Waldridge, Ed. Christian, Leander Brown, A. L. Rhomberg, W. H. Westfall, J. H. Rhomberg, F. T. Walker, N. G. Waters and the old officers.
9 May 1889, Austin (TX) Weekly Statesman, pg. 6, col. 4:
EX-MAYOR LEANDER BROWN
Passes Peacefully Away.—Death of an Old Citizen of Austin.
Ex-Mayor Leander Brown, an old and highly respected citizen of this city, died yesterday afternoon about 5 o’clock at his residence in this city after an illness of some two weeks. He was a native of South Carolina, and was 72 years old at the time of his death, having been born April 9, 1817. He came to Texas about forty years ago, and has been living in this city for a number of years. He was mayor of Austin from 1867 to 1871, and was for many years prominent in municipal affairs. He was an extensive land owner, and at one time quite wealthy. He leaves a family of grown children. The funeral will occur at 4:30 this evening from the Cumberland Presbyterian church.
Texas (Lone Star State Dictionary) • Leander (city name etymology) • Wednesday, December 28, 2011 • Permalink