Percy, Peter, Susan, and Jimmie Faison
The N.W. Faison House, believed to have been built in the 1840s, was the home of Nathaniel Faison, a member of the Dawson expedition against Mexico, from 1866 to 1870. Before his death, Faison deeded the home to his African-American housekeeper, Louisiana Brown. Brown sold the home to Nathaniel’s brother Peter in 1872 and members of Peter’s family resided there until 1961. A former slave of Peter’s, Payton Faison, moved to Fayette County from Tennessee and his descendents still reside in La Grange.
The home was purchased and restored in 1961 by the La Grange Garden Club, the current owner. In 2007, the Faison Preservation Society was formed to maintain the home and preserve it for future generations.
The home appears to have been built in three separate sections from approximately 1840 to 1880. As a result, the home is a rare example of the development of residential construction in the history of the state. The back sections typify the modest homes of Texas pioneers while the front section is in the more ornate style of the early Victorian period, when homes were a reflection of wealth and status.
S.S. Munger, an early La Grange settler and city councilman, built the rear south section of the home in 1855. At the time the property included what is now the entire city block. It is likely he moved the rear north section, believed to date from the 1840s, from another location on the property and used it as the kitchen and dining room.
Mary Herron, a widowed mother of two young children, purchased the home in 1864 for $2,000.
Nathaniel W. Faison
Nathaniel Faison bought the structure from Herron for $1,800 in gold in 1866. At the time, he was one of the largest landowners in the county. Born in North Carolina, he came to Texas in 1839 and worked as a land surveyor and in the retail liquor business. He fought alongside La Grange pioneer John H. Moore in an 1840 battle against the Comanches and joined the ill-fated Dawson Expedition against a Mexican incursion into Texas in 1842. Faison was imprisoned in Mexico for two years and in 1845 was elected Fayette county clerk, a post he held until 1854. Faison amassed great land wealth, owning 35,000 acres at the time of his death. Late in life, he became a benefactor of the newly freed African-American community, donating land for freedman’s school, church, and cemetery.
Louisiana Brown, born in 1817 in Missouri, was the slave of La Grange merchant John C. Eccles, but little else is known of the owner of the Faison Home from 1870 to 1872. She was Nathaniel Faison’s housekeeper after emancipation, from 1865 to 1870 and at the time of his death, resided in the home with two young children. Nathaniel deeded the home to her two months before his death and left $3,000 in gold to her in his will for her service as his housekeeper for five years. Brown lived in La Grange at least until 1900, according to that year’s census. Her grave in the La Grange old city cemetery is inscribed with the name “Lou Faison” and lists her birth date, but no death date.
Peter Faison, a younger brother of Nathaniel’s, purchased the home from Louisiana Brown for $3,000 in November 1872, and took over Nathaniel’s extensive land management, cotton and wholesale goods businesses. It is believed that Peter built the front section of the home some time in the 1880s since it reflects the ornate Victorian style of that time period. He and his wife Susan and three children moved from their farm in Tennessee and lived extravagantly in La Grange, purchasing clothes and jewelry from the finest New York stores and sending the children to private schools in the East.
Julia and Jimmie Faison (r)
After Peter Faison’s death in 1919 and Susan’s death in 1920, the home was passed down to their younger son Jimmie, who lived there until his death in 1943. His widow, Julia Faison, owned the home until her death in 1961.