He was the son of Samuel and Mary Ann (Watson) Fleener. The Fleeners left Wayne Co., Kentucky and arrived in Brown Co., Indiana in 1823. Samuel was born two years later. At this point Brown County was a wilderness of heavily forested ridges and ravines; bears and cougars roamed the area. David likely later lived in Johnson Co. before migrating to Madison Co., Iowa in the 1840s. He married Mary Margaret Wilkinson Oct. 21, 1849 in Madison Co. He was the father of nine children. He was a brother of Jacob and Aaron Fleener who remained in Brown County, Indiana.