David Fitzgerald

David Fitzgerald came to Texas in 1821 with his son John. They were from Georgia. He left his daughter Sarah Catherine and a son in law Eli Fenn who were to follow him to Texas after he had found a suitable place. David and his son, John Fitzgerald , found the place which they wanted to file on and went to San Felipe to make the claim. Upon arriving they were told that the league had been claimed by William Morton and they would have to find other land. William Morton, not wanting to make it more difficult for the Fitzgeralds than it already was, let them keep the quarter league on which they had already started their home. In return the Fitzgeralds later found an open league a few miles down river. They claimed it and later gave Morton the northeast quarter, which was on Oyster Creek.

In 1831, Kentucky-born John Davis Bradburn, who was serving as a colonel in the Mexican army, took command of the garrison at Anahuac, the small American community on Galveston Bay. This was  a port of entry for American colonists that had been established  as a Spanish fortress ten years before. Without reason, and not long after his arrival, Bradburn abolished the settlement of  Liberty and confiscated the colonist's land. He declared martial law and arrested several of them after they protested. One hundred sixty angry colonists, including David Fitzgerald, attacked the garrison to rescue their friends. At the mouth of the Brazos River, another group on the way to Anahuac battled with Mexican troops at Velasco and defeated them. This was the start of the Texas Revolution.

In 1832, shortly after he took part in the battle of Anahuac, David Fitzgerald died. Three month's earlier, his son in law, Eli Fenn, came looking for him because he and his wife Sarah Fitzgerald Fenn had heard nothing from her father in the ten years he had been in Texas. They were living in Lawrence county, Mississippi when Eli and Sarah's son, John Rutherford Fenn was born on October 11, 1824. They later moved to Madison county Mississippi. Eli liked the area in Texas and went back to Mississippi for his family.

David died in 1832. Burial was on his league and property. He was buried before his daughter, Sarah Catherine, arrived in Texas. His son, John, transferred 1/4 of the Fitzgerald league to Nancy Morton, Widow of Wm Morton, in 1834, this now becoming the Morton property. David's daughter Sarah Catherine chose to be buried on the Morton property in the Fitzgerald league beside her dad.

David Fitzgerald may have had a questionable past before arriving in Texas as evident that Stephen F Austin ejected him but eventually granted him a league. Sarah had not spoken to her father, David Fitzgerald, for ten years before Sarah’s husband, Eli, came to Texas and returned to Mississippi for her and their son, John R.. When Sarah arrived in Texas David was dead and buried. David never saw his grandson. David traded a quarter league with Morton but never gave Morton a quarter of the Fitzgerald league, so David still owned the whole league and knew he never paid Morton for the quarter of his league. His son, John, buried David on the back of the David Fitzgerald league under an oak tree near Long Point creek where his grave would not hinder crop production. John Fitzgerald then transferred the quarter league to Nancy Morton for payment of the quarter of the Morton league. This is proof that John inherited the league from his father. Sarah lived on the Morton league [that John paid for] until the Runaway Scrape.  

The Handbook of Texas says;

FITZGERALD, DAVID(?-1832). David Fitzgerald, Old Three Hundredqvsettler, came to Texas as a widower aged over fifty, probably from Georgia, late in 1821. With his son John and two slaves, he paddled a canoe up the Brazos River in search of Stephen F. Austin'sqvcolony in January 1822 and settled on the east bank of the river three miles below the site of present Richmond. On October 20, 1823, Austin wrote Luciano Garcíaqvthat he had been compelled to cause five men and their families, including David Fitzgerald, to leave the colony because they were fugitives from justice in the United States. Apparently Austin reconsidered because Fitzgerald, as one of the Old Three Hundredqvsettlers, received title to a league of land now in Fort Bend County on July 10, 1824, and raised crops there in 1825 and 1826. He died in 1832, and his plantation became the property of his daughter, Sarah, who had married Eli Fenn in Georgia before the Fitzgerald and Fenn families moved to Texas.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: Eugene C. Barker, ed., The Austin Papers (3 vols., Washington: GPO, 1924-28). Lester G. Bugbee, "The Old Three Hundred: A List of Settlers in Austin's First Colony," Quarterly of the Texas State Historical Association 1 (October 1897). Clarence Wharton, Wharton's History of Fort Bend County (San Antonio: Naylor, 1939).



 

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