John Rutherford Fenn

The children of John R. and Rebecca Fenn, who survived, are Francis Marion Oatis, who married Miss Lottie Benson, of Charlottesville, Virginia. They have one son, Rutherford Bensen. May, who married James Joseph McKeever, Jr., of Houston; Belle, unmarried, and Joseph Johnston  Fenn, who married miss Mollie Walker, of  Houston; they have two children, John McKeever and Joseph Johnson (Button). Mrs. Mary McKeever is a very prominent member of the "Daughters of the Republic," and is president of the San Jacinto Chapter of that order. She is also a member of the "Daughters of the American Revolution." The children that didn't survive are; J. Fitzgerald, Edgar, Williams, unnamed, and John R. Jr.

In 1903, John Rutherford Fenn numbered among his employees a Negro whom he had reared from childhood.  He took this man to the family burial ground, located on the Fitzgerald league of  land, and there beside the grave of his mother, Mrs Eli (Sarah Fitzgerald) Fenn, he marked the spot close beside her grave where he wanted his own grave to be made. At his death in 1904, they complied with this request. His wife died eight months later and was placed there beside him.

On November 23, 1904, the family circle was broken, John R. Fenn then being called by the All Wise Father to leave the scenes of his eighty years of service on earth. The last sad scenes are described by the Houston Post of November 25th, as follows: As announced the funeral services of Captain John R. Fenn were held at the family residence, 1117 Bell Avenue, with Rev. William Hayne Leavel of the First Presbyterian Church as officiatiating minister, at 9 o'clock a.m.. yesterday. The floral tributes were many and beautiful. A fragrant, snowy star, from San Jacinto Chapter, Daughters of the Republic of Texas, reposed upon the casket of the old Texas hero. At the conclusion of the services at home, the family and friends drove to the depot, where at 10 o'clock, through the kindness of  Mr. T. W. House, a special train was secured from Mr. Leroy Trice of the International and Great Northern Railway to convey the funeral party to and from Duke, the railroad station of his ranch and plantation. Permission was kindly granted by the Sugarland Railway Company to run this train over their track from Arcola Junction to Duke. When the train arrived at Duke it was met by Mr. Fenn's friends and neighbors, who had gathered to pay the last honors to one they had known and esteemed so long. These friends had brought enough vehicles to accommodate the funeral party; the family carriage and driver having been sent overland from Houston for the widow to occupy in this last sad journey. Before starting to the old family burying ground, where the mother of the deceased was buried years ago. a short halt was made and the casket carried into Mr. Fenn's house at Duke to permit the family servants and the plantation hands, some of whom have been in the family five generations, to gaze once more at the placid countenance of their sleeping master. It was an affecting sight to see these old darkies file by the casket in their respectful silence, but with tears streaming down their faces as they passed out from the dearly loved presence of "old marse" There was also in this occasion the widow's brother, Mr. Edwin J. Williams, and Judge W.P. Hamblin, who were present at the marriage of Mr. and Mrs. Fenn in 1852, and also their golden wedding celebration in 1902. Arriving at the appointed spot, a short service of reading and prayer was conducted by Dr Leavell, after which loving hands covered the earth with flowers, and left the mortal remains of John R. Fenn laid to rest beneath the tall live oak trees, with their waving streamers of gray moss, and amidst the scenes he loved so dearly in life, and where so many busy years had passed. After the last sad rites were concluded the family and friends returned to the city on the special train, arriving at about 3:45 p.m... It can be truthfully said that he sleeps beneath a canopy of  flowers upon a tract of land granted to his forefather, David Fitzgerald, by the Spanish government in 1822. Davis Fitzgerald was one of Stephen F. Austin's colony of  the Old Three Hundred. The following gentlemen acted as pallbearers: Honorary, T.W. House, Captain William Christian, Judge W.P. Hamblen, Captain J.C, Hutcheson, Dr. Max Urwitz, A.C. Herndon, Captain R.G. Ashe, Captain S. Taliaferro, John W. Bell, Captain J.S. Rice, James Bute, Captain D.D. Peden; active, W.B. King, Alex Bergamini, Pierce Geiselman, Dr. E.J. Hamilton, Jo F. Meyer, Nat Ewing.

FENN, JOHN RUTHERFORD(1824-1904). John Rutherford Fenn, early Texas soldier and settler, was born in Lawrence County, Mississippi, on October 11, 1824, the son of Eli and Sarah (Fitzgerald) Fenn. On June 7, 1833, the family arrived at the area that later became Fort Bend County, Texas. During the Texas Revolution young Fenn was captured by Mexican soldiers but escaped to be reunited with his mother and brother at the William W. Little camp in the Brazos river bottom. In 1842 Fenn served in William Ryon's company under Alexander Somervell but did not continue on the Mier expedition. He served as a second lieutenant in the Confederate Army during the Civil War. In 1852 he married Rebecca M. Williams; the couple had four children. The Fenns settled on a plantation they called Duke on Oyster Creek, where they lived until 1872, when they moved to Houston. There they observed their fiftieth wedding anniversary in 1902. Fenn was first vice president of the Texas Veterans Association and a Democrat. He died at Houston on November 23, 1904, and was buried in the family cemetery at Duke.

 



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