Sarah Catherine Fitzgerald Fenn Cox
In 1840, Eli Fenn died. The cause of his death at the age of 46 is not known. John Fenn, who was sixteen at the time of his father’s death, said he buried his father about 400 yards below where the bridge of the Santa Fe Railroad spans the Brazos; and some think the remains were carried away by the great floods, but John did not think so. The exact spot is lost.
The master-planned community of Sienna Plantation now being developed (late 1990s) contains 800 acres along the river (outside the levee that protects the subdivisions) that are devoted to recreation, open space, and nature. Perhaps this area includes Eli’s resting place.
Sarah was 43 when her husband, Eli, died, and she lived another twenty years. The chapter, ‘Mrs Eli Fenn’ in PIONEER WOMEN IN TEXAS, BY Annie D. Pickrell, says, “Four years after the victory at San Jacinto, Sarah was left a widow in the wilderness, her son, John, her only companion: But she had another son, Jesse, who was five years old at the time of the Runaway Scrape, although he was not mentioned by his brother, John. Jesse is mentioned in Mr. Sowell’s HISTORY OF F.B.C. as well in census records. Jesse was about nine years old at the time Ms. Pickrell says Sarah had only her son John as a companion. We will see later perhaps why Jesse was not mentioned by John or by his daughter, May Fenn McKeever, who gave Ms. Pickrell the information she used in her book.
Ms. Pickrell also does not mention that Sarah had a second marriage—to Collin Cox. But, Mr. Wharton mentions it and says that Cox had a quarrel with a neighbor, Waters, about some land. Waters went to Cox’s home and murdered him in Sarah’s presence. This was reported in the Houston Telegraph.
Sarah was now widowed for the second
time. Ms Pickrell reports that “With her
first pangs of grief sustained” (and, hopefully, the second, as well), “Sarah
remembered that she had studied both botany and chemistry.” This must have been in
Sarah would not be able to do this today, because growing this variety of poppy, from which opium is produced, is illegal now. Opium is a powerful drug that causes sleep and eases pain. It is a narcotic and is used illegally to stimulate and intoxicate.
also reports about May’s grandmother that “she finally stood the medical
examinations and was admitted formally to the practice.” It is quite certain that Sarah did administer
to the sick, but there is no documentation among the abundance of old family
papers that we have that she officially became a doctor.
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