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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 riverbottom. 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.

John Henry Brown, Indian Wars and Pioneers of Texas (Austin: Daniell, 1880; reprod., Easley, South Carolina: Southern Historical Press, 1978). Adele B. Looscan, "John R. Fenn," Southwestern Historical Quarterly 8 (January 1905). Andrew Jackson Sowell, History of Fort Bend County (Houston: Coyle, 1904; rpt, Richmond, Texas: Fort Bend County Historical Museum, 1974). Vertical Files, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin.

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Handbook of Texas Online, "Fenn, John Rutherford," accessed November 20, 2017,

Uploaded on June 12, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.