Richard John Fenner



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Richard (John) Fenner No original record shows any reference to a middle initial or name for Richard Fenner.  However, many internet sites has assigned the name "John" to him.
Fought in the Revolution
Born: Abt. 1758 New Bern, NC


Married: 23 Jan 1788 NC Halifax, Halifax Co., NC


  See page 4 of the Revolutionary War Pension Application below
Died: 12 May 1828 Jackson, Madison Co., TN   Will of Richard Fenner

In the name of God Amen I Richard Fenner of Madison County State of Tennessee Physician do make and ordain this my last will and testament

First I appoint my beloved friend and son in law Thomas Henderson and my sons Robert and John McKinnie Fenner Executors to this my last will.

2nd I desire that all my just debts may be paid as soon as collections can be made for the purpose including the debts of my son William K Fenner deceased agreeable to the memorandum given me by himself.

3rd It is my desire that the whole of my estate or as much as may be found necessary shall be kept together for the support of my beloved wife Ann the support and education of such of my beloved children as may remain with her during her natural life and widowhood. And I do hereby give and bequeath to my said wife a child’s part of my negroes absolutely to dispose of at her death as she may think proper. It is my desire that at her death or on her marriage the balance of my estate each and personal of whatsoever kind and wherever found may be equally divided among my beloved children share and share alike with the exception here after to be made namely to my daughter Martha M Coor Pender I leave five shillings current money to be paid her in full consideration and in lieu thereof I leave to Thomas Henderson, Robert Fenner and John McKinnie Fenner my Executors as aforesaid, one Equal part of my negroes including the four already in her possession and one hundred acres of land including the improvements therein Doctor L. Coor Pender now lives in trust however for the use and benefit of my said daughter Martha M Coor Pender but not subject to the debt or contracts of her husband and if my executors should find it safer and more advisable, they may leave the property aforesaid in the possession of my said daughter without violating this trust and should my daughter aforesaid think proper she may at her death dispose of said property by will or otherwise among her offspring in such manner, as she may think proper and if she should die without will then and in that case it is my desire that the said property with its increase should be equally divided among her children share and share alike.

4th I leave to my Daughter Ann M K Henderson an equal share of my negroes in full consideration including the four she has in possession, namely, Cherry Bob Clarisa Spencer

5th It is my desire that all my beloved children as they come of age or marry shall have three or four negroes as my executors may think or find the Estate able to spare them, and as near the quality of those now in the possession of and loaned to Ann K Henderson and Martha M Coor Pender as may be and it is my desire that as four of my beloved children (to wit) John McKinnie Ferrer, Erasmus Darwin Fenner, Junius Ponten Fenner, and Juliana K Fenner have not resumed their Education, the Expense of the same may be drawn out of the Estate without making any separate charges against them, and if John McKinnie Fenner should not be inclined to continue his Education it is my desire that he shall have and may own one Grown Negroe man more than the rest to be drawn from the whole before the division.

6th The disposal of my lands in middle Tennessee. I leave wholly with my Executors to sell or exchange for lands in this part of the country.

7th I leave to the heirs of Doctor Richard Fenner deceased five shillings each to be paid them in full consideration because I had given to their father at my departure from North Carolina his portion and as much as he asked for which he voluntarily gave his receipt for.

8. I further bequeath unto my Executors for the sole use and benefit of my Grand children, Edwin Johnson, Julius Johnson and Mary Johnson heirs of my Daughter Mary G. Johnson Deceased, one negro to each of the children to Maryanna Johnson, ?? Between ten and fifteen years of age and to Edwin and Julius Johnson each a negro boy old enough to be put to a bed with them when they arrive at a suitable age themselves. And I further desire that they may each borrow from the common stock or Estate ? And such other allowances as may be deemed necessary for defraying the expense of a good English Education, And I further desire that my Executors aforesaid or their assigns will hold themselves bound to deliver to the said children when they come to consent age or before as the said Executors shall think discretionary to each his or her negro respectively as above written with a -----------.

Lastly I request my beloved children to rest assured that I die grateful for the interest they have always appeared to take in my happiness and I pray God to protect them and pray them to protect each other as long as they live as the best evidence they can possibly give to the world that I live in their memory.


Buried: Cotton Grove, Madison Co., TN



Cotton Grove    Richard Fenner is buried here. His son, Robert Fenner, had purchased the land in 1828, shortly after the death of his father. Anne Geddy Fenner then moved in with her son living at Cotton Grove until 1833 when they moved into Jackson.

Abstracts of Vital Records from Raleigh North Carolina Newspapers Vol II 1820-1829

Fenner: D At Jackson, in Tennessee, on the 12th ult., at an advanced age.... Dr. Richard Fenner, formerly of Franklin (county). and for some time a resident of this city.....a soldier of the Revolution... RRsw Tues 3 June 1828 3:5


Will page 1
Will page 2
Will page 3
Will page 4
Will page 5
Will page 6
Will page 7


Richard  Fenner


Anne Coddington


Ann McKinney Geddy


1. Ann McKinney Fenner b. Abt 1790

2. Margaret Fenner b. 1789

3. Richard Henry Fenner b. Abt 1793

4. William K. Fenner b. 1795

5. Mary Geddy Fenner b. Abt 1795 Louisburg, Franklin, NC

6. Eliza Geddy Fenner b. 11 Feb 1799 Louisburg, Franklin, NC

7. Martha Matilda Fenner b. 24 Mar 1801 Franklin Co., NC

8. Robert Fenner b. Abt 1803 Raleigh, NC

9. John McKinney Fenner b. Abt 1807  Franklin NC

10. Dr. Erasmus Darwin Fenner b. 12 Apr 1807 Louisburg, Franklin, NC

11. Junius Pobton Fenner b. Abt 1811

         d. 18/Dec/1833 Madison Co., TN

12. Juliana Keyes Fenner b. Abt 1813 NC

In 1789, Grant # 1161 to John Alford  for 640 acres was assigned to Richard Fenner. Grant # 1158 to Samuel Baker for 640 acres was assigned to Richard Fenner. Grant # 1157 to Isum Burns for 640 acres was assigned to Richard Fenner.   In 1790 Grant #1257 to Hiller Crook for 640 acres was assigned to Richard Fenner.  All were near the Cumberland River in Tennessee.  At right is the warrant for a survey on a land grant in 1788.


Source: History of NC Vol 1 by R. D. W. Connor 1919 pg 388
"On December 17, 1799, the 'North Carolina Medical Society' was organized at Raleigh, and six days later was incorporated by the legislature.  Little is known of its activities.  The first president was Dr. Richard Fenner of Raleigh.  Prizes were offered for essays on selected subjects and for the production of medicines from plants."

Source: North Carolina Schools and Academies 1790-1840 by Charles L. Coon  1915
In 1802 Richard Fenner was instrumental in forming the Louisburg Academy.  It opened in January 1807.  "The terms of Tuition will be ten dollars per annum for reading, Writing, Arithmetic, and English Grammar, and sixteen dollars for the other branches of Education." (Raleigh Minerva, January 5, 1807)
In 1813 a female department was added to the Franklin Academy. "An Academy is opened in Lewisburg, Franklin county, where young ladies are instructed in Reading, Writing, English Grammar, Arithmetic, Geography, Astronomy, Painting and Music; also useful and Ornamental Needle-Work, of almost every description.  Terms of Tuition.  - Reading, Writing, English Grammar, Arithmetic and plain work, twenty dollars per annum.  Music, fifty dollars per annum  - Painting, twenty five dollrs per annum." (Raleigh Register, September 10, 1813)
Construction began in 1814.  "A House for a Female Academy.  At Louisburrg, 30 by 20 feet, two stories - 11 and 9 feet pitch - two rooms above, 18 by 20, and 12 by 20, feet - three six-pannelled doors - four 18 and four 8 light windows below, and six 15 and four 8 light windows above - to be built of good hard timber - with two chimney of brick or hewn stone, and underpinned with the same - to be ceiled within, and painted without, entire, will be let by the undersigned Commissioners, on Saturday the 2nd day of July next, at Lousiburg.  Workmen are required to complete work by 25th of December next."  Richard Fenner is one of the signers.  (Louisburg, June 6th 1814 Raleigh Register, June 24, 1814)
Richard Fenner was one of the trustees.  His daughter, Martha Matilda Fenner, attended the academy in 1816.  See notice on her page.




By Jonathan Kennon Thompson Smith
Copyright, Jonathan Kennon Thompson Smith, 1995

Richard Fenner was born in NC of parents who had recently emigrated from Ireland. He was commissioned ensign in the Second Regiment, North Carolina Continental Line, in January 1779, was promoted to lieutenant while a prisoner of war at Charleston, and served until the end of the war when he settled in Halifax with his older brother, Robert. After the war Lt. Richard studied medicine, and volunteered as medical officer on an expedition against the Indians in W. VA. He married Anne Geddy in 1788, soon after his return. They had 11 children, and he practiced medicine in Halifax Co., NC for twenty five years. In 1799 he was elected first president of the North Carolina Medical Society. In 1823 many of his family moved to Madison County, TN. This was only two years after the treaty with the Indians. All six of the sons studied medicine at the best of schools in Louisville and NC. Richard's interest and belief in education is shown by his will, which provided the estate not be divided until all the younger ones were provided a 'good, English education', and that this not be detracted from their share." He died and was buried at Cotton Gove. His widow and various of their children lived on at the plantation until Ann died.
According to "Tennessee Cousins" Matilda, married to Dr. Lewis Coor-Pender, Dr. Richard Fenner, Ann, married to Thomas Henderson, and Mary married to Johnson settled in Jackson Tennessee probably about 1823 . The obituary on Mac E. Coor-Pender states that his ancestor, (Richard's son Robert) was also from Jackson, Tenn

Revolutionary War application pg 1
Revolutionary War application pg 2
Revolutionary War application pg 3
Revolutionary War application pg 4
Revolutionary War application pg 5
Revolutionary War application pg 6


In 1817 Richard Fenner moved to Raleigh from Halifax, NC and established his practice with Dr. Burges on Fayettville Street.  See ad at right placed in Raleigh Register, Friday, Feb. 6, 1818