Robert Fearn (1830)

 Lawyer, Farmer

Born:February 20, 1830, Memphis, Tennessee
Died:March 12, 1873, Huntsville, Alabama
Buried:Maple Hill Cemetery, Huntsville, Alabama
Residence:504 Eustis Avenue SE
Nephew of:Dr. Thomas Fearn
Son of:Robert Fearn(1795)


•  "Son of Robert and Maria (Henderson) Fearn, Sr., the former a native of Danville, Va., who was a commission merchant in New Orleans, and afterwards in Memphis, Tenn., where he owned a large part of the original site of the city, finally locating in Huntsville, where he died September 7, 1856; grandson of Thomas and Mary (Burton) Fearn, of Pittsylvania County, Va., the former a lineal descendant of the first Richard Lee, who came to America and settled in Virginia, and of William and Locky (Trigg) Henderson; great-grandson of John and Leeanna (Lee) Fearn, and of Dr. Robert and Judith (LaForce) Burton; great-great grandson of Rene LaForce, a French Huguenot. The Fearns were originally from Scotland, records from the family Bible designating the place as 'Fearn Castle'." - Alabama Biography

•  "Col. Fearn received his early schooling at the old Green academy at Huntsville under Dr. Davidson; was prepared for college by a private tutor; entered Harvard University, where he was a close friend of Edward Everett and of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, and was graduated from the institution, A. B. and A. M., 1855." - Alabama Biography

•  "Married: July 24, 1858, at Huntsville, Elizabeth(Eliza) Lee Coles, daughter of Dr. Robert Thompson and Elizabeth Fearn (Patton) Coles, who lived at Pittsylvania Court House, Va., until they moved to Huntsville in 1846; granddaughter of Col. Isaac and Katherine (Thompson) Coles, the former of Halifax and Pittsylvania Counties, Va., who was a member of the house of burgesses in 1774, a member of the convention at Richmond, Va., in 1788, to ratify the constitution of the United States, and a member of the first congress of the United States, the latter a sister of Mrs. Elbridge Gerry; great granddaughter of James and Katherine (Walton) Thompson, of New York City." - Alabama Biography

•  "Children: 1. Maria Henderson, d. at the age of four; 2. Kate Coles, d. at the age of eighteen; 3. Elizabeth Lee, m. John A. Lusk, Guntersville; 4. Mary Burton, m. Malcolm R. Murray, Huntsville; 5. Robert, d. in infancy; 6. Thomas, d. at age of twelve; 7. Robert Coles, d. at age of ten; 8. Pauline Henderson, m. Bruce Armstrong, Knoxville, Tenn." - Alabama Biography

•  "He studied law under Gen. LeRoy Pope Walker at Huntsville; was admitted to the bar, and practiced law until the outbreak of the War of Secession, when he was appointed colonel on Gen, D. M. Bradford's staff, Alabama militia; was prevented from active duty by a breakdown in his health; was arrested by the Federals for his outspoken Southern sentiments during the war, and not allowed to leave his home; resumed the practice of law until his death in 1873." - Alabama Biography

•  The Civil War pardon roll for Robert lists the value of his real-estate as $100,000; his value of personal property as $145,000; and the number of slaves to being 13. The date of the pardon was Nov. 4, 1865. - Shapiro

•  This relates to a historic house in Huntsville (503 Eustis Ave.): "The land was sold in 1849 by William H. Pope to Robert Fearn, Jr., and the price paid for the property indicates that there was no building on the site. Records reveal that Mr. Fearn later sold the property to Ebenezer M. Cowles in 1862, and the price paid indicates that there was a building on the land by this time. Apparently, Mr. Fearn built the house." - AAUW

•  "FEARN, ROBERT, JR. (HC [Harvard College], 1850, AM), was born Feb. 20, 1830, in Memphis, TN, the son of Robert Fearn Sr. and Maria Henderson Fearn of VA. He studied at Green Acad., Huntsville. Al., and with a private tutor. At HC, he became a friend of Edward Brooks Everett and Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. He studied law under Leroy Pope Walker, later CS secretary of war. and practiced law in Huntsville. In 1858, he married Elizabeth Lee Coles, by whom he had eight children.
     In 1861, he was appt. col. on the staff of Gen. D. M. Bradford, of the Al. Militia. Thomas M. Owen noted that he was 'prevented from active duty by a breakdown in his health.' Later, he was arrested by the Federal government for his "outspoken Southern sentiments [and] not allowed to leave his home."
     Postwar, he carried on his law practice until he died Mar. 12, 1873, in Huntsville, AL.
     sources: Hewett: no entry; Owen. Hist, and Biog. Dict, of AL." - Trimpi

Related Links:

•  AAUW - Glimpses Into Antebellum Homes of Historic Huntsville, Alabama, Ninth Edition, by American Association of University Women, Huntsville Branch, Huntsville, Alabama, 1999, page 49.

•  Alabama Biography - Alabama Biography, History of Alabama and Dictionary of Alabama Biography, Volume 3, by Thomas McAdory Owen, Marie Bankhead Owen, 1921, page 567.

•  Historic Markers - Huntsville City, Historic Marker for the site where his home stood before it was burned. (Originally found at

•  Shapiro - Article by Norman M. Shapiro, in The Huntsville Historical Review, Volume 22, #1, Jan-95, by Huntsville-Madison County Historical Society, page 9.

•  Trimpi - Crimson Confederates: Harvard men who fought for the South By Helen P. Trimpi, 2010, page 81

The Following Pages Link to this Page:
•  504 Eustis Avenue SE
•  Alabama Biography
•  Dr. Thomas Fearn
•  Robert Fearn(1795)
•  Shapiro