Sunday, October 4, 2009

My Most Colorful (and violent) Ancestor

I found a manuscript that my Uncle Gerald Brennan had written about the Brennan Family History. Here is a condensed version of my great, great grandfather Jim Fee. This is from my dad's side of the family.

Jim Fee and Mary Gross' first baby, Vina (my great grandma) was on the way soon after their wedding day, but Jim was in prison before she was born. He had killed a man reportedly because the man had peed on him. Jim was released from prison when Vina was 7 or 8 years old. There is a story that he was pardoned. Since he was a master penman and actually taught penmanship, you wonder if Jim may have written his own pardon and forged the governor's signature.

Though my great grandma related that the members of the Fee family she had met were nice people she traced her family heritage through George McKinney - her stepfather. She concluded her real father (Jim Fee) was a mean man and didn't have much to say about him.

Jim Fee was murdered in 1926(?). Apparently someone lay in a cornfield just off the back porch of his house and ambushed him when he stepped outside. There were some names bandied about but no one was ever prosecuted. There is evidence that Jim Fee was serving as a deputy sheriff at the time of his murder.

Jim Fee had killed one other man in addition to the one that peed on him. Apparently he did some time for that one too. In the second killing, Jim was lying down, flat on his belly in the middle of a field, drinking from a spring. The tale is that Jim saw the reflection in the pool of water of a man slipping up on him with a gun drawn. Jim flipped over, drew his own gun and shot the man. A man he recognized as a fellow with whom he had previously had a heated argument. This killing was deemed self-defense.

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