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Fenner, Richard

by Ruth L. Barrett, 1986

d. ca. 1766

Richard Fenner, lawyer, was born in Dublin, Ireland, probably the son of William Fenner and the grandson of Richard Fenner, both lawyers, and the descendant of a Richard Fenner who had received forfeited estates and interests in Ireland in 1688. In 1757 Fenner was in New Bern, N.C., serving as deputy clerk of council, deputy secretary, and deputy register of the Court of Chancery under Governor Arthur Dobbs. He was appointed in 1760 to the commission of the peace for Carteret County, where he had bought land in 1758. He served the town of New Bern as recorder, was appointed a commissioner to oversee the completion of a courthouse for Craven County (1759), was one of seven trustees of a school to be built for New Bern (1764), and signed a petition to the lieutenant governor for a salary for the teacher. He also represented clients before the Craven County court.

Fenner married, before his emigration to America and probably as his second wife, Ann Coddington, of another Anglo-Irish family of record in County Dublin from the early years of the seventeenth century. In 1768 his widow was living in New Bern on Hancock Street on Lot 89, which he had bought in 1759. Ann Fenner's will, probated in March 1777, was witnessed by James Reed, the first regular rector of Christ Episcopal Church. Her heirs were her three sons, William, Robert, and Richard, all of whom served as officers in the Second Regiment, North Carolina Continental Line, during the Revolutionary War.


Sir Bernard Burke, Landed Gentry of Ireland (1958).

Walter Clark, ed., Colonial Records of North Carolina, vols. 5–7 (1887, 1888, 1890).

Deeds and wills of the counties of Carteret and Craven, Minutes of the Craven County court (North Carolina State Archives, Raleigh).

John O'Hart, The Irish and Anglo-Irish Landed Gentry (1884).

William L. Saunders, ed., State Records of North Carolina, vol. 25 (1906).

Sir Arthur Vicars, Index to the Prerogative Wills of Ireland, 1536–1810 (1897).

Additional Resources:

"Minutes of the North Carolina Governor's Council, November 18, 1757 - November 29, 1757." Colonial Records of North Carolina. vol. 5,  Raleigh: Josephus Daniels, printer to the state. 1887. 817-821. (accessed February 25, 2014).

"Minutes of the North Carolina Governor's Council, May 10, 1760 - May 27, 1760." Colonial Records of North Carolina. vol. 6,  Raleigh: Josephus Daniels, printer to the state. 1888. 332-340. (accessed February 25, 2014).

Origin - location: 


After almost 30 years, Ruth Leslie Barrett's scholarly primary source research stands out as the most accurate information about early Fenner-Coddington family history available. She bought her scientific academic skills to her Fenner family history research and created an accurate "roadmap" for those who might aspire to follow in her footsteps. Unfortunately many aspiring Fenner family historians have used Dr. Barrett's research out of context in an effort to support incorrect conclusions.

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This article is from the Dictionary of North Carolina Biography, 6 volumes, edited by William S. Powell. Copyright ©1979-1996 by the University of North Carolina Press. Used by permission of the publisher. For personal use and not for further distribution. Please submit permission requests for other use directly to the publisher.

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