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Isaac Fanning was born in the state of Alabama in the year 1832. The Fanning family came to Hopkins County in the year 1849. Isaac, the subject of this biographical sketch, was the second son of his father, Dr. Fanning, who was a prominent citizen and a useful man in the county in his day. Isaac came of a good, family, and inherited some of the noble traits of the character of his ancestors.
In the year 1854 he married Mrs. Mary Tankersley; five children were born to this union, three of whom are, living. They are all girls and are married. They are prolific women and are the mothers of thirty children. Mr. Fanning, after the loss of his companion, subsequently married Mrs. Elizabeth Johnson, daughter of Squire Means, a well-known citizen of Hopkins County in his day. Six children were born from this marriage-two boys and four girls. They are all respected citizens of the county. Mr. Fanning is living on his father’s headright, within thirty yards of where his father built a log cabin in the year 1845. A part of this old homestead has been turned back to nature, and has grown into a dense forest;
Mr. Fanning is seventy years of age. He works upon his farm, making a good hand at labor. He is a sober man of regular habits, and says, in referring to old times, that the flesh of bear is the sweetest and most wholesome meat he ever ate. In the year 1851 a man whose name Mr. Fanning has forgotten, and who was living with his family in Hopkins County, became tired of his married life and sought freedom from matrimonial bonds by murdering his companion, which he did by means of a bowie knife when she was altogether ignorant of his intentions. She was instantly killed by this cruel savage who claimed her as the wife of his bosom, without a moment’s warning. The murderer well knew that the manhood of the Texan would resent this tragedy. He therefore arranged his affairs and left the county incognito.
Sealin Stout was advised of this awful event and he and Mr. John Pitman were sent in pursuit of the fugutive. After several days and nights of close and hard riding they came upon the object of their search near where Grand Saline is now situated. It was during the heated weather, and they came upon him resting himself and horse in the shade of a beautiful grove of oak trees, which stood invitingly by the wayside. No sooner had he discovered his suspected pursuers than he mounted his superb blooded animal and rode off hurriedly. They both called out imperatively for him to halt, which summons he positively refused to obey. No more commands were given nor quarters asked. The murderer was traveling in his shirt sleeves with his coat tied to the cantle of his saddle. One of the two pursuers said: “We will shoot him just where his suspenders cross upon his back.” Sealin Stout raised his trusty fowling piece, took deliberate aim at the cross upon his back, and the unfortunate wretch fell from his animal dead in the road. Neither one of the men advanced a foot in the direction, of the dead man, but turned their own trusty animals in the direction of home and returned to their friends and reported the capture and death of the fugitive. Their friends received the news gladly, and gave the brave and courageous fellows a hearty greeting and a cordial welcome. This extraordinary event was told to Dr. Fanning by Sealin Stout, who spent a night with Dr. Fanning on his return from this trip. Isaac remembers quite distinctly hearing Mr. Stout repeat this incident.