The Search for Fannie Sims Granbury
Wife of Bridadier General Hiram B. Granbury
Other than her marriage to H.B. Granbury in 1858, little is known of Fannie's earlier life. She was born in Alabama in 1838 and migrated to Waco, Texas, where she met the native Mississippian, Hiram Granbury. At the time of their marriage, Hiram was 27 years old and Fannie was 20.
During the early years of their marriage, nothing was known regarding the personal life of Fannie. After Hiram left Waco to join the 7th Texas in Marshall, Fannie went on the move with him.
As the troops marched for Tennessee and Kentucky, Fannie took up residence in the home of Stephen E. Trice, Hopkinsvile, Kentucky. After the capture of many Confederate soldiers at Fort Donelson, Major Granbury petitioned U.S. Grant to give him time (before going to prison) to situate his wife who was staying in Clarksville, Tennessee. The petition was granted.
For the first month of prison, Granbury was shuffled from Camp Douglas to Camp Chase. Finally, on March 6,1862 he was taken to Fort Warren Prison in Boston Harbor, a prison primarily for Confederate officers. While Granbury was at Warren Prison, Fannie lived in Hagerstown, Maryland, at the residence of Mrs. Mary MacGill, wife of Hiram's prison mate, Dr. Charles MacGill. Some historians wrote that she became ill from exposure to the northern climate and died. This was not true. She became ill with cancer, but lived long enough to return south to die.
The truth of Fannie's illness and Granbury's imprisonment can be found in a document for L. Thomas, Adjutant General, Washington, written to Col. J. Dimick, U. S. Army, Fort Warren, Boston Massachusetts. The correspondence dated July 29, 1863, read:"The eight or nine prisoners referred to and those who have taken the oath of allegiance will not be sent to Fort Monroe. Parole Major Granbury, of Texas that he may attend his wife while having a surgical operation performed at Baltimore,..." At it turns out, Fannie never had the surgery at Baltimore Hospital, most likely because her condition, ovarian cancer, was too advanced.
Adding to the insight on Fannie's condition are the letters that were written between D. Charles MacGill and his wife, Mary MacGill, during the time Fannie was their house guest in Hagerstown, Maryland. These letter reveal personal insite into Fannie's illness and suffering as she waited at the MacGill home for Hiram to be released from prison.
Over the course of the years, perhaps stemming as far back as her marriage in 1858, Fannie had begun to experience health problems. After her arriving in Hagerstown, the problems became acute and Dr. Smith, a renowned surgeon at the hospital in Baltimore examined her. Hiram had received early parole so he was able to meet with her, the first week of August, 1862 to see Dr. Smith. Even though there are no medical records, it is obvious that Dr. Smith's diagnosis was advanced, inoperable, ovarian cancer. Fannie, age 24 would only have months to live.
Fannie remained in the MacGill family home in Hagerstown where she would be loved and cared for. Finally, in October 1862 Hiram took a train to Hagerstown and brought Fannie back to her father's home in Tuscaloosa Alabama. On March 20, 1863, eleven days before her 5th wedding anniversary, she passed away. She was 25 years old at the time of her death. Because of poverty brought on by the war, there was no money for a headstone, so she was buried in an unmarked grave in Magnolia Cemetery.
When Granbury died all memories of Fannie died with him because they only had each other.
In June 2001, after studying documents relating to Fannie Sims Granbury, efforts were made to fine her grave. There has been no success in finding out anything regarding the Redmond family who purchased the cemetery plot in order to bury Fannie. Fannie Granbury remained the only person buried in the plot until 1900.
Today, there is no trace of the original owners and no descendants know of the lot owners. For this reason, no headstone can be placed on the grave without permission from the owner of the lot or descendants of the lot owner. Fannie will probably never have a headstone nor will she be moved to Granbury to be joined with her husband, Hiram.