Nesbitt Memorial Library Journal, Volume 10, Number 1, January, 2000 Page: 8
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Nesbitt Memorial Library Journal
Higher cultural efforts by county residents dwindled to almost nothing. Fannie
Amelia Dickson Darden sporadically published poems in the Colorado Citizen and seem-
ingly continued to paint pictures. She was joined by and, it must be said, exceeded by Friench
Simpson as a poet. Simpson was writing poetry as early as 1864, when he was sixteen and
living at Oakland. His first known published poem, "Dolce Far Niente," appeared in the
Colorado Citizen on July 23, 1874. Later in the year the Citizen published another Simpson
poem, "A Study of Nature." By then, he had secured employment with the Texas State
Geological Survey, a job that afforded him the opportunity to travel widely within the state,
and to write brief accounts of his travels for the Citizen. Following Simpson's lead, in 1877,
Darden produced a prose piece based on her travels for the newspaper. Darden's piece was
about Sutherland Springs, a resort near San Antonio to which she had travelled to improve
her health. Earlier, she had turned her attention to history, publishing what would become
perhaps her best known work, "Dillard Cooper's Account of his Escape from Fannin's
Massacre," on the front page of the Citizen of July 30, 1874. As the title suggests, Darden
had heard the story from Cooper, who lived near Columbus. To tell of his escape, with three
other men, from the massacre of James Walker Fannin's command by the Mexican army
during the Texas Revolution in 1836, she employed what was for her uncharacteristically
simple and reasonably compelling prose.8
the Eleventh Legislature, which met in 1866. The fat men's races were won by John Rosenfield and
George Gegenworth. The other participants were Helmuth Kulow, Isam Tooke, Henry Merseberger,
and J. Kulow.
8 Poems by Darden were published in Colorado Citizen, February 22, 1872, February 29,
1872, March 14, 1872, March 28, 1872, May 21, 1874, July 16, 1874, November 12, 1874, and April 22,
1875. For the Sutherland Springs material, see Colorado Citizen, August 30, 1877 and September 13,
1877. The Cooper article was preceded by a declaration from Cooper that Darden's version was
correct. The declaration was dated August 18, 1870, suggesting that the article was written several
years before it was published. Simpson's poetry and prose were published in Colorado Citizen, July
23, 1874, December 10, 1874, April 15, 1875, May 6, 1875, May 20, 1875, July 8, 1875, October 7, 1876,
and October 14, 1875. Several other prose pieces concerning the State Geological Survey were pub-
lished in other issues, but because they were signed "S. G. S." they cannot be attributed to Simpson.
It is likely, though, that he wrote them. His poems were signed "S." That they were his is confirmed by
their inclusion in his privately published 1900 book, A Study of Nature and Other Poems. The book
provides the date and place many of Simpson's poems were written, including two at Oakland in 1864.
Though only two of his poems are known to have appeared in print in the period, the book indicates
that Simpson was most prolific between 1864 and 1876. Of the 58 poems in the book, thirty bear dates.
One other, the title poem, can be dated to 1874 by virtue of its appearance in the newspaper. Of these
31 dated poems, all but three were written between 1864 and 1876. The other three were written more
than thirteen years later. More about Simpson can be found in Colorado Citizen, October 29, 1874,
May 6, 1875, and September 2, 1875.
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Nesbitt Memorial Library. Nesbitt Memorial Library Journal, Volume 10, Number 1, January, 2000, periodical, January 2000; Columbus, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth151408/m1/8/?q=nesbitt%20memorial%20library%20journal: accessed April 28, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Nesbitt Memorial Library.