The Diminutive Fury

Matthew G. Schoenbachler

in Murder and Madness

Published by University Press of Kentucky

Published in print October 2009 | ISBN: 9780813125664
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780813135373 | DOI:
The Diminutive Fury

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Contemporaries thought Anna Cooke was a “tigress”, a “wretched female”, and an “evil genius”; historians have labeled her a “diminutive Fury” and a “tawdry paramour”; and a small corps of novelists have portrayed her as a beautiful, cultured woman betrayed by the villainy of a heartless seducer. Anna is a mysterious and intriguing figure—no accurate likeness of her exists, and, as is the case with Sharp, little survives to tell us of the person. It is possible to piece together the outlines of her life and personality. The earliest years of the new century would have been Anna's glory days—her time to enter what the late-eighteenth-century novelist Hannah Webster Foster described as the “fashionable amusements of brilliant assemblies”. Anna's transition to the raw and alien world of western Kentucky was not nearly so smooth. She claimed that her stillborn child's father is Col. Sharp. This is the origin of the accusation, later brought forth by Jereboam Beauchamp and by Sharp's political enemies, that Sharp had seduced and abandoned a poor, innocent girl. By the early 1820s, Solomon Sharp and Anna Cooke's fortunes could scarcely have been more divergent.

Keywords: Anna Cooke; Jereboam Beauchamp; Solomon Sharp; diminutive Fury; Hannah Webster Foster; western Kentucky

Chapter.  12026 words. 

Subjects: History of the Americas

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