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Murder and MadnessThe Myth of the Kentucky Tragedy$
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Matthew G. Schoenbachler

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780813125664

Published to Kentucky Scholarship Online: September 2011

DOI: 10.5810/kentucky/9780813125664.001.0001

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The Diminutive Fury

The Diminutive Fury

Anna Cooke

Chapter:
(p.43) Chapter 2 The Diminutive Fury
Source:
Murder and Madness
Author(s):

Matthew G. Schoenbachler

Publisher:
University Press of Kentucky
DOI:10.5810/kentucky/9780813125664.003.0003

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

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