In 1859 Catherine (Cattie) Bunting Coit, moved from South Carolina to a farm in Renner, near Frankford, with her husband John and small child. Cattie Coit was a remarkable woman. Born on an Alabama plantation, she was orphaned by the age of eight and moved to South Carolina to live with relatives from her mother’s family. Cattie graduated as Valedictorian of her college class where she excelled in Latin and mathematics. She taught school in her Renner home and later in Dallas where she and her family moved after her husband returned from the Civil War in frail health. After John Coit died, Cattie moved her family back to the Renner farm to restore it. She added room on the second level of their cabin which was used as the boys’ bedroom while the ground floor served as a school. Here she taught school, educated her own children, and managed to pay off heavy debts with which she was burdened.
Cattie Coit’s family in South Carolina prevailed upon her to return to her childhood home where they could take care of her and her children. By this time Cattie had lost a leg due to a diseased bone and moved with great difficulty, but she insisted on staying in Texas. She wrote to her relatives saying that the land in Texas was her children’s legacy and they must remain in Texas.
A prolific writer through letters and her diary, Cattie wrote extensively about her experiences in Texas. She wrote of waking up on a spring morning to see her prairie blanketed in wildflowers. Cattie seemed to view the prairie in poetic and in very practical terms in equal measure. She would sometimes let the farm animals graze on the native plants in the prairie as if she were giving them a treat. Cattie Coit, her husband John and other members of their family are buried in Frankford Cemetery where she is once again near a bit of the North Texas prairie she loved so much.