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Maple Hill Cemetary Stroll, 5/7/06 Dr. Thomas Fearn ..........................Photo,..N Walker

Dr. Thomas Fearn (1789-1863) (Portrayed by Tom Newton) was a physician, planter, state legislator, and trustee of the University of Alabama. He was famous for his pioneering work in the medicinal use of quinine. Along with his brother, he owned and improved the Huntsville water system and was a instrumental in developing the Indian Creek Navigation Company.

Dr. Thomas Fearn was the first physician in north Alabama. He was appointed among the first members of the University of Alabama Board of Trustees where he had a part in design of the original University of Alabama Campus, recruitment of the first faculty members, and procurement of the land grant for funding. Dr. Fearn was one of the lead researchers in the use of Cinchona bark to produce quinine for treatment of Malaria.

In 1823, Alabama's first public water system was built with Big Spring as its source. The Huntsville Waterworks used hollowed out cedar logs for pipes and a wooden storage tank called a reservoir. As the town grew, so did its need for water. Dr. Thomas Fearn bought the waterworks from it's founder Hunter Peel in 1836, extending and improving the lines until he sold the franchise to the city of Huntsville in 1858.

The Indian Creek canal was important as a means to get cotton bales from the major marketing center near Huntsville city square to the Tennessee River at Triana