Cora Emily Brent
1886 - 1967

Cora Brent

      

Cora Emily Brent was born 27 December 1886 in Pensacola. She and her twin, George Shuttleworth Brent, were the 8th and 9th children born to Francis Celestino and Mary Ella Shuttleworth Brent.

Like her sisters, who all went away to boarding school, Cora went to the Convent of the Sacred Heart in Manhattan, located at that time on 54th St. and Madison Ave. In 1909 Cora was crowned Queen at the annual Mardi Gras festivities in Pensacola. In her court were her sister Genevieve, her brother George, and Alba H. Warren, soon to be her husband.

Cora was married at the Brent family home on La Rua, in Pensacola, on 17 April 1911. Her husband, Alba Houghton Warren, of Worcester, Massachusetts, settled in Pensacola in 1904. He had been hired by Stone & Webster, an electrical engineering consulting company in Massachusetts, to manage of the local utility company in Pensacola.

They moved immediately to Galveston, Texas, where Alba took over as manager for the Galveston Electric Company. In 1918 they moved to El Paso, Texas, and later to Savannah, Houston and Shreveport, Louisiana. After Alba suffered a massive stroke, they returned to Pensacola where Alba died 27 March 1950.

After Alba died, Cora lived on West Moreno St. in Pensacola, next door to her twin brother George and his wife Margaret. With so many family members in Pensacola, Cora had a busy social life. She loved parties, especially cocktail parties, and she was always the life of the party. She was always dressed up, with lots of jewelry. I remember her that way too - dressed up, with lots of jewelry, a drink in hand, laughing and talking in a gravelly voice. One time, while visiting at her house, she showed us a little screecher alarm that she kept next to her bed. If she heard a burglar in the house, she said she would set it off. She set it off for us and it made an ear-splitting noise.

According to Kay, one of her granddaughters, “Cora or ‘Coco’ as the younger generation called her, was quite a character and much loved by all of us. She was adventurous, having gone through Carlsbad Caverns when lanterns had to be carried for light and ladders carried to cross the chasms. She talked a brother in law into taking her up in a bi-plane. Her son said that after an evening of bridge she could remember every card played in every hand. She wore a large diamond on each had and when asked if she was afraid of being kidnapped or mugged, she’d laugh and say ‘No, no, anyone that took me would bring me right back.’ ”

      

Alba and Cora Warren

Genevieve Watson, a granddaughter of Cora’s sister Genevieve, lived with her family right behind Cora’s house. She said the house had pear trees and that they used to make jam from the pears. Because Genevieve’s mother was not a great seamstress, Genevieve and her sisters used to go over to Cora’s. Cora would have them put on bathrobes while she mended a tear or sewed a hem. She also remembered that Cora had a thing about sitting on beds. She wouldn’t let anyone sit on her bed. “Beds are for sleeping. Use the chair!”

Genevieve wrote that “She was oh, so very special to us---particularly to me and to Mary Jo. She made it a point to always have cold bottles of gingerale to serve to us on our visits, served over tiny ice cubes from one of the first icemakers I had ever seen...probably a small commercial one at the wet bar. She made such a loving and caring impression on our young lives! She is truly missed by all and loved always!!”

Cora was short, not as short as Frances, her youngest sister, but short compared to Belle, her oldest sister. Belle was the tallest. Catherine, Mollie and Celestine were of average height. Tom Robert, Tino, George and Genevieve were all short.

Cora called Alba “Dear.” Alba had strokes and used to have a hard time getting around. Genevieve said that Cora would move him from the wheelchair into the car by sliding him across her knee while she braced herself. One time, after they had been out partying, she was putting him in the car and he slipped off. She said to him, “What are you doing in the gutter, Dear?” and he replied, “You dumped me here!”

Tommie Brent, the daughter of Cora’s brother Willie, said that Cora had a huge buffet every Christmas. Tommie’s favorite at the buffet was the caviar. She says that Cora was very picky and everything had to be perfect. Cora used to go to the various Brent houses on Sunday to visit and enjoy cocktails.

According to Tommie, Cora and Alba were in Houston on business once and the went to Galveston. While there, the city was hit by a hurricane. They were in their hotel room upstairs when an alarm went off. They were told to come right down to the lobby. The water there was waist high. They managed to get on the last train out of town.

Cora with Alba, left, and Brent

      

Cora and Alba had two sons, Alba Houghton Jr., born in Galveston, Texas, and George Brent, born in El Paso, Texas. Although named after Cora’s twin, George, George Brent was known as Brent.

Alba was a Rhodes scholar and spoke several languages. When I was in high school I came across several poems translated from Latin by Alba and was quite impressed. We visited him once, I believe in Baltimore, and I remember that one of the rooms of his house was wall to wall, floor to ceiling books. He also had paintings hanging on the wall that he checked out of the public library, changing the collection every few weeks as they became due. He served in World War II, taught English at Princeton and William and Mary. Alba died unmarried on 19 December 1985 in Pensacola.

Brent went to the University of Texas, served in World War II as a flight instructor and later was a partner in Cravens Warren Insurance Agency. He and his wife, Katherine Langdon, had five children. My parents were good friends with Brent and Katherine and they visited them several times in Texas over the years.

Cora died 27 April 1967 in Pensacola. She and Alba are buried in Holy Cross Cemetery in Pensacola.


Related Links
Bible record of baptism of Cora Emily Brent and her twin George
Record of birth in the Brent family Bible
Photos of Cora as a child
Cora Brent, Queen of Mardi Gras
Francis Celestino Brent with four of his daughters
Marriage License & Certificate of Cora Emily Brent and Alba Houghton Warren
Bridal photos of Cora Brent
Photos of the Brent home on La Rua set up for the wedding of Cora and Alba More photos of Cora Brent
More photos of Alba Houghton Warren
Obituary of Cora Brent Warren
Obituary of Alba Houghton Warren
Photos of Alba Jr. and Brent Warren
Photos of Brent & Katherine Warren and Jean & Chuck Healy




Photographs:
Top: Cora Emily Brent as a young woman. From the collection of Jean Healy.

Center, right: Alba Houghton Warren and Cora Emily Brent. This picture was taken on the porch of the Brent family home on La Rua in Pensacola, probably sometime around 1911. From the collection of Jean Healy.

Center, left, Cora Brent, date unknown.

Bottom: Cora Brent Warren with her two sons, Alba, left, and Brent, about 1922. Photograph from Kay Kopycinski, granddaughter of Cora Brent; used with permission.

Many thanks to Kay Kopycinski, Genevieve Hamilton and Tommie Brent for generously providing family information and wonderful memories of Cora and her family.




Anne Healy's Genealogy, Created October 2002
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14 Oct 2009
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