Pioneer History by Richard C. Schmal

The Fuller Family

(from the June 5, 1991, Lowell Tribune)

Early ancestors of the Fuller family came from England by way of Holland in the early 1600's, when some were part of the band of pilgrims who made their escape from the religious persecution in England. According to a publication written by William H. Fuller in 1914, Robert Fuller, direct ancestor of the division of the family that eventually settled in Lake County, Indiana, arrived in America aboard one of the four vessels that landed in the New World between 1635 and 1640.

The family settled in the New England territory until the western movement began around the early 1800's, when family members scattered throughout Ohio, Indiana, Nebraska, Oklahoma and Louisiana. Many of the men served in the Revolutionary War with high honors, and many were doctors, lawyers, merchants, farmers and even governors. Many of the early families boasted 10 to 15 children.

The Lake County Census of 1840, showing only heads of families, lists James, Jeduthan and Oliver Fuller. Frank Fuller, who arrived in 1839, was not listed.

In his 1904 book Encyclopedia of Genealogy and Biography of Lake County, Indiana author and historian Rev. Timothy Ball wrote: "James Fuller, with his large family, with more means than many of the early settlers, came to the county about 1840. He had nine sons and one daughter, perhaps more than one." The daughter, Samantha Fuller, who married Abram Nichols, a 1837 Lowell pioneer, has been written about many times in this column.

James Fuller, (1790-1861) was born in New Hamsphire, moved to Maine, and came to Indiana by way of Ohio. His wife, Lydia Dodge, was born in Maine in 1790 and died at Lowell in 1852. Their children were: Oliver; James Jr. (1816-1884); Frank (died 1892); Richard (1829-1918); Woodbury (died 1862); John M. (1837-1905); and Samantha, born in 1815.

The following is information received recently from historian Gerald Born, a Fuller relative of Hammond and Morocco: "Richard Fuller, who was the tenth child of James and Lydia Dodge Fuller, was born in Athens County, Ohio, in 1829, and was 10 years of age when he came to Lake County with his parents... Their land, purchased from the Government, was two miles east of Lowell, where the parents spent their remaining years.

"He received his early education in one of the early log school houses, worked with his father on the family farm, and later went into farming for himself. At one time, he operated over one thousand acres for the Land Company at Shelby. He married Deborah Hale (died in July 1872), a native of Maine. They were the parents of 11 children. Richard Fuller was listed among the many Fuller relatives who served in The Civil War."

In Rev. Ball's Book, Lake County, 1884, it is written: "Frank Fuller, who married a daughter of George Ferguson, was an early settler in the Belshaw neighborhood, has for many years been living in Crown Point, Ind. He has two sons and seven daughters."

Franklin 'Frank' Fuller (1860-1910), son of Frank, married Mary Ellen Clay, born in 1862, who came with her parents to Crown Point from Pennsylvania. Mary Ellen died in 1930 and was buried at Hot Springs, Ark. Franklin was killed by a train in 1910.

The two children of Franklin and Mary Ellen Fuller were William Arthur Fuller and Elizabeth E. Fuller Fox. William Arthur, also known as Art, was born in Crown Point in 1883 and died at Lowell in 1938. He married Hazel Shurte of Lowell, who was born in 1888. Their children were: Mable Hoelle, Harold S., Robert D., Donald Gene, Neleeta Dawn Greenwood, Junior Arthur, and Mary Ruth Fringer.

William Arthur Fuller and his family moved from Crown Point to Grovertown, Starke County, in about 1911, where he engaged in onion farming. They moved about the year 1916 to a farm southwest of Lowell and stayed until 1918, when they moved into the Town of Lowell.

Neleeta and Mary Ruth are now living in California. Family members still living in the Lowell area include Pauline Wood (Mrs. Harold) Fuller; her sons, Richard H. Fuller and Paul D. Fuller, and their families; Donald and Mary June (Stout) Fuller, and their son, Gene Fuller, and his family.

Information for this family history column was furnished by Richard and Sandy (Turner) Fuller of Lowell.

Many men of the Fuller family took part in the Civil War, including Woodbury Fuller, son of Lake County pioneer James Fuller, who was killed at the Battle of Shiloh (or Pittsburg Landing) fought Apr.6 and 7, 1862, twenty miles north of Corinth, Miss.

The names of Civil War veterans on the Lowell monument were listed with only their initials, so we have tried to place the proper name when possible on the following Fuller family veterans: G.W. Fuller, 20th Ind. Vol. Inf.; W. Fuller, 38th Ind. Vol. Inf.; Joseph M. Fuller, 73rd; Archibald D. Fuller, 99th Ind. Vol. Inf.; Robert W. Fuller, died during the war at Indianapolis, 1863; Ralph L. Fuller, 12th Ind. Cavalry, died at home 1864; Albert L. Fuller, 20th Ind. Vol. Inf.; Horace Fuller, killed at the Battle of Wilderness, Va., May 5-6, 1864; Richard Fuller, 151st Ind. Inf.; and J.W. Fuller, 12th Iowa Cavalry. Many more of the Fuller relatives are listed.

"Fuller's Island" was drawn on an old 1891 map of Lake County made by historian Ball. Later maps show "Fuller Island." It was the site of homes of some of the early Fuller family members, and seems to be one of the highest elevations on State Rd. 55 between State Rd. 2 and the town of Shelby. It is bordered on the north and the west by the Griesel drainage ditch, and on he south by the Singleton Ditch. The present 203rd Ave. travels over this high spot in the Kankakee Valley.

The Lake County Directory, 1909 included the following names: Edward Fuller, Washington St., Lowell; D. Fuller and Floyd Fuller, farmers at Schneider; Allen Fuller, farmer, Shelby; Richard Fuller, Hotel, Shelby. Also listed for Shelby were Clara, Hannah, Frank, Walter, Mary and Emily; Clarence, Edward and Frank Fuller, who farmed in Cedar Creek Twp.; H.D. Fuller and Flora, who farmed near Creston. Elmer, Harry and David Fuller were listed as farming near Schneider in West Creek Twp.

The Fuller name can be found on tombstones in Lowell Cemetery, Sanders Cemetery, Creston Cemetery, Orchard Grove Cemetery, and the Fuller Family Cemetery in West Creek Twp. The family is related to the majority of the pioneer families of Lake County.

Last updated on October 19, 2005.

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