Edward Fuller (Mayflower passenger)

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Mayflower in Plymouth Harbor by William Halsall (1882)

Edward Fuller (c.1575 — winter of 1620/21) was a passenger on the historic 1620 voyage of the ship Mayflower. He was a signatory to the Mayflower Compact and perished with his wife soon after the passengers came ashore to their new settlement at Plymouth.[1]

Early life[edit]

Edward Fuller was baptized at Redenhall, co. Norfolk, England on September 4, 1575. His brother Samuel Fuller, also a Mayflower passenger, were the sons of Robert Fuller, a butcher, and apparently his first wife Sarah Dunkhorn. Robert Fuller was buried in Redenhall on July 1, 1584.[2][3][4][5]

There is very little existent documentation on the life of Edward Fuller in England. In the will of his father Robert Fuller, dated May 19, 1614, he is named as receiving some monies as well as his father’s tenement, which would take place after his mother Frances’ death.[1][5]

Life in Leiden[edit]

Edward Fuller and his brother Samuel Fuller names appear in a Leiden, Holland record, but there is no other information about his life in Holland.[5][6]

The Voyage to the New World[edit]

Signing the Mayflower Compact 1620, a painting by Jean Leon Gerome Ferris 1899

Edward Fuller boarded the Mayflower with a wife whose name is not recorded.[1] He had two known children, Matthew, born about 1605, and Samuel, born about 1608.[1][5] William Bradford, writing in 1651, recorded Mayflower passengers: “Edward Fuller, and his wife, and Samuell, their sonne.”[7]

The Mayflower departed from Plymouth, England aboard the Mayflower on September 6/16, 1620. The small, 100-foot ship had 102 passengers and a crew of about 30-40 in extremely cramped conditions. By the second month out, the ship was being buffeted by strong westerly gales, causing the ship‘s timbers to be badly shaken with caulking failing to keep out sea water, and with passengers, even in their berths, lying wet and ill. This, combined with a lack of proper rations and unsanitary conditions for several months, attributed to what would be fatal for many, especially the majority of women and children. On the way there were two deaths, a crew member and a passenger, but the worst was yet to come after arriving at their destination when, in the space of several months, almost half the passengers perished in cold, harsh, unfamiliar New England winter.[8]

On November 9/19, 1620, after about 3 months at sea, including a month of delays in England, they spotted land, which was the Cape Cod Hook, now called Provincetown Harbor. And after several days of trying to get south to their planned destination of the Colony of Virginia, strong winter seas forced them to return to the harbor at Cape Cod hook, where they anchored on November 11/21. Edward Fuller was a signatory to the Mayflower Compact on 11/21 November 1620, along with his brother Samuel Fuller.[8][9][10]

In Plymouth Colony[edit]

William Bradford’s 1651 recollection of this family: “Edward Fuller and his wife dyed soon after they came ashore; but their sone Samuell is living, and married, and hath *4* children or more.”[11] After the death of Edward Fuller and his wife, their son Samuel, then about age twelve, was taken into the household of his uncle, Dr. Samuel Fuller.[1]

Family[edit]

Edward Fuller was married in England sometime before 1605. His wife’s name is not known.[1][5] Their children were born in England:

  • Matthew Fuller was born c.1605 and died in 1678 in Barnstable. He married Frances ____ about 1630 and had five children. He came to Plymouth Colony almost twenty years after his parents and brother Samuel, arriving before October 26, 1640. He lived first in Plymouth, moving to Barnstable after 1648. He was a doctor and a militia lieutenant and was a colony leader. In 1671 Capt. Matthew Fuller was added to the Council of War.[5][12]
  • Samuel Fuller was born c.1608. At his parent's demise, he came under the care of his uncle, Samuel Fuller, probably in very early 1621. In the 1623 Division of Land, he was listed as “Samuell fuller Juneor” and in the 1627 Division of Cattle he was listed as “Samuell fuller Junior” with his uncle Samuel Fuller. He became a freeman in 1634 and married Jane Lathrop on April 5/8, 1635 in Scituate. They had nine children, though several died young. He moved to Barnstable by August 1641 and died there on October 31, 1683.[5][6][13][14]

Death and burial of Edward Fuller and his wife[edit]

Edward Fuller and his wife died, per Bradford, sometime after the Plymouth settlement was established, possibly in January 1621. They were buried in the Coles Hill Burial Ground in Plymouth, possibly in unmarked graves, as were so many who died that winter. They are memorialized on the Pilgrim Memorial Tomb on Coles Hill, as “Edward Fuller and his wife.”[15]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f Caleb H. Johnson, The Mayflower and Her Passengers (Indiana: Xlibris Corp., copyright 2006 Caleb Johnson), p. 144.
  2. ^ Caleb H. Johnson, The Mayflower and Her Passengers (Indiana: Xlibris Corp., copyright 2006 Caleb Johnson), pp. 144, 146.
  3. ^ Charles Edward Banks, The English Ancestry and Homes of the Pilgrim Fathers (New York: Grafton Press, 1929), p. 55
  4. ^ Eugene Aubrey Stratton, Plymouth Colony: Its History and People, 1620-1691, (Salt Lake City: Ancestry Publishing, 1986), p. 295
  5. ^ a b c d e f g A genealogical profile of Edward Fuller, (a collaboration of Plimoth Plantation and New England Historic Genealogical Society accessed 2013)
  6. ^ a b Robert Charles Anderson, Pilgrim Village Family Sketch: Edward Fuller (a collaboration between American Ancestors and New England Historic Genealogical Society)
  7. ^ Eugene Aubrey Stratton, Plymouth Colony: Its History and People, 1620-1691, (Salt Lake City: Ancestry Publishing, 1986), p. 406
  8. ^ a b Eugene Aubrey Stratton. Plymouth Colony: Its History and People, 1620-1691, (Salt Lake City: Ancestry Publishing, 1986), p. 413
  9. ^ Caleb H. Johnson, The Mayflower and Her Passengers (Indiana: Xlibris Corp., copyright 2006 Caleb Johnson), pp. 144, 147
  10. ^ George Ernest Bowman, The Mayflower Compact and its signers, (Boston: Massachusetts Society of Mayflower Descendants, 1920), Photocopies of the 1622, 1646 and 1669 versions of the document, pp. 7-19.
  11. ^ Eugene Aubrey Stratton, Plymouth Colony: Its History and People, 1620-1691, (Salt Lake City: Ancestry Publishing, 1986), p. 409
  12. ^ Eugene Aubrey Stratton, Plymouth Colony: Its History and People, 1620-1691, (Salt Lake City: Ancestry Publishing, 1986), pp. 103, 294-295
  13. ^ Caleb H. Johnson, The Mayflower and Her Passengers (Indiana: Xlibris Corp., copyright 2006 Caleb Johnson), p. 145
  14. ^ Eugene Aubrey Stratton, Plymouth Colony: Its History and People, 1620-1691, (Salt Lake City: Ancestry Publishing, 1986), pp. 416, 424
  15. ^ Memorial of Edward Fuller