George Taylor Fulford
George Taylor Fulford
|Senate for Brockville, Ontario|
January 29, 1900 – October 15, 1905
|Appointed by||Wilfrid Laurier|
August 8, 1852|
Brockville, Upper Canada
|Died||October 15, 1905
George Taylor Fulford (August 8, 1852 – October 15, 1905) was a Canadian businessman and politician.
Life and Family
In 1880, Fulford married Mary Wilder White (1856–1946), a socialite from Wisconsin, and had three children. Dorothy Marston (1881–1949), their eldest, married Arthur Charles Hardy, son of former Ontario Premier Arthur Sturgis Hardy, in 1901 in a ceremony at Fulford Place, the family estate. Martha Harris (1883–1910) died young, while giving birth. The long-awaited male heir arrived much later and after one near-fatal miscarriage, when Mary Fulford was 46 years of age. George Taylor II (1902–1987) was a politician himself (Member of the Canadian House of Commons) and owned Fulford Place until his death.
Fulford went to business college in Belleville, Ontario, and apprenticed with his brother, William, who was a dispensing chemist in Brockville. He took over his brother’s modest apothecary in 1874 and eventually built on it to form a successful patent medicine company.
He was elected to the town council in 1879 and served as an alderman for 12 terms. He was involved with the Liberal Party of Canada and became a friend of Sir Wilfrid Laurier. He was appointed to the Canadian Senate in 1900 representing the senatorial division of Brockville, Ontario. He served until his death in 1905.
George Taylor Fulford is reported to be the first Canadian fatal automobile accident victim on record. On October 8, 1905, he was riding in a chauffered open roadster in Newton, Massachusetts with his business partner Willis T. Hanson, of Schenectady, N.Y., when it slammed into the side of a streetcar while crossing a blind intersection, ejecting all three occupants. Fulford died seven days later, at age fifty-three. His widow never remarried. ( W.T. Hanson, not critically injured, assumed management of the Canadian and foreign business of the Dr. Williams Co., in addition to his own U.S. franchise. The chauffeur died of head trauma October 11.)
Fulford was a philanthropist, giving considerable donations to institutions such as the Brockville Rowing Club, the Wall Street Methodist Church, the Brockville General Hospital, and the YMCA; in his will, he left a large sum of money to establish a home for indigent women.
Conspiracist Benjamin Fulford, former journalist for Forbes magazine in Japan, alleges to be George's great-grandson and that he was murdered in a conspiracy by the Rockefeller family (who made millions with Standard Oil) because he was going to fund Nikola Tesla's research into Free Energy. According to Benjamin Fulford, the driver allegedly caused the fatal collision (but himself survived) after having been given one weeks notice at the time of the crash. At the time of his death he was the largest single shareholder in General Electric and was considering buying a company called General Motors.
In January 1887, Fulford registered G. T. Fulford & Co. in the Leeds County Registrar, as a vendor and manufacturer of patent medicines. In 1890, a local McGill-trained physician, Dr. William Jackson, sold him the rights to Pink Pills for Pale People for $53.01. This patent medicine would make him a millionaire.
Dr. Williams' Pink Pills for Pale People were marketed in 87 countries worldwide, including Canada, Britain, France, Belgium, South Africa, Singapore, Australia and China. Fulford was an innovative advertiser. He relied heavily on testimonials, submitted by customers, of miraculous recoveries. He would have these printed in newspapers in a way that it was difficult to differentiate news articles from the advertisements, so readers would see headlines proclaiming these miraculous recoveries, and read on to learn that they were saved by Pink Pills. By 1900, he was spending £200,000 yearly in Britain alone on advertising.
Dr William’s Pink Pills for Pale People were sold in Canada for fifty cents per box, or $2.50 for six boxes. Essentially, they were an iron supplement, containing mostly sugar, starch and an iron sulphate. While not the cure-all they were marketed to be, in an age where anaemia was common, the pills truly did make people feel better.
After Fulford’s death, G. T. Fulford & Co. was managed by different associates, and only went into receivership in 1989. He is a telling example of successful entrepreneur, and illustrates the profitability of patent medicines during that period.
The Fulfords, growing even wealthier, had a mansion built for them in Brockville, Ontario on the shore of the St. Lawrence River where several other beautiful estates were located, many of which were owned by other successful businesspeople. In 1898, Fulford commissioned their estate, known as Fulford Place, to be built on the King’s Highway, on the eastern edge of Brockville. Architect A.W. Fuller from Albany, New York, designed Fulford Place and it was elaborately decorated in the Beaux-Arts style. It was finished in 1901, and had 35 rooms making up 20,000 square feet. Since Fulford was an important figure in both the political world and the business scene, entertaining was one of Fulford Place’s primary functions. The house thus contains a grand hall, a dining room to seat over fifty guests, a spacious verandah, and a rococo-style drawing room for the ladies and a Moorish smoking room adjacent to a billiard room for the gentlemen.
Notably, the grounds at Fulford Place were designed by the Olmsted Brothers, and the recently restored formal Italianate garden is a rare and important example of a privately owned Olmsted-designed garden.
The property was reduced to three of its original 10 acres (40,000 m2) when George Taylor Fulford II was forced to section off prime lots of real estate to sell in order to afford the maintenance of the house. He remained proprietor of Fulford Place until his death, when he bequeathed it to the Ontario Heritage Foundation (now Ontario Heritage Trust). All of its original contents were later donated by his widow and his son, George Taylor Fulford III. The Trust did extensive restoration on it, and opened it to the public as a house museum in 1993. It has been interpreted to how it looked in the Edwardian era; this was done relatively accurately because of the existence of early photographs of rooms (taken for insurance purposes) and a collection of original artifacts (not reproductions). The opulent and lavishly furnished mansion has been designated a National Historic Site, and is a major tourist attraction in the Brockville area.
In 1904, Fulford bought a 138-foot (42 m) long steam-powered yacht. Originally named The Cangarda, he rechristened it The Magedoma  after his family (MAry, GEorge, DOrothy, MArtha). They entertained many guests on this ship, including several Canadian Prime Ministers, and, in 1927, the Prince of Wales, the Duke of Kent, and the British Prime Minister. The Fulfords lent the Magedoma to the Canadian Navy during World War II as a training vessel in the St. Lawrence. It was returned to them in 1947 heavily damaged, and with $13,000 in lieu of repairs. They sold the boat shortly after, and it has changed hands several times since then, and it is now being restored. Magedoma Drive, a street in Brockville, was named after the famous boat.
G. T. Fulford I in Literature
- Parliamentarian File: FULFORD, George Taylor (Jr.), Library of Parliament (Canada)
- Dictionary of Canadian Biography Online
- (Japanese) http://benjaminfulford.com
- Ontario Heritage Trust - Fulford Place (Brockville)
- Cangarda - Classic Steam Yacht Restoration - Power & Motoryacht - Cangarda - A Classic Steam Yacht
- Mary Fulford (1856-1946) - Mackenzie King - Exhibitions - Library and Archives Canada
- Brian Busby. Character Parts: Who's Really Who in CanLit. Toronto: Knopf Canada, 2003: 219-220.