Thomas Wafer Fuller

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Thomas Wafer Fuller
Thomas Wafer Fuller.jpg
Early photograph of Louisiana State Senator Thomas W. Fuller
Louisiana State Senator from Bienville, Bossier and Webster parishes
In office
1896–1900
Preceded by G. L. P. Wren

W. L. Stroud

Succeeded by E. S. Dortch
Superintendent of Webster Parish Schools
In office
1908–1920
Preceded by John M. Davies
Succeeded by Edwin Sanders Richardson
Personal details
Born (1867-05-28)May 28, 1867
Minden, Webster Parish
Died December 20, 1920(1920-12-20) (aged 53)
Minden, Louisiana
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Alma Bright Fuller (married 1891–1920, his death)
Children Lee Aura Fuller Griffin

Xenia Doyle Fuller Ruffin
Miriam Rupert Fuller White

Parents Thomas Walker Fuller

Margaret Wafer Fuller

Alma mater Centenary College of Louisiana
Occupation Educator
Newspaperman
Fuller-White House in Minden, Louisiana, is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Faded gravestone of state Senator Thomas Fuller in family plot in Minden Cemetery

Thomas Wafer Fuller (May 28, 1867 – December 20, 1920) was an educator and newspaperman from Minden, Louisiana,[1] who served as a Democrat in the Louisiana State Senate from 1896 to 1900.[2]

Fuller's area Senate colleague was J. A. W. Lowery; the two represented Bienville, Bossier, and Webster parishes. Thereafter, a single-member district was created for Bossier and Webster parishes with E. S. Dortch as the senator from 1900 to 1908. One of Fuller's Senate colleagues was Samuel Lawrason of West and East Feliciana parishes, the author of the Lawrason Act, which defines the scope of municipal government in Louisiana.[2]

Background[edit]

Fuller was the fifth of six children born to a planter, lawyer, Confederate captain, and district attorney,[3] Thomas Walker Fuller (1828–1896), a native of Houston County, Georgia.[4] His mother was the former Margaret A. Wafer (1832–1880) of then Claiborne Parish, from which Webster Parish was severed in 1871.[5] Margaret Fuller was a graduate of the former Minden Female College.[3] Thomas Walker and Margaret Wafer Fuller are interred in the former Fuller Memorial Shrine Cemetery behind West Union Street in Minden.[6]

In 1890, Fuller graduated at the age of twenty-three from the Methodist-affiliated Centenary College in Jackson, Louisiana, later relocated to Shreveport, where one of his classmates was future Governor Oramel H. Simpson.[7] For a time, Fuller taught school in Sibley, south of Minden.[1]

Superintendent and publisher[edit]

In 1908, upon the death of John M. Davies, Fuller became only the second Webster Parish school superintendent, a position that he retained for the last twelve years of his life. At the time the superintendent ran in a parishwide plebiscite, from which the school board members made the final selection. Fuller narrowly led in the election with 35 percent of the vote and was chosen by the board after it was deemed that his principal opponent lacked the educational credentials to be superintendent. Fuller was succeeded as superintendent by E. S. Richardson, a Webster Parish native and a former superintendent in neighboring Bienville Parish, who later became the president of Louisiana Tech University in Ruston.[1]

In 1915, Fuller attended the convention of the National Education Association in Cincinnati, Ohio, where he became acquainted with the agricultural extension and home demonstration agent programs. He soon named, with school board approval, Mrs. Julia Cookey as the first home demonstration agent in Webster Parish.[8]

From 1891 to 1894 and again from 1917 until his death, Fuller published the former Webster Signal, a weekly newspaper founded in 1864 and one of the numerous forerunners of what in 1966 became the daily Minden Press-Herald newspaper. The Signal's competitor at the time was the Minden Democrat, and the two publications contested for legal advertising revenues from the various governmental entities. Fuller sold The Signal in 1894 to James Peter Kent, Sr., and then re-purchased it in 1917.[9] In 1926, Mrs. Fuller merged The Signal with the Minden Tribune to become the Webster Signal-Tribune, which operated under that name until 1937.

Death and family[edit]

Fuller died at his Minden home at the age of fifty-three as a result of complications from an appendectomy.[10] Fuller was married in 1891 to the former Mary Alma Bright (November 16, 1871 – June 3, 1949), a daughter of Edward Clarence Bright (1840–1893) of Tennessee and the former Texana Phillips (1845–1893), who was born in Alabama but raised in Ouachita Parish, LA.[11]

Thomas and Alma Fuller had three daughters, Lee Aura Fuller Griffin (born 1895),[12] Xenia Doyle Fuller Ruffin, and Miriam Rupert Fuller White (1900–1983), and sons-in-law, Robert M. Griffin (born 1896), a native of Henderson, Texas,[12] and Trueheart H. Ruffin (born 1895), a native of DeSoto Parish, LA and Russell Lanier White (1898–1967) of Minden. A subsequent granddaughter, Miriam White King, was born in 1929. Thomas and Alma Fuller are interred at the Fuller-White plot in the old Section A at the historic Minden Cemetery.[13]

The Fuller-White House (built 1905) at 229 West Union Street in Minden, is located down a hill from the front campus of Minden High School. It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The house has five upstairs bedrooms, with parlors, a study, and kitchen on the bottom floor. It is not open for public touring, but the caretaker may conduct individual tours when he is on the property. Fuller lived there for at least the last five years of his life. After his death, Alma Fuller resided there as she continued publishing the Webster Signal.[10]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c "Webster Parish historian John Agan, "Webster Superintendents of Schools"". mindenmemories.org. Retrieved June 6, 2011. 
  2. ^ a b "Membership in the Louisiana State Senate, 1880-2012". legis.state.la.us. Retrieved August 12, 2011. 
  3. ^ a b "Capt. Thomas W. Fuller". files.usgwarchives.net. Retrieved August 20, 2011. 
  4. ^ "Thomas Wafer Fuller". wileyfamilyofshongaloo.familytreeguide.com. Retrieved August 20, 2011. 
  5. ^ "Mabry Wafer -- Louisiana". genforum.genealogy.com. Retrieved August 20, 2011. 
  6. ^ "Capt. Thomas W. Fuller". findagrave.com. Retrieved August 20, 2011. 
  7. ^ "Centenary College Alumni, Faculty, Trustees, etc., 1827-1931". files.usgwarchives.net. Retrieved August 20, 2011. 
  8. ^ "Model School System in Parish". Minden Signal-Tribune and Springhill Journal, Historical Edition, April 30, 1971, in Webster Parish Library in Minden, Louisiana
  9. ^ "Signal Was Founded in Year 1864: Parish Owes Much to the Recording of This Paper", Minden Signal-Tribune and Springhill Journal, Historical Edition, April 30, 1971
  10. ^ a b Statement of Ted Polk of Magnolia, Arkansas, the caretaker of the Fuller-White House, Minden, Louisiana, August 15, 2011
  11. ^ "Mary Alma Bright". wileyfamilyofshongaloo.familytreeguide.com. Retrieved August 20, 2011. 
  12. ^ a b "Lee Aura Fuller". wileyfamilyofshongaloo.familytreeguide.com. Retrieved August 20, 2011. 
  13. ^ Minden Cemetery records
Political offices
Preceded by
G. L. P. Wren

W. L. Stroud

Louisiana State Senator from Bossier, Bienville, and Webster parishes

Thomas Wafer Fuller
1896–1900

Succeeded by
E. S. Dortch
Preceded by
John M. Davies
Webster Parish School Superintendent

Thomas Wafer Fuller
1908–1920

Succeeded by
Edwin Sanders Richardson