Thomas Wafer Fuller
|Thomas Wafer Fuller|
|Early photograph of Louisiana State Senator Thomas W. Fuller|
|Louisiana State Senator for Bienville, Bossier and Webster parishes|
|Preceded by||G. L. P. Wren
W. L. Stroud
|Succeeded by||E. S. Dortch|
|Superintendent of Webster Parish Schools|
|Preceded by||John M. Davies|
|Succeeded by||Edwin Sanders Richardson|
May 28, 1867|
Minden, Webster Parish
|Died||December 20, 1920
|Spouse(s)||Alma Bright Fuller (married 1891–1920, his death)|
|Children||Lee Aura Fuller Griffin
Xenia Doyle Fuller Ruffin
|Parents||Thomas Walker Fuller
Margaret Wafer Fuller
|Alma mater||Minden Male Academy
Fuller's Senate colleague from Bossier Parish was J. A. W. Lowry, who died in 1899; the two represented Bienville, Bossier, Claiborne, and Webster parishes. Thereafter, a single-member district was created for Bossier and Webster parishes with E. S. Dortch of Haughton in Bossier Parish as the senator from 1900 to 1908. One of the Senate colleagues of Fuller and Lowry was Samuel Lawrason of West and East Feliciana parishes, the author of the Lawrason Act, which defines the scope of municipal government in Louisiana.
Fuller was the fifth of six children born to a planter, lawyer, Confederate captain, and district attorney, Thomas Walker Fuller (1828–1896), a native of Houston County, Georgia. His mother was the former Margaret A. Wafer (1832–1880) of then Claiborne Parish, from which Webster Parish was severed in 1871. Margaret Fuller was a graduate of the former Minden Female College. Thomas Walker and Margaret Wafer Fuller are interred in the former Fuller Memorial Shrine Cemetery behind West Union Street in Minden.
Fuller attended the former Minden Male Academy, a forerunner to Minden High School. In 1890, he 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. For a time, Fuller taught school in Sibley, south of Minden.
Superintendent and publisher
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.
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.
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, and then re-purchased it in 1917. 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
Fuller died at his Minden home at the age of fifty-three as a result of complications from an appendectomy. 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, Louisiana.
Thomas and Alma Fuller had three daughters, Lee Aura Fuller Griffin (born 1895), Xenia Doyle Fuller Ruffin (c. 1898-1977), and Miriam Rupert Fuller White (1900–1983), and sons-in-law, Robert M. Griffin (born 1896), a native of Henderson, Texas, and Trueheart H. Ruffin (born 1895), a native of DeSoto Parish, 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.
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.
- "Webster Parish historian John Agan, "Webster Superintendents of Schools"". mindenmemories.org. Retrieved June 6, 2011.
- "Membership in the Louisiana State Senate, 1880-2012" (PDF). legis.state.la.us. Retrieved August 12, 2011.
- "Capt. Thomas W. Fuller". files.usgwarchives.net. Retrieved August 20, 2011.
- "Thomas Wafer Fuller". wileyfamilyofshongaloo.familytreeguide.com. Retrieved August 20, 2011.
- "Mabry Wafer -- Louisiana". genforum.genealogy.com. Retrieved August 20, 2011.
- "Capt. Thomas W. Fuller". findagrave.com. Retrieved August 20, 2011.
- "Centenary College Alumni, Faculty, Trustees, etc., 1827-1931". files.usgwarchives.net. Retrieved August 20, 2011.
- "Model School System in Parish". Minden Signal-Tribune and Springhill Journal, Historical Edition, April 30, 1971, in Webster Parish Library in Minden, Louisiana
- "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
- Statement of Ted Polk of Magnolia, Arkansas, the caretaker of the Fuller-White House, Minden, Louisiana, August 15, 2011
- "Mary Alma Bright". wileyfamilyofshongaloo.familytreeguide.com. Retrieved August 20, 2011.
- "Lee Aura Fuller". wileyfamilyofshongaloo.familytreeguide.com. Retrieved August 20, 2011.
- "Xenia Fuller Ruffin", Minden Press-Herald, September 6, 1977, p. 1
- Minden Cemetery records
G. L. P. Wren
W. L. Stroud
|Louisiana State Senator for Bossier, Bienville, and Webster parishes
Thomas Wafer Fuller
E. S. Dortch
John M. Davies
|Webster Parish School Superintendent
Thomas Wafer Fuller
Edwin Sanders Richardson