Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Charles & Lydia Fuller

Charles Samuel Fuller (1835-1878), my 2nd great grandfather, was born in Benton, Maine in November of 1835, son to railroad worker Samuel Bean Fuller and his wife Sarah Ann Osborn.

Lydia Osborn (1845-1918), daughter to Timothy Osborn and Lydia Burrill, was born in 1845 and was Charles' 2nd cousin.  She grew up in the Osborn Homestead in Fairfield.  Her father and Charles' father were involved in a few real estate transactions, in addition to Samuel being married to Timothy's first cousin.

Charles married Lydia in Fairfield on the eve of 1860 new year, when Lydia was just 14.  They lived in Waterville at the Fuller property on Front Street.

When his parents set out for Ottumwa, Iowa during the Civil War to set up a dry goods business, Charles stayed behind in Waterville, from whence he was drafted in June of 1863 in Captain A.P. Davis' Regiment.  On his draft papers, he was listed as working as an Engineer.

Draft Listing for Waterville, ME
Maine Farmer
July 23, 1863

According to Harold M. Fuller, Charles' grandson, his father Arthur told him about his childhood trip to Iowa. The year was 1873 and Charles and his wife, Lydia, made the decision  to leave Maine to join his parents and siblings in Iowa where they had migrated several years before. Charles left his job as a railroad engineer in Fairfield and the family headed west. At first, it's likely they rode the railroad; then in Illinois they joined a wagon train to go on to Ottumwa, Iowa.  Arthur remembered his father being ill along the way. He also remembered friendly Indians and a frame house on the edge of the prairie; Arthur was about 7 years old at the time.

After Charles' death in 1878, his wife Lydia had to wait until Charles' will was settled. The lawyer had lost the documents in a storm and it was necessary to get depositions from the original witnesses who were still in Maine. It took 2 years to do this.  Then she and her children returned. Lydia's father Timothy Osborn sent her the money to come home as she was penniless after waiting so long in Iowa with her children.

He and Lydia's children were as follows:

1.  Ida Lydia Fuller (1862 – 1947) never married.  Like her brother Arthur, Ida also was a published author.  In the early 1900's she published a book of poems called "Driftwood", while serving as a live-in maid to a wealthy Bangor family, until she eventually went blind in her old age, and lived at the Bangor Home for the Aged Women on State Street.  She is buried at Mount Hope Cemetery in Bangor:

2.  Charles T Fuller (1864 – 1865) died as a baby

3.  Anna Florence Fuller (1865 –1951) (also known as Florence) made the journey to Ottumwa as a young girl.  She lived briefly in Ottumwa as a child, but went back home with her mother after Charles' death.  She lived in Hartland and Skowhegan, Maine, and married Mark Hobart.  No children.  When her husband Mark died in 1939, Florence went to live in a small home in Norridgewock with a couple other widowed elders.  She died in Skowhegan of chronic nephritis, and was also blind.  She is buried at the Skowhegan Southside Cemetery in a solo plot, while her husband is buried with his first wife.

4.  Arthur William Fuller (1867 – 1940) was my great grandfather.  He lived briefly in Ottumwa, but came back with his mother, and married Lorena Murch (many years younger than her) and settled in Bangor, and later Portland where he died.  Arthur's descendants represent the only living descendants of Charles and Lydia.

5.  Timothy O. Fuller (1870 – 1873) died at 3 years of age, during the journey to Ottumwa.  He was the first family burial at Ottumwa Cemetery.

6.  Frederick W. Fuller (1874 – 1880) was born in Ottumwa, Iowa, yet died in Maine at 5 years of age, not long after the journey back to Maine.

7.  Edith Martha Fuller (1877 – 1946) was born in Iowa City, Iowa, but her father Charles died when she was an infant. She and the family moved back to Fairfield, Maine, and she likely never had any memories of Iowa or the trip back east.  She later lived in Hartland, Athens, and Bangor.  She was working as a servant to widow Ida Milliken in Bangor for the 1940 Census.  Like her elder sister Ida, she also tried her hand at poetry.

(ca. 1917)

Family legend has it that Charles was very ill with heart troubles the entire journey to Iowa.  Their son Timothy died during the journey, at the tender age of 3.  Charles died in 1878, less than five years after arriving, at the very young age of 42, and was buried next to Timothy.

Lydia wasn't prepared to settle his estate, and she had to send for family friends from Maine to testify in Iowa during the probate hearings.  Once the ordeal was finished in 1880, Lydia moved back to Maine with the five remaining children:  Ida, Anna, Arthur, Frederick, and Edith.  Little Frederick died soon after the return trip, at the age of 6.  Lydia's father set up the Emery House (which was now in his ownership), which had been the headquarters of General Benedict Arnold in his October 1775 Quebec Expedition.


Lydia lived here until 1884, when she married William Henry Moody, and moved to Athens, Maine in Somerset County, and lived the remainder of her life there.

In 1909, Lydia's daughters, spinsters Ida and Edith, worked with their new stepfather William on building of a new bungalow style home on the site of the former Herman Tuttle home:

Skowhegan Independent Reporter
Dec 9, 1909

Lydia is remembered fondly by survivors' accounts.  She was a great peacemaker between her children, grandchildren, and her 2nd husband.

Below is an excerpt from one descendant's account of what happened after Charles' death:
Wrote to her father, Timothy Osborn, and told him she was a widow, destitute with children. He bought the log cabin that had been boarded over (House where Benedict Arnold stayed) and was located adjacent to Emery Hill Brook, where I-95 now crosses the Kennebec River. It was the first house built in Fairfield back in the 1700 generation. Timothy then sent Lydia money for her return from out west and she lived in this house until she re-married to William Henry Moody.   Benedict Arnold had stayed in this cabin for three days, dead drunk. A letter to this was found in the cabin by George Lewis who lived there from 1930 - 1970. The house has now been torn down. This letter has been sent to the National Archives in Washington, D.C. After Lydia died her house in Athens and all its contents burned.
The above refers to "Emery House" which at one time was the oldest house in Fairfield, and was located near Emery Hill Cemetery (where Lydia was buried).  This house has indeed achieved notoriety for its link to Benedict Arnold.

Below is a quote from Lydia's nephew, Elwood Noyes Osborne, retelling an amusing story of his time in 1915 visiting his aunt on the Moody Farm when he was young:

When I was about twelve years old, Dad got word that Henry Moody's only driving horse had died and he could ill afford another.   It was spring time and Dad had a horse that was a good "roader", independent, and refused to work with other horses so he talked it over with Mother and they decided to give the horse, "Harry", to Aunt Lydia and Henry so they would not have to walk to town.  Over my Mother's protests Dad suggested I could ride the horse bare-back except for a small blanket to deliver it and then stay a few days to visit until he would come for me. It was spring vacation time and I was enthusiastic. It was a trip of about 24 miles with short cuts and after the first ten my rear became increasingly ill at ease but I did not dare dismount enroute as Harry had a mind of his own and probably did not like the load on his back, so I stuck with it until I got there. That trip made a very lasting impression on me, especially below the waist, but also for another reason.
The second day I was there I was out watching Uncle Henry clean out the cows. His method intrigued me. Henry had the first litter carrier I had ever seen. The barn was located on a knoll and he had built a trestle out from the barn with a timber track and a cart that traveled the wooden rails secured by a rope over a pulley in the barn with a weight on the top end in the barn and when the load on the cart slightly exceeded the counterweight Henry would stop on a little platform in the rear and ride down to the end of the trestle, release the hinged door on the far end, dump the load, and then the counterweight would descent to the basement as it pulled the cart and Henry back into the barn. The cart track had a stop at the bottom to compliment the arrangement. Winter's accumulation was at the end of the ramp trestle and wet from the spring thaw. Henry had a long flowing beard and as I watched in amazement as he descended with the second load and his beard flying in the breeze, the rope parted and the cart and Henry made the remaining distance to the stop in nothing flat. The cart automatically dumped as Henry flew over the cart fact first down the very damp side of the winter accumulation. When he got to his feet I could only see his eyes above the accumulated beard, and I laughed. Henry started for me in a rage. He stopped to get a cudgel and that gave me enough lead-time to get into the thick pine woods behind the barn and house. I climbed a thick tree and clung near the top like a squirrel and very quiet.
Henry hunted me and called to no avail and finally headed back to the barn muttering like a mad bull. I waited a bit and then descended the tree and deployed through the woods to the back of the house. I could see Aunt Lydia working in the kitchen so I scampered up to the window and tapped on it. She asked me what I wanted and being assured Henry was not in the house I went around front and in the door. I had just finished telling Aunt Lydia about the incident and she was laughing until he tears came when Henry burst through the door and said, "So, there you are you little brat." Aunt Lydia stopped laughing and her eyes were ablaze as she picked up a cast iron frying pan and said, "Henry, if you lay a hand on this boy I will flatten you." He took one look at her expression, backed out the door and went out to the horse trough to take a bath. He was as nice as could be to me the rest of my visit.

Property Records of William Henry Moody, Sr. and Jr.:

  • 1897 - Moody, Sr. transfers the Tuttle Farm in Athens to his stepson, Arthur Fuller
  • 1900 Census - Moody, Sr. & Lydia lived in Hartland
  • 1901 - Arthur Fuller deeds the Tuttle Farm in Athens to Moody's son, William H. Moody, Jr.
  • 1903 - Moody, Sr. and Moody, Jr. purchase a lot in Cornville, bordering Barker Pond (this deed included the right for use of flowage from pond during cranberry season).  This would be on Route 43 as well, and very close to the borders of Athens (to the west) and Hartland (to the east).
  • 1910 Census - Moody, Sr. & Lydia lived in Hartland
  • 1918 - Lydia dies in Hartland
  • 1920 Census - Moody, Sr. lived in Hartland, with stepdaughters Ida and Edith.  Moody died later that year
Below is an old photo of the Moody House and farm on Route 43, Athens Maine.  I don't know if this is actually the Tuttle Farm in Athens, or if perhaps it's where they lived in what was then known as Hartland.  The borders are very close, so anything is possible.

Current (2012) Google Street View image of what I believe may be the same property, buildings upon which appear to be a smaller replica of the above (the original property had burned):



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