I’m so fortunate to share common ancestors with Paul Bumpus, the Historian General of the General Society of Mayflower Descendants. I’ve been corresponding with him since well before he worked for the Mayflower Society and he was so helpful to me in my Bumpus and allied families research. Paul found evidence that Mary/Molly Fuller was the daughter of Samuel 5 Fuller and Ann Tinkham, opening up multiple Mayflower lines. I’ve heard people say how snooty people involved in the Mayflower Society are, but my personal experience has never found that to be true, and in fact just the opposite.
Samuel Fuller has generally been identified as the son of Robert Fuller, a butcher, and baptized on 20 January 1580 at St. Mary Church, Redenhall, Norfolk. There isn’t strong evidence that he is this Samuel, other than naming patterns and that his father was a butcher, as was the Robert Fuller of Redenhall.
|St. Mary Church Redenhall source: www.norfolkchurches.co.uk|
He married first Alice Glasscock, second Agnes Carpenter, and third Bridget Lee. Nothing is known of Alice. He had two children at Leiden, Holland, by Agnes but neither survived. Agnes died in Leiden as well. Samuel married Bridget Lee in Leiden on 27 May 1617, but came on the Mayflower without her. She arrived in 1623 on the Anne. They had children Mercy and Samuel born in Plymouth. Samuel was a signer of the Mayflower Compact.
Samuel was the Colony's doctor, a surgeon and a church deacon. His wife Bridget may have been a deaconess and is said to have been a midwife and involved in teaching. She gave the church a garden plot in 1664.
|Fuller Family Salt, Pilgrim Hall Museum|
He owned at least 30 books and signed documents with his signature.
|Samuel's signature from mayflowerhistory.com|
Where he learned to be a physician isn’t known, but he was trained in Leiden to be a serge (wool) weaver so one would imagine it took place in Leiden and not England. He may have observed public dissections at the University of Leiden and studied medicinal herbs in the school’s botanical garden. He served as an assistant to the Governor in Plymouth.
|Fuller cradle from Pilgrim Hall Museum|
His will states he lived at Smelt River. At the time of his will, his wife was also very ill and he made arrangements for the care of his daughter Mercy, and the other children in his care named Sarah Converse and William Ring. Bridget did recover, however. He mentions providing for Mercy and Samuel’s education. He also states that George Foster, who seems to have been indentured to Samuel, be returned to his mother. He mentions two servants and a "cousin" Samuel, but perhaps this is actually his nephew. He had a large estate, as he made bequests to many family and friends, including William Brewster, as well as to the church.
|Site of Samuel Fuller's house, Leyden Street, Plymouth|
Samuel’s brother Edward Fuller came over on the Mayflower as well, but died during the first winter. Samuel took in Edward’s son Samuel, then about 12 years of age, so all the Samuels do get confusing!
He spent time helping the sick at Neumkeag (now Salem) in 1629 as there was an outbreak of illness amongst the new arrivals. He himself became sick in the autumn of 1633 and died, as did a number of other Plymouth residents. He was about 53 years of age. There was a smallpox epidemic at the time, but it is not known if that is definitely how he died.
Bridget’s death date is not known but she died after 2 May 1677.
My line from Samuel Fuller, not yet submitted to the Mayflower Society:
1 Samuel Fuller 1579/80 - 1633
+Bridget Lee - 1677
2 Samuel Fuller 1629 - 1695
3 Samuel Fuller 1658 - 1728
+Mercy Eaton 1665 - 1703/04
4 Benjamin Fuller 1695/96 -
5 Samuel Fuller 1724 - 1758
+Ann Tinkham 1726 - 1758
6 Mary Fuller 1748 - 1802
+Jabez Nye 1749 - 1802
7 Desire Nye 1771 - 1858
+David Pierce 1773 – 1820
8 Lucy Nye Pierce 1809 - 1896
+Rowland Sturtevant Bumpus 1804 - 1853
9 Mary Briggs Bumpus 1840 – 1916
+Seth Washburn 1828 - 1921
10 Charles Francis Washburn 1857 - 1941
+Hattie Maria Benson 1861 - 1914
11 Carrie Clyfton Washburn 1896 - 1974
+George Brewster Smith 1895 - 1913
12 Arthur Elmer Washburn Davis 1913 - 1976
+Mildred Louise Booth 1917 – 1999
13 my parents
Richard Gere is a descendant of Samuel Fuller (source Notable Kin, by Gary Boyd Roberts).
For information on the Fuller Society, see http://www.fullersociety.com/.