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View Tree for Mathew FullerMathew Fuller (b. Bef. 1605, d. Bet. Jul 25 - Aug 22, 1678)

Mathew Fuller (son of Edward Fuller and Unknown) was born Bef. 1605 in England1162, and died Bet. Jul 25 - Aug 22, 1678 in Barnstable, Barnstable, MA1163. He married Frances on Bef. 1630 in Probably England.

 Includes NotesNotes for Mathew Fuller:
Genealogical Dictionary of New England Settlers by Savage

FULLER, MATTHEW, Plymouth, a. 1640, s. of Edward the first, b. in Eng. rem. to Barnstable 1652, a physician, appoint. surg. of the force of the col. 1673, a capt. 1675, as Thatcher says, and d. 1678. By w. Frances he had Mary, wh. m. 17 Apr. 1650, Ralph Jones; Eliz. wh. m. 1652. Moses Rowley; Samuel; and John; and by Hannah, had Ann, wh. m. her cous. Samuel Fuller.

Mayflower Families Through Five Generations Vol 4 Edward Fuller by Bruce Campbell MacGunnigle

Mathew was probably born in England and he probably married Frances there as well. Mathew and Frances came to Plymouth some time before 1640. Apperaently they brought four children with them who had been born in England. The first record of Mathew is his selling land on October 26, 1640 that he had lately bought from John Gregory. Mathew was made a freeman in 1642. Sometime between 1649 and 1652 Edward moved his family to Barnstable. He was one of the first physicians to settle at that place. He lived at Scroton Neck near the border with Plymouth county, but also owned land in Flamouth and Midlleboro. On December 17, 1673 Edward was appointed Surgeon General of the Colony troops. He also served as a captain in King Philips War a couple of years later. Edward wrote his will on July 25, 1678 and died with in a month since the inventory of his estate was taken on August 22, 1678.


By Bruce Campbell MacGunnigle. C.G.
the late Robert M. Sherman, F.A.S.G.
and Robert S. Wakefield. F.A.S.G.

Pilgrims Edward and Samuel Fuller cane to Plymouth 1620 on the Mayflower end have been accepted as sons Robert Fuller of Redenhall, co. Norfolk, England (NEHGR 55:410-416). The two major pieces of evidence leading to this conclusion are the baptisms of Edward and Samuel to Robert Fuller, butcher, at Redenhall in 1575 and 158O, and the will of Robert Fuller, of the parish of Redenhall, yeoman, dated and proved in 1614. In his will Robert named wife Frances, son-in-law John Spaulding, and son Thomas; he gave son Edward a "tenement" and £20, son Samuel £15, daughter Ann Fuller £20, daughter Elizabeth Fuller £40, daughter Mary Fuller £40, and "grandson John Fuller, son of my son John Fuller" £5 for his apprenticeship (NEHGR 55:415-416)

Is this sufficient to prove that the Mayflower Fullers were from Redenhall? The names Edward and Samuel were not uncommon and there was no known child named Robert in the early generations of descendants of those two Pilgrims. Their presumed father, Robert of Redenhall, was called butcher in the perish registers. Thomas Morton, writing in New English Canaan (Amsterdam 1637), said Samuel Fuller was brought up a butcher, and was a native of Wrington in Somerset; but when Samuel married Agnes Carpenter at Leiden, Holland, in 1613 they were recorded as "sayworker from London" and "spinster from Wrington" (MD 8:129-130). Robert Fuller living in a small Norfolk town, gave no indication in his will that son Samuel was in Holland; Samuel of Plymouth Colony was a physician of sorts, an elder of the church, and seems to have been an educated man. Robert Fuller left son Edward a tenement, apparently expecting him to live in England. Yet Jeremy Bangs lists Edward Fuller among "Mayflower Passengers Documented in Leiden," citing Judicial Archive record RA 79, L, folio 172 verso (Mayflower Quarterly 51:58). (This appears to be the first time it has been documented that Edward was in Leiden.) This sometimes conflicting, and sometimes unsupporting, evidence as to the paternity of Pilgrims Edward and Samuel is the backdrop against which Matthew Fuller's ancestry must be discussed.

The parentage of Dr. Matthew Fuller, who died at Barnstable MA in 1678, has been a matter of controversy for over a century. Although many descendants believe that he was the son of Pilgrim Edward Fuller (who left no will). Francis H. Fuller, Homer W. Brainard, Buell B. Bassette, and, most recently, Michel L. Call and Gary Boyd Roberts have contended that Matthew was a son of John Fuller, who may been Pilgrim Edward Fuller's brother (NEHGR 48:345, 55:192; NYGBR 33:171; One Bassett Family... [New Britain CT] NEHGS's Nexus 2:57-58).

The known records bearing on Matthew Fuller's ancestry have been carefully examined with the following results.

Evidence linking Matthew to Edward

Two early records indicate that Matthew was the son of Edward. First, in 1652 Matthew and Samuel (known son of Edward) jointly purchased land in Barnstable from Thomas Allyn (MD 1:136-139). Second, and most significant, on 3 June 1662, "Lt. Fuller" and "Samuel Fuller Jr. of Plymouth" each received a share of the grant made to 33 men "as being the first borne children of this government" (Nathaniel B. shurtleff, Records of the Colony of New Plymouth... [Boston, 1856], hereafter PCR, 4:18-19). (Matthew was approved as lieutenant in 1652.) A law first passed in 1636, and still in effect in 1662, stated: "It is enacted by the Court that such children as are heer borne and next unto then such as are heer brought up under their parents, and are come to the age of descretion allowed and want [i.e. lack] lands for their accomodations, bee provided for in place convenient before any that either come from England or elswhere" (PCR 11:16, 188).

It is apparent that the children of those who came to Plymouth before 1627 qualified for this grant, yet William Pontus, who seems to have come from Leiden, Holland, in 1629 or 1630, and Samuel Eddy, who came in 1630, apparently from England, also received shares (Savage 2:99 for Eddy). Two entries give some clue as to who did not qualify: "Anthony Anible, for his daughter, Hannah Burman" and "William Nelson, by right of his wife" (PCR 4:19). Thomas Burman (or Boardman) was from London and was in Plymouth by 1635; William Nelson was in Plymouth by 1636. Yet both had to receive shares by their wives' rights. William Hoskins who was in Plymouth by 1634 (he married first Sarah Cushman) and George Partrich who was in Plymouth by 1635 (he married Sarah Tracy) also received shares, which might be because of their marriages, or perhaps they were in Plymouth earlier than their first appearance in the records. Why would Matthew Fuller, who apparently came to Plymouth about 1640, probably from England, be included in this grant? The only apparent reason would be that he was a son of Edward Fuller.

On 29 June 1673 "Captaine Mathew Fuller, and Samuell Fuller, Senir, complained against Steven Skiff and John Blacke, allies Blackwell, of the town of Sandwich, to the damage of ten pounds for that the said Skiffe and Blacke pulled down, or caused to be pulled down, about ten or twenty rod of pole of their fence, wherby they suffered much damage in theire corne feild att Seauton Necke" (PCR 7:185). The difficulty at Scorton Neck was resolved by a deed in Plymouth Colony Records, a definite piece of evidence linking Matthew to Edward: on 30 June 1680 "Samuel Fuller, Senir
of Barnstable [son of Edward]" quitclaimed to "Steuen Skiffe of Sandwich ... and the towne of Sandwich" his rights to certain lands at Scorton in Sandwich, over which there had been "much contest heretofore," with Skiff agreeing that Fuller have certain rights in land at Scorton. Folloing this agreement is the statement by John Fuller (son of Matthew Fuller) that he "doth aquiessey in this agreement of his vnkells and Steuen Skiffes...." and that he had received "full satisfaction respecting the lands… the Fullers and Sandwich mens" (PCR 6:46-47). The clear implication of this statement is that John was the nephew of Samuel, son of Edward: hence that Dr. Matthew is Samuel's brother, and so also Edward's son.

Opposed to this weighty evidence there is found no similar example either of a type to disprove this parentage, or to prove another parentage. There are bits of evidence appearing to link Matthew Fuller to different Fuller families, but none that definitely links our Matthew to another family, or which separates him from Edward's family.

Contrary Evidence Discussed

The first piece of seemingly contrary evidence is the record of the baptism on 16 Oct. 1603 of a Matthew Fuller to John and Margaret (?Balls) Fuller at Redenhall, co. Norfolk, England, the traditional ancestral home of the Mayflower Fullers (NEHGR 55:411: NYGBR 33:173). This baptismal record has actually been put forth as proof that Edward Fuller did not have a son Matthew! This John Fuller's will was proved in 1608/9 and mentions by name only his eldest son William (Consistory Court of Norwich, Spencer fol. 222-224, LDS film #94,928). Nowhere in the discussions of this other Mathew has it been noted that there is no record of birth or baptism of either Samuel "Sr.," son of Pilgrim Edward Fuller, or of Samuel "Jr.", son of Pilgrim Samuel Fuller; hence that the lack of a record of the baptism of Matthew to Edward is not greatly surprising. (Bear in mind that a this time "Jr." merely indicated a man younger than "Sr.," with no implication of relationship.) There is also no record in the Redenhall area of the marriage of Samuel Fuller to Alice Glascock or of Edward Fuller to his wife or of Matthew to his wife, nor of the baptism of Giles (mentioned below) or of Matthew's children, who were probably born in England.

Matthew Fuller lived in Plymouth for ten or more years before moving to Barnstable to join Samuel Fuller. One wonders why, if they were brothers, wouldn't he have settled in Barnstable when he arrived in Plymouth Colony? On 16 March 1648 Samuel Fuller of Plymouth, "with concent of his mother Mis. Bridget Fuller," quitclaimed two acres at Strawberry Hill near Plymouth to Lt. Matthew Fuller of Plymouth (PCR 12:164). This grantor is Samuel "Jr.," son of Samuel Fuller of the Mayflower, and not Samuel Fuller "Sr." of Barnstable. There is no mention of any payment for this land, which may imply that it is a gift to a relative, or that he was quitclaiming his rights to land one of his parents had deeded to Matthew.

One of the arguments presented against accepting Matthew Fuller as a son of Edward Fuller is Bradford's failure to mention him in his account of the "decreasings and increasings" of the Plantation, written about 1650 (Samuel Eliot Morison, ed. [New York 1952] pp. 442, 446). Bradford wrote, "Edward Fuller and his wife died soon after they came ashore, but their son Samuel is living and married and hath four children or more." Why no mention of Hathew? Bradford almost always mentioned the other children who came over on later ships. However, there is one similar exception and that is the omission of William Mullins as a son of William Mullins of the Mayflower. As both came over about 20 years after their fathers, Bradford may not have considered them within the scope of his tally.

Another piece of evidence which some consider contrary is a deposition of one Richard Pettingill before the County Court at Hampton NH 14 Oct. 1673, in which "Ric: Pettingell aged about 52 years saith that being very well acquainted with Giles Fuller of Hampton deceased & with Mr. Fuller of Ba[rn]stable doctor both in old England & here in New england & both told mee they were of Kinn: & ye sd Giles Fuller have told mee in old England & now that Marth [Matthew] Fuller doctor now of Ba[rn]stable was the nearest Kinsman he had" (NEHGR 55:194, which says Pettingell came from Shotesham, co. Norfolk, five miles from Topcroft). This deposition does not preclude Dr. Matthew being a son of Edward and at the same time Giles' nearest kinsman.

On 9 Oct. 1677 Thomas Thurton, attorney for his parents Thomas and Susanna Thurton, stated that "Susanna was sister Giles Fuller of Hampton deceased" (George F. Dow and Mary G. Thresher, Records and Files of the Quarterly Courts of Essex County, Mass. 1636-86 [Salem 1911-74] 6:342). Susanna (but not Giles is named in the will of her father, Roger Fuller of Topcroft (about 7 miles from Redenhall). His will, dated August 1644 and proved in the Archdeaconry of Norwich, mentions wife Jane, dau. Jane Fuller, sons Roger and Richard Fuller, [dau.l Grace Tyle [or Tyte] wife of Robart, dau. Elizabeth Fuller wife of John, son William Fuller and [dau.] Susan Thurton wife of Thomas (LDS film #167,117).

Roger Fuller, father of Giles, is almost surely not a brother of John, Edward and Samuel, sons of Robert of Redenhall, since neither Roger nor Giles is mentioned in Robert's will. There was a Roger Fuller baptized at Redenhall 19 Oct. 1572 to John Fuller, and John's will in 1598/9 names Roger; a Roger Fuller married 29 April 1600 Jane Cowen (NEHGR 55:411-415). Therefore, if the 1603 Matthew's father (John), Dr. Matthew's and Samuel Sr.'s father, (Edward), and Samuel Jr.'s father (Dr. Samuel) were all brothers, then both Matthews and both Sanuels could be second cousins of Giles, all related to him in exactly the same genetic way. This leaves unanswered why one cousin, was called nearest kinsman. Possibly Dr. Matthew was eldest, which might qualify him to be called nearest kinsman. Or it is possible that he was a favorite cousin - a favorite relative might be called "nearest kinsman."

Elder relative or favorite cousin, or both, neither condition proves or disproves the fact of Dr. Matthew's parentage, nor does the birth of a Matthew to another couple, or of Bradford's failure to mention him. The strongest evidence known to exist is the four documents cited earlier in this article, which strongly indicate that Dr. Matthew is indeed a son of Edward Fuller.

It is a pity that the Barnstable town records were copied in 1649, and again in 1736, saving only what was deemed "of future use." Confirming evidence may have discarded at that time. What remains includes a 1662 list of inhabitants, which mentions "Samll Fuller son of Left. Fuller," a 1670 list which names "Capt. Matthew Fuller," and two purchases: on 3 Feb. 1661 "Lt. Matthew Fuller" paid John Coggin £6 3s for 8 acres at Scorton, and on 28 Feb. 1670 "Capt. Matthew Fuller of Barnstable" paid John Hamblin 12s for an acre at Scorton (Hinckley transcript of Barnstable Town Records, NEHGS, 1:1, 2, 36, 85, 93, 150-151).

Matthew Fuller and his Children

The following is a summary of what is presently known of Matthew Fuller and his immediate family. Later generations will appear in Mayflower Families In Progress, which Mr. MacGunnigle is readying for the General Society of Mayflower Descendants to publish in the near future.

MATTHEW2 FULLER, b. prob. England bef. 1610; d. Barnstable, MA bet. 25 July 1678 and 22 Aug. 1678 (date of his inventory); son of Edward and ----- (-----) Fuller. He m., presumably in England bef. 1630, FRANCES -----, who was living 26 Oct. 1678, when she swore to the inventory of Matthew's estate. We do not know whether she was mother of all of his children.

Matthew Fuller arrived in Plymouth before 26 Oct. 1640 when he sold to Andrew Ringe land in Plymouth "lately bought of John Gregory" (PCR 12:64). Be probably brought with him his wife Frances and children born in England. He was propounded a freeman in 1642, served as a juryman, and was assigned ten acres of land near Thurston Clark. In 1643 he was chosen sergeant in the newly established "military discipline." He was termed "of Plymouth" in a quitclaim from Samuel Fuller on 16 March 1648.

Just when he moved to Barnstable is unknown, but on Oct. 1652 the Court approved his election as lieutenant of the Barnstable militia. He was admitted a freeman 7 June1653, and served that year as deputy from Barnstable to the Plymouth Colony Court. On 20 June 1654 he was appointed lieutenant, under Capt. Myles Standish, of a 50 man quota to fight against the Dutch at Monhatoes" [New York], but receipt of news of peace between England and Holland only three days later terminated the expedition. On 2 Oct. 1658 he was elected to the Council of War, and in 1671 became its chairman. On 17 Dec. 1673 he became Surgeon General of the Colony troops: he was captain of the Plymouth Colony forces during King Philip's War (called Capt. in 1667 in the unpublished Plymouth Colony Land Records 3:1:105). Col. Benjamin Church, in his history, wrote that "Captain Fuller told him that for his own part he was grown ancient and heavy; he feared the travel and fatigue would be too much for him" (Allan and Mary Simpson, eds., Diary of King Philip's War 1675-1676 [Little Compton RI 1975]).

Matthew was one of the first regular physicians to settle at Barnstable. He lived in the northwest corner of Barnstable at Scorton Neck, and owned land in Falmouth and Middleboro which had been granted to him by the Colony for distinguished service. He died a wealthy man, for the times.

Capt. Matthew Fuller of Barnstable, in his will dated 25 July 1678 and sworn 30 Oct. 1678, names grandchild Shubeall Jones reputed son of Ralph Jones; wife Francis; son John Fuller to have half "the rest of my lands & meddows... in... Barnstable"; the other half of the lands to the sons of my son Samuel Fuller deceased: Thomas, Jabez, Timothy, Matthias and Samuel Fuller; Bethyah the wife of son John Fuller; daughters Mary Jones wife of Ralph, Anne Fuller wife of Samuel, and Elizabeth Rowley wife of Moses; Sarah Rowley daughter of Moses Rowley; Jedidiah Jones son of Ralph Jones; my male grandchildren and female grandchildren; sons-in-law Ralfe Jones, Samuel Fuller Jr., and Moses Rowley; only son John Fuller and his wife Bethya; Mary Fuller late wife of my son Samuell deceased; the Scotsman, Robert Marshall; Jaser Tayler: wife Francis, executrix (MD 13:7-9).

His inventory totalled £667 4s 6d of which £200 was in pearls, precious stones, and diamonds (MD 13:9-11).

More About Mathew Fuller:
Date born 2: Probably England.1163

More About Mathew Fuller and Frances:
Marriage 1: Bef. 1630, Probably England.
Marriage 2: Probably England.1163
Marriage 3: Bef. 16301164

Children of Mathew Fuller and Frances are:
  1. +Samuel Fuller, b. Abt. 1630, Probably England1165, d. Mar 26, 1676, Rehoboth, Bristol, MA1165.
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