Born: abt 1818
Born Where: Ireland
Died: btw 1852-1859
Died Where: NC (we think)
Father: ? Fulton
Spouse: Eliza Howard Fulton
Marriage Date: abt 1844
Married Where: most likely in PA
We are slowly learning more and more about Samuel Fulton. One promising immigration record shows a Samuel Fulton arriving in Philadelphia from Londonderry, Ireland on 23 May 1824, aboard the S.S. Dorothy. He apparently spent some time in Pensylvania until at least 1845, going by the PA birth location for his oldest daughter Sarah in the Census records. He also must have been in New Jersey in 1848 using the birth location of his second child, Apheanen (Effie), in the Census records. His youngest child was David Fulton born in 1850 in North Carolina.
We know he lived in Wadesboro, NC in 1850 according to the 1850 Federal Census. He likely moved there between 1848 and 1849. His occupation was listed as 'Editor' in the 1850 Census. We have confirmed that he was the editor and the publisher of the North Carolina Argus weekly newspaper, which began publication around 1849 during the last year of President Polk's term in office (according to the History of Anson County, pg. 89). Samuel is also mentioned in the "History of North Carolina" pg. 115, in a list of NC newspapers and their editors.
The History of Anson County (pg. 103) relates an interesting story about Sanuel. "The brittle pages of the old Argus also contain a bit of comic relief. Its Editor, Samuel Fulton, had gone to West's Tavern in the Wadeborough vicinity, no doubt to enjoy a dram. When he was ready to leave, he discovered that a fellow tavern visitor had swapped caps from the peg where they hung. An advertisement in his columns pleads for its return."
Other significant events in his North Carolina adventure include the purchase of the Wadesboro Tannery, in Dec 1850 from James Grimsley & William Shadding for $2,450. He ran an ad in his own newspaper which explained why he thought the two businesses were a good combination. He mentioned that the newspaper works for your head (mental understandings) and boots work for your feet (physical understandings), so why shouldn't they be joined together?
He advertised that the leather products were made in the best style, with the best materials, using the latest improvements, and that he would offer the most liberal terms. He also said he bought the tannery to keep this income in the local community rather than going North. The printing office was in the upper floor of his place of business and the shoe shop was on the ground floor.
Apparently Samuel was a bit too generous with his tannery and shoe store customers as the Anson County deed book revealed a very long list of people that owed him money. Also a later deed book doument shows that he had to transfer what appears to be most of his worldy possessions to pay off a debt to Catherine Anne (McKay) Fulton. Her husband was David Fulton who was the editor of the Wilmington Journal. When David died his brother James Fulton became Catherine's husband and also took over David's editorial duties. Not clear if Catherine's husbands were related to Samuel, but we have our suspicions.
Items to be surrendered from Samuels holdings in the Sep 1851 document include 20 acres of land (possibly including the tanyard), the printing office and shoe shop (and accounts receivable), 2 cows, 2 horses, 2 buggies, and his ownership of 4 slaves (Dave, William, Tom, and Jasper). A later document in Jan 1852 adds such ordinary items as pen & pencil sets, a walking stick, and a shaving strop. Apparently he lost everything.
According to family stories, Samuel went off to look for a job and never returned. This may have ocurred anytime after 1852. By 1860 the rest of the family had moved to a farm in Alleghany County, NC. Samuel does not appear in the 1860 Census with Eliza or in later PA records that only show his wife Eliza H. Fulton and his children. Perhaps the stresses from the adverse financial situation brought about his departure or demise. We have still not located a grave site for Samuel but we are investigating other genealogy resources in North Carolina. It's possible he may have started another family somewhere.
1850 Census: Wadesboro, NC
? Death Record: NC ?
Samuel Fulton Tannery Purchase Ad in North Carolina Argus on 15 Mar 1851
(Clipping courtesy of Steve Bailey)