Who is the Joseph Fuller, born in Vermont, father of Benjamin W Fuller?

+3 votes

My direct paternal fourth great-grandfather is Benjamin W. Fuller. He was born in New York in about 1818. He moved to Michigan in the 1850's, which is where my family is from. All I know for sure about his father is that his name was Joseph, and he was born in Vermont (source #1 on Benjamin's profile). I know nothing about his mother.

However, I do have some circumstantial evidence for which Joseph Fuller may have been his father. I do not know for sure where in New York Benjamin was born. I have found a record for his marriage to his first wife, Eliza Johnson, that says he was from Jefferson, New York, and she was from Davenport. These towns are on either side of the line between Schoharie and Delaware counties. 

Directly between these towns is North Harpersfield, New York, where there is the grave a Joseph Fuller and his wife Sarah Odell Fuller. There is also a grave for a Benjamin Fuller said to be Joseph's father, as well as that of his two wives.Joseph's mother is said to Rebecca Wilder. 

The death record of Benjamin W. Fuller's daughter Etta lists her dad as "Benjamin Wilder" for some reason. Pure conjecture: Perhaps Wilder was his middle name, making him named for his paternal grandfather and the maiden name of his paternal grandfather.

In the same cemetery, there is also a grave of a son of Joseph and Sarah, Joseph Dean Fuller, born two years before my fourth great grandfather Benjamin.

A number of records indicate that these Fullers were from Jefferson. Also that this Joseph Fuller was born in Vermont, and his alleged father Benjamin, was born in Massachusetts but had moved to Vermont by the time he served in the Revolutionary War.

After his (first?) son Joseph Dean, there is then a 13 year gap in children that I have found in actual records for Joseph and Sarah . That gap is ended by a daughter named Sally and a few years later by a son named George. It is worth noting that Benjamin W. Fuller named one his sons George, therefore possibly after his brother.

Any ideas? Tips on how to find more sources to either prove or disprove any of these possibilities?

For more info you can the FamilySearch profile I've been working on for Joseph: https://www.familysearch.org/tree/person/details/LTZX-HVT. I mostly tend to keep things over there until I feel more confident that I have thinsg right.

WikiTree profile: Benjamin Fuller
in Genealogy Help by Thomas Fuller G2G6 Mach 9 (95.5k points)
reshown by Thomas Fuller

1 Answer

+3 votes
I think you will need to nail down where Benjamin was born before you can really determine his father. Joseph Fuller seems to be a fairly common name in Vermont. Looking at birth records finds him as "father" and not a birth. Without an exact date of birth and a location, there are a lot of unknowns. Vermont research is both fairly easy and quite difficult. While they had registration fairly early, not all births were recorded and the index cards missed a fair number of those that were.  I've had to read the town records page by page to find a couple of births/marriages. That only works if you know where to start.

It also doesn't help that you are dealing with New York as well. New York records are spotty at best and sometimes, as you have seen, don't give info like place of birth. Have you checked local newspapers? Obits and marriage announcements sometimes have a fair amount of detail. Did you check land records? Sometimes the person is identified by where they came from. Also, check neighbors. If a group moved from Vermont to New York, there may be clues in records about the neighbors.
by Doug McCallum G2G6 Pilot (550k points)

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