Necrology of Toledo's Woodlawn Cemetery
John W. Fuller
John W. Fuller was born on July 28, 1826 in Cambridge, England. Fuller was the son of a Baptist minister and was educated at home by his father who was a graduate of Cambridge University. In 1833, Fuller and his father left England and settled in Utica, New York. In the early 1840s Fuller entered the book selling and publishing business, becoming one of the leading businessmen of the city. On September 2, 1851, Fuller married Anna B. Rathburn who was the daughter of Josiah Rathburn. Following the destruction of his business in 1859 by fire, Fuller moved to Toledo and once again entered the publishing business.[Harvey Scribner, ed., Memoirs of Lucas County and the City of Toledo, vol. 2 (Madison, Wisconsin: Western Historical Association, 1910), 40].
After the outbreak of the Civil War in 1861, Fuller was appointed as chief-of-staff to Brigadier General Charles W. Hill. Upon his appointment, Fuller was sent to Grafton, West Virginia where he became engaged in drilling recruits for military service. Impressed by his ardor and zeal for the military, Rathburn's superior, General T.J. Cram wrote a letter to Adjutant-General C.P. Buckingham, recommending that Fuller be promoted as "the colonel of the next Ohio regiment sent to the field." General Cram's advice was needed, and on August 18, 1861, the Twenty-seventh Ohio Infantry, headed by Colonel John W. Fuller, was mustered into the U.S. Army.(Ibid.) On August 20, the Twenty-seventh Infantry disembarked for St. Louis, Missouri. In the late summer and fall of the same year, Fuller's troops saw their first action when they were engaged in the Missouri campaign against Confederate General Sterling Price.[James M. McPherson, Ordeal by Fire: The Civil War and Reconstruction (New York: McGraw-Hill, 1982), 158.]
Following the end of hostilities in Missouri that winter, Colonel Fuller's troops joined Federal forces under General John Pope. Under Pope's command, the Twenty-Seventh Ohio infantry took part in Pope's successful campaign to subdue rebel forces on Island No. 10 on the Mississippi River. Succeeding in knocking out Island No. 10, Fuller was placed in command of the "Ohio Brigade." The brigade, which consisted of the Twenty-seventh, Thirty-ninth, Forty-third and Sixty-third Ohio regiments saw action in the battle of Iuka in September 1862.(Ibid.) In October of the same year, the brigade once again saw action in the battle of Corinth. For the valatorious action of the brigade at Corinth, Fuller was personally thanked by the Union commander, General William S. Rosencrans.(Scribner, p.41).
Following the brigade's defeat of Confederate forces at the battle of Parker's Cross-Roads in Tennessee, Fuller was put in command of the Union post at Memphis where he and the brigade remained until October, 1863. During the winter of 1863-64 the Ohio Brigade remained relatively inactive. The following spring however, the brigade once again found itself in action, this time in the Eastern Theater of the war, seeing combat at Dallas, Snake Gap Creek, Resaca, Kenesaw Mountain and Nickajack Creek. In July, the brigade was one of the first units to see action in the Battle of Atlanta. During the battle, Fuller ordered the brigade to execute a change of front in order to repel an enemy attack from the rear. At that moment, Fuller, heedless of the danger of enemy gunfire, snatched the brigade flag and lead the charge against the enemy approaching from the rear.Ibid. For his valatorious actions, Fuller was promoted to brigadier-general.
Following the successful Atlanta campaign, the brigade, having been absorbed by the Seventeenth corps under the overall command of General Blair, participated in General William Tecumseh Sherman's famous "March to the Sea." After the fall of Savannah, Georgia in December of 1864,(McPherson, p.463.) Fuller's men took part in the campaign in the Carolinas, and following the fall of Richmond, Virginia, marched with General Sherman's victorious command from that city to Washington, DC.(Scribner, p.41).
In light of the meritorious services of the Ohio Brigade throughout the Civil War, the unit was mustered out in March 1865, one month before the conflict was over. General Fuller was discharged from the Army as a major-general. In August he resigned his commission and returned to Toledo(Ibid). where he entered public office as the collector of the Port of Toledo in 1874, an office which he held until 1881. In addition to his public duties, Fuller once again entered the business world as one of the owners of Fuller, Childs & Co., a wholesale boot and shoe warehouse. He also became the director of the Merchant's National Bank and the Toledo Moulding Company.(Ibid, p.42). He died in Toledo on March 12, 1891.
Rathburn Fuller, the second son of General John B. Fuller, was born in Toledo in 1857. Rathburn received his primary and secondary education in the public schools of the city.("Rathburn Funeral Rites Saturday," Toledo Blade 17 December 1937). Upon completing his high school studies, Rathburn attended law school at the University of Michigan. Two Years into his program, however, he had to end his matriculation due to economic hardships. Following his abrupt change of plans, Rathburn returned to Toledo. He found employment with the firm of Haynes Potter & Beckwith and was admitted to the bar in 1879.(Ibid.)
Shortly after starting with Haynes, Potter, and Beckwith, Fuller married Katherine Grout of Detroit, Michigan.Exact date unknown. In 1881, Rathburn started the law firm of Collings & Fuller where he practiced law until 1888 and also served as deputy clerk for the U.S. district court and then as U.S. commissioner.("Rathburn Funeral Rites Saturday."); Following his departure from Collings & Fuller, Rathburn added his name to the law firm of Swayne, Hayes & Tyler. After the deaths of Mr. Swayne and Mr. Birchard, Fuller continued to operate the office under his own name.(Ibid.)
In addition to his legal affiliations with the American and Toledo Bar Associations, Rathburn was active in several different organizations including the Ohio Society of New York, the Toledo Elks, the Toledo Club, the Chamber of Commerce and the Inverness Club. Fuller also had a myriad of financial concerns, holding large amounts of stock in the Toledo Trust Co., the National Bank of Toledo, Toledo Edison, Bostwick Braun, Toledo Scale and Libbey Owens Ford. He was also a trustee of the Toledo Museum of Art, the Edward Drummond Libbey Trust and Vice President of the Toledo Zoological Society.(Ibid.)
Fuller retired from professional life in 1907 and died at the age of 80 of a heart attack on December 16, 1937.("Noted Toledo Lawyer Dies," Toledo Times 17 December 1937). Upon his death in December 1937, Rathburn Fuller left the majority of his estate, approximately $150,000 to his wife Katherine.("Institutions Are Helped by Attorney," Toledo Times 21 December 1937). Mrs. Fuller, who died at the age of 93 in 1953, used the bulk of her inheritance for philanthropic purposes, donating large amounts of money to the Toledo Nurses Association, the Toledo Museum of Art, the Toledo Zoological Society and the Toledo Hospital.("K.G. Fuller: Attorney's Widow Was Philanthropist," Toledo Blade, 2 December 1953.)
John W. Fuller's grave
(Photography of Woodlawn Cemetery by Josef Schneider.)