Sunday, June 5, 2011

Born in "Hindustan"

       In 1870, Martha White Fullerton (age 44) lived at 3307 Hamilton St. with her mother, Nancy (82) and her six children: Anna (16), Dora (15), Mary (14), Emma (12), George (10), and Edward (6). The census listed the children’s birthplace as “Hindustan.”

       Martha White came from a family of Presbyterian ministers. She taught for a while at the Young Ladies’ Seminary in Norristown before marrying Robert Fullerton, also a Presbyterian minister. In 1852, they moved with their infant son, Robert, to India where they were missionaries in Fatehgarh near Agra. Robert died a year later.
The Front Gate of the Fort at Agra, India

       The family’s story was told by John S. Harris. “During the Indian mutiny in 1857, Mr. and Mrs. Fullerton were shut up for several months in the English fort at Agra, the three older children having been sent to a place of safety in the mountains.” Emma was born in the fort during the siege. “Agra held out successfully against the mutineers, but all the missionaries in Fatehgarh were killed. After the mutiny, Mr. Fullerton spent many months gathering together the scattered native Christians and reorganizing the mission at Fatehgarh…. His health failed from the hardships of this life… and he was preparing to return to America when he died, October 4, 1865.” Mary returned to the States and moved to Philadelphia to be near her sister, Ann Eliza Moore, whose husband was head of the Female Seminary near Pottstown. Martha purchased 3307 Hamilton in 1866 and owned it until 1883. She died in 1895 at the age of 69.

Anna Fullerton, circa 1899
(Woman's Medical College of Pennsylvania
Photograph Collection, Photo ID p0210.)

       Anna Martha Fullerton graduated from Girls’ High and worked as a teacher while attending Women’s Medical School. She graduated as an M.D. and became a professor of medicine. She was in charge of Women’s Hospital from 1886-1896. After a few years in private practice she returned to India in 1899. She was on the faculty at the Medical School for Women in Ludhiana and had charge of the hospital. In 1902, she joined her sister Mary in Fatehgarh and was involved in medical work at the mission where their parents had worked. She wrote two books for nurses.

        Dora married Leonard Waldo who was in charge of the railroad time service at the astronomical observatory at Cambridge, Massachusetts. Mary returned to India as a missionary and taught in the school for the children of missionaries at Woodstock, in the Himalaya Mountains. She returned to America on furlough in 1887 and remained to care for her mother. She then returned to mission work in India.

       Emma studied art at the Philadelphia School of Design and taught for a while at the Philadelphia Academy of Fine Arts. She died at the early age of 27.
George S. Fullerton, 1879
(University of Pennsylvania Archives)

       George Stuart Fullerton was only 6 years old when his father died. He was old enough to be scared, but too young to understand the whirlwind that surrounded them in India. He graduated from the University of Pennsylvania, studied at Princeton Theological Seminary and earned a degree in divinity from Yale. He returned to the Philosophy Department at Penn where he became head of the department, dean of the college, and vice-provost. He married in 1884 Rebekah Daingerfield, but she died very young in 1891. In 1897, he married Julia Winslow. In 1904, he moved to Columbia University. In 1925, the Atlanta Constitution reported that “The gradual decay of one of the most brilliant minds among eastern college faculties was halted Monday when Professor George Stuart Fullerton committed suicide here at his home.” He was 65.

       In a remembrance, a professor at Penn and former student of George Fullerton, E. A. Singer, Jr., gives a sharp impression of his old teacher and fellow philosopher: “Cool analytic thinking, too conscientious with the thinker's conscience to shun the dangerous or avoid the dry, how should this not spoil the day for minds still warm and unformed, not yet thoughtful, of a courage untried? Such thinking might have taken the light out of our sky: if it did not, if on the contrary it so sunned things as to make its hour an hour to be waited for, must not Fullerton have owned some teacher's secret any teacher would sell his soul to share?” He describes Fullerton as a preacher who sought practical proofs for the existence of God.

      Edward also graduated from Penn and earned an M.A. and a Bachelors in Divinity at Princeton. He also earned a Ph.D. from Yale and a D.D. at Lafayette. He became the pastor at the First Presbyterian Church in Wilkes-Barre, Pa.

       The Fullerton children’s roots were in Hindustan, but their home in America was Philadelphia and Powelton.

(An version of this appeared in the Powelton Post,  Nov. 2008.  For more information, see the Powelton Village Interactive Map for 3307 Hamilton St.)

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