Timothy Fuller (1778 – 1835)

July 11, 2012

Born on July 11, 1778, future lawyer-legislator Timothy Fuller’s earliest exposure to politics came from watching his father, Reverend Timothy Fuller – a delegate to the Constitutional Convention, refuse to ratify the proposed Constitution because it condoned slavery.

While studying at Harvard, the young Fuller led a student rebellion against what he considered oppressive college rules, those involving posture and saying grace before meals. His activism nearly barred him from giving an address at his commencement in 1801, where he graduated second in his class.

In 1804 he was admitted to the Massachusetts bar. He later opened a legal practice on Court Street in Boston and partnered with his younger brother Henry Holton Fuller (Lot #1 Hazel Path). Shortly after getting married to Margaret Crane of Canton in 1809, Timothy was asked to give the oration at the Fourth of July celebration in Watertown, MA, commencing his reputation as a first-rate public speaker.

A year later, the couple’s first child, Sarah Margaret Fuller was born. In addition to serving three terms in the Massachusetts State Senate and running his own law practice, Timothy devoted many hours to tutoring his precocious young daughter in the classics. He eventually sent Margaret to private school, but his lessons provided her a substantial background in languages and literature.

In 1817 Timothy was elected as a Jeffersonian Republican to the United States Congress and after three terms became the speaker of the state House of Representatives. He retired from politics in 1828 but continued his legal practice until 1833 when he moved his family to Groton, MA, to devote his time to farming, writing, and educating his youngest children.

When he contracted cholera and died in October 1835, his daughter Margaret became the head of the household. Margaret went on to became a talented writer, Transcendentalist, and advocate for women’s rights and education. She met Marquis Giovanni Angelo Ossoli while working as a foreign correspondent in Rome and married in 1849, but the two and their young son were tragically lost at sea in an accident off of Fire Island, NY, in 1850.

In 1854, The Fuller family purchased Lot 2250 on Pyrola Path at Mount Auburn Cemetery and erected a memorial to Margaret, her husband and their son. On May 19, 1854 the bodies of Timothy Fuller and his two children who died in childhood, Julia Adelaide and Edward, were moved to this lot. Timothy’s brothers Abraham Fuller(Lot #1508 Snowdrop Path) and Henry Holton Fuller are memorialized on two large granite obelisks near Washington Tower on Mountain Avenue at the Cemetery. His wife, other children, and their descendants are also buried at Mount Auburn.


Portrait of Timothy Fuller: Rufus Porter, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

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