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 Ann Fuller

"Ann" Fuller

Death 1621
Plymouth, Plymouth County, Massachusetts, USA
Burial Plymouth, Plymouth County, Massachusetts, USA
Memorial ID 25328469 · View Source
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Little is known about Ann Fuller, other than she was the wife of Edward Fuller and she had two sons, Matthew & Samuel Fuller. She died sometime between January 11th and April 1621.
The only reason the wife in 1620 of this writer's ancestor, Edward Fuller, has been given the first name Ann and last name Fuller is to be able to independently find this memorial on Find-a-Grave. Otherwise, there is no and never has been a documentable record that gives even a first name to Edward Fuller's wife in 1620.

In 1990 the General Society of Mayflower Descendants published volume Four, Edward Fuller, in the Mayflower Families through Five Generations series, better known as a Mayflower Silver Book. As of 2003 the Edward Fuller volume is in its 3rd edition. A statement concerning Edward Fuller has remained unchanged since its first appearance in the 1st edition of 1990 and continues to cause significant consternation to his descendants.

• Savage calls his wife Ann, but there is no known evidence that this was her name.

People parse this statement to only read "Savage calls his wife Ann" then affirmatively claim Savage the authority that Edward's wife was named Ann.

Two of the limited references utilized by the Edward Fuller Mayflower volume include Bradford's History (1952) p. 446, and Savage 2:215 (Fuller). The long-lost manuscript of Bradford's History of the Plimouth Plantation was found in 1855 and published in 1856. It includes two appendixes, the first a list and numerical count of those who sailed on the Mayflower, the second of what happened to those people. A few modern editions combine the two appendix lists, but whether two lists or a combined list they are of:

• The names of those who came over first in the Mayflower, in the year 1620 and were by the blessing of God the first beginners and founders of the Settlements and Colonies of New England, with their families: written down A. D. 1650.

In a reprint edition of Bradford's History that combines the two lists, without any loss in context Edward Fuller's entry is:

• Edward Fuller, his wife, and their son Samuel. 3
Mr. and Mrs. Fuller died soon after they came ashore. Their son Samuel is living, and has four children, or more.

Bradford's entry for Edward Tillie seven entries beforehand states:

• Edward Tillie, Ann his wife, and two children (their cousins) Henry Samson and Humility Cooper. 4.
Mr. and Mrs. Edward Tillie died soon after their arrival. Humility Cooper returned to England and died there. Henry Samson is living and has seven children.

In 1860-62, James Savage published his well-known Genealogical Dictionary of the First Settlers of New England. In volume 2:215, Edward Fuller's listing states:

• Fuller, Edward, Plymouth, brother of the famous Samuel, came with him in the Mayflower 1620, bringing wife Ann and son Samuel, and leaving Matthew, on the other side, who was elder, died early next year as did his wife, but his son Samuel outlived the hardships.

The entry for Edward Tilley (q.v. Tillie) states (4:302):

• Tilley, Edward, Plymouth 1620, came with wife in the Mayflower, and two children, "their cousins," Henry Sampson, and Humility Cooper. He and his wife died the first winter. Humility went home and died.

Based on Savage, many family genealogies published prior to 1913 state without qualification Edward's wife was named Ann. Other genealogies published after 1913 exclude giving the wife of Edward Fuller a name due to a 1913 statement by George Ernest Bowman in Pilgrim Notes and Queries (1:83). Bowman was the first and longtime respected editor of The Mayflower Descendant. Bowman wrote:

• Gov. Bradford, in his History of Plymouth Plantation, is the only contemporary writer who mentions the wife of Edward Fuller, and he does not give her a Christian name. She is frequently called "Ann" by modern writers, but in no case is the authority given for the name. It is probable that the first writer to call her "Ann" confounded the names of Edward Fuller and Edward Tilley. The latter's wife was given as "Ann" in Bradford's History.

Sure enough, the only wife named Ann that appears in Bradford's History is the wife of Edward Tilley. In 1860 Savage errantly assigned Edward Tilley's wife Ann to Edward Fuller while giving Edward Tilley no named wife. Had the Edward Fuller volume asked why did Savage state what he did, used all available and pertinent references to find the answer, including Bowman's 1913 statement, it could have explained Savage's error preventing countless examples of the subsequent use of false genealogy.


N.B. 1 Through the kindest of a Research Librarian with the Boston Public Library, I was provided a link to the three volume Genealogists Letter-book of Amos Otis, who corresponded with Savage prior to Savage publishing his dictionary. Otis was concerned with Barnstable, Mass. families and in late 1861 began publishing his sketches on Barnstable families in the Barnstable Patriot newspaper.

In a portion of a letter from Savage to Otis dated Boston Nov. 2, 1658 with [annotations] for clarity (vol. 1, p. 5-6):

• What Ann Fuller, a widow, died in 1662, aged 79? It could not be the wife of Edward, Dr. Samuel's brother, of [the] Mayflower family, for Gov. Bradford says, she died before her lord...and he must be right about one of his companions. She could not be Ann, daughter of Matthew, who mar. (you say) her cousin Samuel, son of Samuel senior. But here I am beclouded, for I have Elizabeth, not Ann, as the wife [i.e., of Samuel,3 (Samuel,2 Edward,1)];...

Savage was indeed "beclouded," as he was confusing Dr. Samuel Fuller's son Samuel, whose wife was Elizabeth Nichols, with Edward Fuller's grandson Samuel, whose wife was his 1st cousin Ann, daughter of his uncle Matthew Fuller.

The Ann Fuller who Savage sought information on was the mother-in-law of Richard Leach of Salem, Mass., who at "aged" 79 left a verbal will proved June 25, 1662 in the Essex County Quarterly Court. Richard Leach was his mother-in-law's executor, to whom she left the bulk of her property and small moveable estate. Amos Otis likely had no idea who the Ann Fuller was that Savage was asking about. But, more importantly, if the tone of the full letter was similar to others Savage communicated with, Savage was a taskmaster imploring others to provide family genealogies to meet his publishing deadlines. No wonder errors occurred.

N.B. 2 The Mass. Historical Society holds original copies of Savage's dictionary, which Savage later either corrected or added additional children to families via marginal notes. No marginal corrections appear for Edward Fuller and Edward Tilley regarding the name of their respective wife.

N.B. 3 In Caleb Johnson's website regarding Edward Tilley, Edward married Agnes Cooper on June 20, 1614 at Henlow, co. Bedford, England, daughter of Edmund and Mary (Wyne) Cooper. Edward Tilley ("Eduwaert Tilleij" in the Dutch record), say-worker, appears in an April 1618 Leiden notary record in which he agreed to take on Robert Hagges as an apprentice for the term of five years. The first two witnesses were Thomas Blossom and Jonathan Brewster (s. of Elder William Brewster), both members of Robinson's Leiden Church. However, between 1614 and 1620 neither Edward Tilley nor wife Agnes appear as a witness in the Leiden betrothal records.

In that era the Christian names Agnes, Ann and Anna were interchangeable. By example, Ann Fuller, the younger sister of brothers Edward Fuller and Dr. Samuel Fuller, married William White in Leiden in 1612 as "En" Fuller. As a witness to her brother Samuel's Leiden marriage to Agnes Carpenter in April 1613, both Ann and her husband William White were witnesses, with Ann's name written as "Agnys Weyt." Then in a 1619 betroval record as a witness with brother Samuel, Ann (Fuller) White is written as "Anna Wit."

As a separate historical fact, Edward and Samuel Fuller's brother-in-law William White and their sister Ann were not the William White and wife named Susanna who sailed on the Mayflower in 1620. Thus, Ann (Fuller) White was not the mother of Mayflower brothers Peregrin and Resolved White.


Bio by: Don Blauvelt

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"Edward Fuller and
His Wife"





  • Created by: C & N Rasmussen
  • Added: 17 Mar 2008
  • Find A Grave Memorial 25328469
  • Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for "Ann" Fuller (unknown–1621), Find A Grave Memorial no. 25328469, citing Coles Hill Burial Ground, Plymouth, Plymouth County, Massachusetts, USA ; Maintained by C & N Rasmussen (contributor 46971876) .