Robert Fulton

Photo added by Ron Moody

Robert Fulton

Little Britain, Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, USA
Death 24 Feb 1815 (aged 49)
New York, New York County (Manhattan), New York, USA
Burial Manhattan, New York County (Manhattan), New York, USA
Plot Northern Section, Livingston family vault 1815-3B
Memorial ID 372 View Source
Suggest Edits

Inventor, Artist. While not the inventor of the steamboat, he was very instrumental in constructing a steamboat named the "Clermont",and parlaying it into a commercial success with the first permanent commercial route in history on the Hudson River. Chancellor Robert R. Livingston backed the venture with his financial and political influence. He was born near the town, on a farm, today known as Quarryville, Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. The site today is a National Historic Landmark, while the stone house where Fulton was born, was destroyed by fire, has since been restored to its original appearance. It is operated by the Southern Lancaster Historical Society and houses many items from the inventors life. He was born to Robert, a farmer, and Mary Fulton into a family that would ultimately number five. Robert senior would soon die leaving his widow scantily provided with the small children. However, Mary Fulton prevailed, home schooling the family with Robert at age eight, enrolled in a local Quaker school. Fulton was an average student but excelled at drawing, painting and mechanics while growing up. Upon completing an apprenticeship to a Philadelphia jeweler while supporting himself as a painter of portraits and landscapes, he moved to England to study painting under Benjamin West but grew more interested in engineering and naval warfare. While living in France, Fulton built the submarine Nautilus, an experimental steam powered vessel. During his lifetime, he was involved in a wide variety of projects, including inventing various tools and working with the U.S. Navy on the development of the torpedo, actually blowing up a brig in New York Harbor as a demonstration. He also designed the world's first steam-powered warship which was launched after his death. Finally, in partnership with Robert Livingston, he designed and constructed a steamboat, his ultimate venture, named "The North River Steamboat, later called the "Clermont." The craft left New York City, proceeding up the Hudson River to Albany in only 32 hours At age 49, at the height of his fame and while working on various projects, a serous cold developed into pneumonia bringing about his death at his residence located in what is now Battery Place in lower Manhattan. His body lay in state there until a procession was formed conveying him to historic Trinity Church the site of his funeral. Thousands lined the route as minute-guns were fired from a steam-frigate anchored off shore in the Hudson River and the New York Battery. His service was attended by representatives from both the National and State governments as well as high officials of the City of New York. Interment followed with placement beside his wife (nee Harriet Livingston) in her family vault at Trinity Church Yard Cemetery.

Bio by: Donald Greyfield

Family Members





How famous was Robert Fulton?

Current rating:

125 votes

to cast your vote.

  • Maintained by: Find a Grave
  • Added: 31 Dec 2000
  • Find a Grave Memorial 372
  • Find a Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Robert Fulton (14 Nov 1765–24 Feb 1815), Find a Grave Memorial ID 372, citing Trinity Churchyard, Manhattan, New York County (Manhattan), New York, USA ; Maintained by Find A Grave .