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THOMAS D. FULLER.
No more worthy and enterprising pioneer ever threaded his way through the wilderness in the west than the subject of this article. He has wrought in various capacities all through the northwest manifesting great wisdom and energy, and has invariably been crowned with success in all his ventures. In northern Washington, Mr. Fuller is well known as one of the earliest pioneers and intrepid adventurers of the days gone by. A moving spirit in the organization of three counties, he has taken a part in history that might make any man justly proud. A brief epitome of his career will be interesting reading and we append the name.
Thomas D. Fuller was born in Carroll county, Missouri, on April 28, 1842, the son of Arnold and Sarah (Green) Fuller, natives of Ohio. They came to Missouri in 1842, and in 1845 took up that most unique and perilous journey, a trip across the plains with wagons. The father was captain of a train of one hundred and sixty wagons, most of which were ox teams, and was called to meet the sadness of burying his wife on the dreary plains. They had many encounters with the Indians, but finally succeeded in reaching the Willamette valley. Settlement was made where Corvallis now stands, and there the family remained until the father’s death in 1879. He had married a second time and to this second marriage seven children were born, while by the first marriage, eight children were born. Our subject remembers that in those early days their shoes, and much of their outer clothing, were made of buckskin. At the old district school house Mr. Fuller was educated, his first teacher being ex-state representative Slater, while William H. Hill, who afterwards wrote the codes of Oregon and Washington, was his classmate. At the age of fifteen, our subject inaugurated independent action and with his brother, Henry, went into the stock business, furnishing the English navy at Victoria with beef in 1859. In 1860 we find him mining in the Carliboo region. Two years later, he came back to Oregon, bringing a pack train of sixty mules, and commenced transporting goods to Florence, Idaho, being one of the first packers in that country. In 1864 he was packing from Walla Walla to Boise, being interested with Jacobs & Company. In 1865 he sold out and at The Dalles, Oregon, bought a large drove of beef cattle which he took to Montana and sold for twenty five cents per pound. In company with two others, Thomas and Green, he started to Texas to buy a large drove of cattle, having ninety thousand dollars in cash. On the way they were overpowered by highwaymen and lost all their money and accoutrements. Later, the robbers gave each one a saddle, a horse and one thousand dollars with strict orders to leave the country. Coming back to Montana, our subject mined for two years, then went to Portland, Oregon, and engaged in the livery business. His property burned there and Mr. Fuller sustained a heavy loss. He then went to the San Joaquin valley, California, and leasing a farm, turned his attention to farming. He soon had six thousand acres in crops, as wheat, oats and barley, which were entirely destroyed by the hot winds. After that he went to San Diego, California, and for two years was city marshal and sheriff for four years. Next we see him in business in San Luis Obispo county, after which he came to Walla Walla where he was engaged in the retail liquor business for a short season, then worked on the construction of the Northern Pacific. Upon the completion of that road, we see him in Siskiyou, Oregon, on the California and Oregon railroad, keeping hotel. In 1883 he was in the gold rush to the Coeur d’Alene country, and in 1885 came to Colville. Here he was deputy sheriff under Oscar Bates, and later went to Okanagan county and located the town site of Ruby. In connection with George Hurley, who is present state senator, Phil Perkins, Hiram Begal, Ike Keene and John Stanton, he laid the plans that finally resulted in the separation of Okanogan and Stevens counties. He was deputy sheriff of Okanogan county for two years. Until 1894 he was interested in real estate and mining, and the next two years were spent in prospecting in British Columbia. In 1896 he came to where Republic now stands, and took up land adjoining the townsite. He now has a valuable farm of one hundred and sixty acres, well improved with buildings, fences, orchard, and so forth. Mr. Fuller gives his entire attention to farming and mining, and is one of the prosperous men of the section.
In 1864 Mr. Fuller married Miss Mary J., daughter of Adam and Phoebe Overacker, natives of Iowa. To this union two children have been born, Thomas D., a groceryman in Palo Alto, California, and Dora, living with her brother. Mr. Fuller is an active Democrat, and has held many offices during his life. He is a charter member of the Order of Eagles, and is also well connected in other fraternal relations.
By way of reminiscence, it is worthy to note that Mr. Fuller had two nieces and one aunt murdered in the terrible Mountain Meadow massacre, near Salt Lake, Utah.
Mr. Fuller was the first notary public in Okanogan county, before Washington was admitted as a state, and after that event he was appointed the first notary of the county.
[Source: “An Illustrated History of Stevens, Ferry, Okanogan, and Chelan Counties in the state of Washington”; Western Historical Publishing Company, 1904. Tr. by Rhonda Hill]

 

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