Stirpes, Volume 35, Number 3, September 1995 Page: 58
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-TIRPES SEPJ'EMRERA19A 5
Who Was M.A. Fuller on the Old Hico Plaque?
By Nora Sue Mercer T. Hamilton
When the Fuller families arrived in Hamilton Co., Texas, around 1858 and
settled on the bank of Honey Creek near Old Hico, there were apparently three
brothers bearing that last name: James R., age 54; Ransom, 44, and Pertillar
(Pestillar/Patiller/Patilla), 40, for the 1860 Hamilton County Census seems to be the first
record of their existence in the county.
Pertillar was listed in the 1860 Census as having a wife and five children. His
occupation is given as a waggoner although other county histories credit Pertillar as
one of the county's first educators. The two oldest children were William H. and
Melinda E., born in Mississippi; the youngest three were Maria, Amanda, and Mary Etta,
born in Texas. Amanda's birth date places the family in Texas as early as 23 May 1854
and possible in Hamilton County by that date.
Life on the frontier was taxing and extremely life-threatening, and every
available man was enlisted to protect each other from the still warring Indians. At that
time whether you had a young family or not mattered little since the Indians were a
constant danger, and Pertillar committed himself to the task of defending his home and
newly adopted state. Even when Captain Rice called for volunteers to form the 2nd
Frontier Division of the Texas State Troops, Pertillar's age of 44 failed to eliminate him
as well. However, something went wrong other than battle, for Private Pertillar Fuller
served only eighteen days and was discharged 20 September 1864 on "account of
disability." The Fuller family even appeared on Chief Justice Harrison Secrest's
"Indigent List" dated 17 February 1864 for Hamilton County's Militia Organization.
After his discharge, Pertillar Fuller continued to pay taxes in Hamilton County
and did so from 1860-1868. He voted up to 1867 and bought and sold land as early as
1861 and as late as 1867. Then Pertillar's name disappears from all records. What
happened to Pertillar? More than likely the "disability" that allowed his discharge took
its toll and he rests in Old Hico Cemetery beneath an unmarked or poorly carved and
now unreadable headstone.
So, who was M.A. Fuller and why is this name on the commemorative marker
now marking the site of Old Hico? M.A. Fuller was Mary Ann, the wife of Pertillar. It is
her name that appears on the marker and not Pertillar's since he died at some point
after 1867. On 11 June 1873, James C. Frazier sold to Mary Ann Fuller two and a half
acres of land located in Hico in Hamilton County; however, rather than giving her name
as Mary Ann Fuller, the deed refers to the buyer as "M.A. Fuller and her heirs"
repeatedly. The customs of the time prevailed, for women were excluded or protected
from the world of men as well as in the courts, for rather than give her full name as the
legal document had given the seller's full name, hers was reduced to initials to conform
to the rules and regulations of the period. However, not all census takers followed
those stipulations, for the 1870 Census of Hamilton County, Texas, lists Mary Fuller as
head of the household with three children, and then again in the 1880 Census of the
same county, M.A. Fuller, age 55, is listed as mother to the head of the household
William H. Fuller. In addition, it seems to be at this point on the census when the family
lists boarders, as well as 1900 and 1910. In fact, William H. Fuller's occupation is given
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Texas State Genealogical Society. Stirpes, Volume 35, Number 3, September 1995, periodical, September 1995; San Antonio, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth39862/m1/60/: accessed April 26, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Genealogical Society.