Samuel Fullerton


SAMUEL FULLERTON, in his day one of the most progressive business men of Freeport, Armstrong county, was a native of Ireland, born in 1813, at Ballyclare, County Antrim, son of John Fullerton, of the same place.

John Fullerton married Mary Biggs, also of Ballyclare, and they came to America in 1818, locating first in Philadelphia, Pa., and later at Pittsburgh, Pa. In 1820 they came to Freeport, Armstrong county, Pa., where John Fullerton was one of the first doctors, as well as one of the first merchants, and he became well known and esteemed there, though he did not live many years after coming to the place, dying in 1830. His widow died at Butler, Pa., with her son Hugh, Jan. 3, 1880. They were members of the Presbyterian Church. They were the parents of four sons and one daughter, namely: (1) Samuel is mentioned below. (2) William P. lived and died at Freeport, and his wife Jane (Griffith) is also deceased. They were married in December, 1854, and had two children: Mary E., who married E. P. Johnson, of Pittsburgh, Pa., and Hans, who is in the government service at Allegheny, Pa. (3) Hugh, born in 1822 in Freeport, had a woolen mill in Butler, Pa. He married Margaret Bonney about 1851-52, and his second wife was Jane Green. He had two children, James and Emma, both now deceased. (4) Mary married John W. Ridpath, a merchant at Freeport, Pa., and both are deceased. They had two children, Ida and Ellen. (5) James B., now deceased, was an attorney at Kittanning, Pa. About 1858 he married Samantha Ralston, and they had four children, three of whom are living: Hugh, who is living at Pittsburgh, Pa.; Katherine; and Dorwin P., who is in the electrical business in California.

Samuel Fullerton had little chance to go to school, as he was only twelve years old when his father died. He went to work to learn cabinetmaking with James Milligan, and later went to Pittsburgh and found employment on steamboats. Then for some time he was engaged at cabinetmaking and the carpenter's trade at Freeport and Leechburg, during this period building the old "Leechburg House." He and his brother William P. Fullerton were the most progressive men in Freeport. They were carpenters and contractors, and in 1840 established the woolen mills at Freeport known as the Hope Woolen Mill, which they operated together until 1861, when William P. Fullerton died. The establishment was burned out in 1864, and rebuilt. After Samuel Fullerton's death, which occurred Dec. 21, 1865, the firm became known as M. B. & J. H. Fullerton, the widows carrying on the business from 1865 to 1881. The sons then ran it for a while, eventually selling to Boggs & Buhl. Mr. Fullerton and his brothers were also in the oil business in Venango county in the early days. They were self-made by hard work and intelligent application of their efforts making their way to a substantial position among the men of their time in Freeport, and holding the respect and confidence of the best element in the borough. They were Republicans in politics, but took no active part in such matters, never caring for office.

On March 16, 1854, Mr. Fullerton married Margaret B. Bright, who was born March 8, 1832, at Oakmont, Pa., daughter of Peter and Margaret V. (Parsell) Bright of Allegheny county, Pa., and granddaughter of Michael Bright, Sr.

Michael Bright, Sr., was born Sept. 10, 1762, in Lancaster county, Pa., and in the year 1814 located in the vicinity of Pittsburgh, on what was then known as Coal Hill. There he lived two years, at the end of that time moving twelve miles up the Allegheny river, where he purchased a tract of land comprising about three hundred acres, running back from the river three quarters of a mile. There were no improvements thereon at the time of his arrival except a log house. Mr. Bright at once built a new and comfortable log house, and afterward the small brick residence in which he lived until his death. This little brick house is still standing and in good repair. He married Barbara Winters, of Lancaster county, Pa., and the following children were born to them: John, Jacob, Catherine, Margaret, Michael, Jr., Henry, Sarah Elizabeth, Barbara, George David, Samuel, William, Mary, Peter and Adam. Mrs. Bright died Aug. 28, 1823, and for his second wife Mr. Bright married Mrs. Margaret Beamer. He died in March, 1847. In religious profession they were Lutherans. At the death of his father Peter took the farm.

Peter Bright, born in Lancaster county, Pa., Jan. 6, 1805, died Nov. 19, 1858. By trade he was a potter, having served his apprenticeship in Greensburg, Pa., but he made farming his business after the death of his father. He always took an active part in township affairs, was a member of the school board, and held other offices in the township. He gave the lot on which the United Presbyterian church was built. He erected a fine residence on the bank of the river in which his daughters now reside. By his marriage to Margaret V. Parsell, of Plum township, Allegheny county, were born eleven children as follows: Harriet, Mrs. McNickle, deceased; Margaret B., Mrs. Samuel Fullerton; Adam, who married Elizabeth Hilton, and died at Andersonville, Ga., in 1863, at which time he had been serving two years in the Union army; Charles R., who enlisted in the Union army in October, 1861, passed through the battle of Gettysburg, and was killed July 10, 1863, near Boonesboro, Md.; Sarah B., who married James Remaley, of Springdale, Pa., and has children, Charles, Stella, Roy, Margaret and Jay; Michael, who died in infancy; Salinda, Mrs. William Anderson, deceased; Peter Winters, who died in March, 1868; Rachel R., deceased; Eliza A., and Mary J., who are unmarried and live at the old home. The mother of this family died July 2, 1872; she was a member of the United Presbyterian Church.

To Mr. and Mrs. Fullerton were born five children, and four survive, all of whom were educated at the home schools; (1) John F., who is engaged in business as a merchant at Freeport, married Ann Gregg and has two children, Rachel and Samuel. (2) Peter B. is a painter and paper hanger at Freeport. He married and has one daughter, Margaret. (3) Joseph M., who is unmarried, is engaged as a carpenter and painter at Freeport. (4) William P., of Freeport, a painter and contractor, married Minnie Iseman.

Source: Pages 578-579, Armstrong County, Pa., Her People, Past and Present, J.H. Beers & Co., 1914
Transcribed January 1999 by Connie Mateer for the Armstrong County Beers Project
Contributed for use by the Armstrong County Genealogy Project (

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