Monday, January 21, 2013

Amanuensis Monday: Biographical Sketch of Newton Fulkerson - 1893

Amanuensis: A person employed to write what another dictates or to copy what has been written by another.

I continue my project to transcribe family letters, journals, newspaper articles, audiotapes, and other historical artifacts. Not only do the documents contain genealogical information, the words breathe life into kin - some I never met - others I see a time in their life before I knew them.

I began this project back on February 16, 2009.  Since I began, many others have joined in on the meme. I am thrilled that this meme I started has inspired so many to transcribe their family history documents. Why do we transcribe? I provide my three reasons in the linked post. You may find others.

This week I look at a rather extensive biographical sketch of my wife's second great grandfather, Newton Fulkerson. The sketch was published in 1893.

Source: The Biographical Review of Johnson, Massac, Pope and Hardin Counties, Illinois: Containing Biographical Sketches of Prominent and Representative Citizens, Also Biographies of the Presidents of the United States, Biographical Publishing Company, 1893, pp. 531-532.

NEWTON FULKERSON was born in Pope County, Ill., in 1857. He is a son of J.F. Fulkerson, who was born in Kentucky in 1808. The latter was a farmer, as was also his father. J.F. Fulkerson had two brothers and three sisters, he being the eldest of the family. He came to Illinois a young man, and was married in 1832 to Priscilla Floyd, of Tennessee, a daughter of Jonathan Floyd, who came to Illinois in 1828, when she was but eleven years old, and at fifteen she was married. They began their married life as squatters on new wild land near Golconda, but some years later they entered and deeded from the Government four hundred and eighty acres of land at a “bit” per acre. On this they made a permanent home and here Mr. Fulkerson died in 1874, at the age of sixty-six years. He had lost one daughter at two years of age, and one son, Jonathan, in 1870, at the age of thirty-eight. He left eight children, five sons and three daughters, all still living but one, Mary, wife of Jacob S. Barger, who died in 1886 at the age of forty-two years, leaving ten children. The mother [ed. Priscilla Floyd Fulkerson] is seventy-five years old. Her seven children are: Richard, a farmer of Pope County; William B., an hotel-keeper in Kansas; Julia, widow of G.B. Hart, living on her farm in Pope County; James L., a farmer living near the old homestead; America, wife of A.J. Blackman, a farmer of Saline County; and Jasper and Newton (twins), the former a farmer and lumberman living near by.

Newton Fulkerson was reared to habits of industry and began following the plow when seven years of age, he and his twin brother plowing with one horse, one riding the horse, the other holding the plow. His educational advantages were very limited, yet he learned to read and write, and to understand arithmetic to some extent. He remained at home until his marriage, March 1, 1876, when he was nineteen years old, to Luverba Blackman, who was born in Saline County, Ill., and is a daughter of William and Julia (Hargraves) Blackman, both of Illinois. Mr. and Mrs. Fulkerson began their married life on the farm which his father owned at the time of his death, and lived there until 1886, when they removed to their present home, the farm upon which they no live containing two hundred and twenty-nine acres and being on section 23, township 11, range 6. They have one hundred acres under cultivation, on which he raises corn, wheat, oats and hay, his wheat yield being from four hundred to five hundred bushels, and his corn about three hundred bushels. He keeps horses for working and raises a few cattle, sheep and hogs for the market.

Our subject has served as Commissioner of Highways and as School Trustee. In politics he is a Democrat, and he and his wife are members of the Regular Baptist Church. Their seven children are still living, six daughters and one son, viz; Julia, a young lady of fifteen years; Della, thirteen; Willie, ten; Ethel, eight; Priscilla, six; Ella, three; and Rista, an infant. They are all in school but the three youngest, and are making commendable progress in their studies. Mr. Fulkerson, like most of his family, is about six feet high and strongly built. Like his twin brother he is a farmer, a lumberman and manufacturer of staves, and does much hard work. They are typical frontiersman, industrious and honest, and are of excellent character and citizenship, having the respect of the entire community.


1) I added the bracketed identification of Priscilla Floyd Fulkerson in the first paragraph, since the antecedent isn't immediately obvious.

2) The twins appear to have been named Japser Newton and Newton Jasper. This has caused some occasional confusion in online family trees.

3) My wife's great grandmother, Mabel Ada Fulkerson, was born in 1901, several years after this sketch was written. Her brother, James Herman Fulkerson, was born in 1894, one year after the sketch was written. The rest of her siblings are mentioned.

3) My assumption is that the information all came from the family of Newton Fulkerson.

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