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James F. Fuller. A man whose energy, resourcefulness and well directed endeavors have gained to him a large degree of material prosperity is the well known citizen whose name introduces this review and who has been among the most influential in connection with the development and advancement of the civic and material interests of Sapulpa and of Creek County. In the county he has a well improved landed estate, devoted to diversified agriculture and stock-growing, and at the county seat, Sapulpa, he is the owner of valuable city property, besides which he has been a prominent figure in the business activities of the city and as a broad-minded and progressive citizen who has the confidence and good will of the community in which he is entitled to pioneer honors.
Mr. Fuller was born in a pioneer home on the site of the present Union Passenger Station in the City of Waterloo, Blackhawk County, Iowa, the major part of his father’s original homestead farm being now included within the corporate limits of that city. The date of Mr. Fuller’s nativity was April 1, 1859, and he is a son of Woodbury and Matilda (Shaffer) Fuller, the former of whom was born in Ohio and the latter in Pennsylvania. Woodbury Fuller was a child when he accompanied his parents to Indiana, and was a boy at the time when the family removed to Iowa and became very early settlers of Blackhawk County. Woodbury Fuller was reared to manhood in the Hawkeye State, where was solemnized his marriage to Miss Matilda Shaffer, whose father had entered claim to the tract of land on which the subject of this sketch was born, and whose husband entered claim to an adjoining tract. At the outbreak of the Civil war Woodbury Fuller promptly enlisted as a member of an Iowa volunteer regiment, and it was not long afterward that he sacrificed his life on the altar of patriotism, as he was killed in the battle of Shiloh. About ten years later his widow became the wife of his brother, Aaron Fuller, three children having been born of the first marriage and four of the second.
After the close of the war the family removed to Texas and established a home three miles southwest of the City of Dallas, which was then little more than a frontier trading post. The thriving little City of Oakliff, a virtual suburb of Dallas, is situated on a portion of the old Fuller homestead farm in Dallas County. Mrs. Matilda (Shaffer) Fuller survived her second husband and continued her residence in the Lone Star State until the time of her death, in 1903.
James F. Fuller was a mere lad at the time of the family removal to Texas, where he was reared to adult age on the home farm in Dallas County and where he availed himself of the advantages of the schools of the period. He there continued to be actively identified with agricultural pursuits until he had attained to the age of nineteen years, when he joined the celebrated Texas Rangers, who were then in pursuit of the notorious outlaw, Sam Bass. Mr. Fuller remained with the gallant frontier rangers one year, and the following year he devoted to work on ranches in Taylor and Brown counties. He next made a trip into Nebraska and Kansas, and in 1880, at Parsons, Kansas, was solemnized his marriage to Miss Ursula Coffield, who was born in Indiana but reared and educated in Kansas. After his marriage Mr. Fuller was a resident of Nebraska four years, and he and his family passed the ensuing four years in Texas. Shortly after the opening of Oklahoma Territory to settlement Mr. Fuller established the family home in Oklahoma City, and brought his excellent mechanical skill into effective play by engaging in bridge and railroad construction work, to which he devoted his attention for eighteen months. At the opening of the Cherokee Strip he entered a claim, hut the same was contested and he made no strenuous attempt to hold the property.
In 1895 Mr. Fuller became one of the pioneer settlers in the little Village of Sapulpa, and he has since maintained his home here, the while he has been closely and prominently identified with the upbuilding of the fine city that is now the judicial center and metropolis of Creek County. In the earlier period of his residence at Sapulpa Mr. Fuller gave distinctive evidence of his versatility and industry by doing effective service as a carpenter, stone mason and plasterer. Across Euch Creek he built a bridge with seventy-five-foot span, this being the first bridge constructed at Sapulpa and in Creek County. He worked at his trades about eight years, and for a number of years thereafter was successfully engaged in the general merchandise business, besides which he conducted a meat market for some time. He now gives his supervision to his well improved farm, which comprises a half section of land located 5½ miles southwest of the Village of Kellyville and devoted to diversified agriculture and the raising of high grade live stock. In his home City of Sapulpa he is the owner of five residence properties, and he erected two substantial business buildings which he later sold, one being on Main Street and the other on Hobson Street. Mr. Fuller had but nominal financial resources when he established his residence at Sapulpa, and the tangible evidences of success achieved by him are those afforded in his ownership of valuable property and his status as one of the independent and well-to-do citizens of the county of which he is a pioneer.
Mr. Fuller gives unqualified allegiance to the democratic party, and though he has had no desire for public office he showed his civic loyalty through his effective service as a member of the first city council of Sapulpa. He has been identified with the Independent Order of Odd Fellows for a score of years and is affiliated also with the Fraternal Order of Eagles.
It has already been noted that in 1880 Mr. Fuller wedded Miss Ursula Coffield, and she has proved a devoted companion and helpmeet to him during the long intervening period. They have nine children, namely: Woodbury, Maude, Claude, Daisy, Lulu, Norton, Myrtle, Stella and Arthur. The eldest was named in honor of his paternal grandfather; Maude is the wife of Robert Norman, of Sapulpa; Claude is identified with business activities in this city; Daisy is the wife of Frederick Boyce, of Sapulpa; Lulu is the wife of Frank Altman, of Bristow, Creek County; Norman has the practical supervision of his father’s farm; and the three younger children are members of the parental home circle.