Bessie Eveline Fuller 1895 – 1970

Bessie Fuller was born 29 January 1895 in Portsmouth, NH.  She was the third child of George Herbert Fuller, laborer, and Adeline L Spinney.  Adeline had another daughter from a previous marriage to Charles Tetherly, so Bessie had an older sister, Estella, and older brother, George Junior (Fuller).  Another sister, Olive Fuller, died at age 2 of croup before Bessie was born.  Another sibling was stillborn, on Christmas Eve in 1896.

The 1900 census shows the Fuller family at 25 Gates Street in Portsmouth.  Their house was rented.  Bessie’s father was a laborer for the railroad.  This record says that Bessie’s mother has had 6 children, with three still living.  If this is accurate, then I am missing either a Tetherly or Fuller baby. 

Bessie had another sister, Violet, who was born 19 December 1900.  She died at age 2 ½ of convulsions.  

The 1910 census lists the Fuller family at 25 Gates Street.  George was a laborer at a stable.  This census says that Bessie’s mother has had seven children, three still living.  This is consistent with the 1900 census and implies that Bessie had another sibling or half sibling who I have not yet found.  George Jr was part of the household, a laborer doing odd jobs.  

In 1920, Bessie (called Lizzie in the census) lived with her parents at 180 Gates.  She did not have an occupation listed.  It looks like her father was a general helper working for the government.  Her brother George and his wife Rose were also in the household.  It looks like George Jr was a messenger for the government.  The family also took in boarders – R and R A Mowatt. 

In 1930, Bessie, recorded as Elizabeth, was living with her parents in a rented house at 180 Gates.  They paid $14 per month.  Bessie’s parents had no occupation listed.  Her brother George, now widowed by his second wife Kathleen, was also in the household, employed as a laborer, doing odd jobs.  Bessie did not have an occupation listed.  

Bessie’s father died in 1934 in Portsmouth, and her brother died in 1936.  In 1940, Bessie and her mother were living at 180 Gates.  Neither had an occupation listed.  180 Gates is in Portsmouth’s South End, an old part of town, with large houses that front right on the street, with no yards in front, just in back.  The house at 180 Gates is (or was recently) for sale, and is now described as an antique colonial, although the year build is not listed.  The realtor’s photos show fireplaces in almost every room.  What the Fullers paid $14 per month for 82 years ago has been beautifully restored and is now selling for almost $800,000.    

Bessie’s mother died in 1954.  In 1957, the Portsmouth city directory listed Bessie living at #1 Jackson, no occupation listed.  This was possibly an apartment or rooming house, as there were other people listed at the same address.  

In 1961, Bessie was living with George A and Harriet Boone.  I do not know if they were relatives.  George had a trucking business on Elwyn road.   

Bessie died 25 June 1970 in Portsmouth.  The Herald published her obituary the next day:   DOVER – Miss Bessie Elizabeth Fuller, 75, of 5 Charles St., a former resident of 180 Gates St., Portsmouth, died yesterday at a local nursing home.  Born in Portsmouth Jan. 29, 1895, she was the daughter of the late George H. and Addie Spinney Fuller.  Miss Fuller was a lifelong member of the North Congregational Church and a member of the Order of Pocahontas.  Survivors include several …. (text missing – probably  nieces and nephews.)  The Rev. John N Feaster, D.D., pastor of the North Congregational Church, officiated.  Included in attendance were members of the church, of which Miss Fuller was a member.  Also in attendance was Mayor Eileen D. Foley.  Burial was in the family lot in Sagamore Cemetery, with committal prayers by Dr. Feasler.  Bearers were George Boone Sr., George Boone Jr., Richard Boone, and Jerry Tuter. 

The “Order of Pocahontas” was a group formed in the early 1900s as an adjunct to the “Improved Order of Redmen”, which was the group of men, also known as the Sons of Liberty, responsible for the Boston Tea Party.  The goal of these groups is to keep America’s founding traditions alive, and to increase understanding of American history.


1 Comment

  1. Aleta Bilodeau said,

    May 30, 2014 at 13:48

    I was searching for info on my grandfather George Herbert Fuller, Jr. & found this info about his sister Bessie. I knew Bessie as I was 16 & my parents would visit her at Charles St. I am happy to now know some things about the family I hadn’t already known. My mom is one of George Jr.’s twin daughters, who is still living in NH. Thank you for Susan’s Space.

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