Sunday, June 5, 2011

The Loves of a Sailor.....James Henry Fuller

It may be true the old saying that a sailor has a girl in every port.

Benjamin C Cromwell Schooner
My Great-Great Grandfather, James Henry Fuller was a sailor living in Portland, Maine.  He was a captain or first mate on commercial ships which sailed from Portland to Boston and New York.  He was born 9/12/1827 in Windsor, Nova Scotia and was a commercial sailor from 1847-1905.  These weren't steam or diesel ships, but the old three masted schooners powered by nothing but sails and wind.

When not at sea, or possibly because of so much time at sea, James Henry Fuller was married 4 or 5 times!!  He married:  Mary Farr, Ellen Downey, Laura Freeman, Margaret Armstrong O'Hagen (she had been married before) and possibly Mary Newcomb.  For Mary Newcomb, the "intention to marry" was filed with the City of Portland, but I can't find an actual marriage record, so they may have called it off before the wedding.

It would appear the James H Fuller liked getting married, but may not have enjoyed being married quite so much.  To be fair to him, diseases that we don't worry much about today like scarlett fever, measles and pneumonia claimed many people at a young age.  It is likely several of his wive's died young and caused him to remarry.

He married his last wife, Margaret Armstrong O'Hagen, when he was 55 years of age (12/31/1882).  It was a good thing he did, because Margaret gave birth to my Great-Grandmother, Elizabeth M Fuller in 1886.  He was 59 and still spent much of his time at sea.  I don't think I would be up to being a father of a newborn at that stage of my life.

Here is a copy of Maine Marriage record of James H Fuller and Margaret Armstrong O'Hagen.

How did I uncover this information about the many marriages of James H Fuller?  The State of Maine has put most of their birth, marriage and death records online.  They are easily accessible on  If you aren't a member of you can also go to or which offers the same state of Maine vital records.

More on the life of James Henry Fuller in future posts.....

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