The Pilgrims who survived the sickness the spring of 1621 now became pioneers in the settling and development of the new land. They were soon aided by new arrivals from across the sea. Some of the new arrivals were descendants and kinfolk of the original Mayflower Pilgrims. As the population increased new colonies were established up and down the coast from Plymouth and began moving inland too. In order to insure the success of these new colonies, it became a requirement that young men from the stronger colonies relocate to one of the smaller, weaker colonies. One of these new settlements was Barnstable, which is on the south side of Cape Cod Bay and on the shore of Barnstable Harbor.
Edward Fuller’s two sons, Matthew and Samuel, were among those who settled at Barnstable and certainly contributed their share to the development of the area. Samuel was in America something like 20 years before Matthew, having come on the Mayflower with his parents. When both parents died that first spring in Plymouth he went to live withe his Uncle Samuel, the famous Pilgrim doctor, and his Aunt Bridget. In 1624, when the Plymouth Colony land was divided, Samuel was given three shares; one for himself and the two that would have gone to his parents. Then, in 1633, his uncle also died and Samuel was on his own thereafter. He became a freeman of the colony in 1634. Shortly thereafter he moved to Scituate which was up the coast about halfway to Boston. In Scituate he found the daughter of Reverend John Lothrop very appealing and he and Jane were married on the eighth of April in 1635. The following year he built the fifteenth house to be built in Scituate. He also owned twenty acres of land there. In 1644 he moved, with his family, to Barnstable where he remained until his death in 1683. Samuel was the only Mayflower passenger to settle permanently in Barnstable.
Matthew Fuller, the older son of Edward and Ann, would have been a teenage boy at the time the Mayflower sailed; and so his parents left him in England to finish his education and training. His performance in the colonies left no doubt that giving him an education had been a worthwhile investment.
When Matthew came to Plymouth in 1640 he would have been 35 years old or more. He was married and had several children. His wife’s name was Frances and it is thought that her maiden name was Iyde but there is no conclusive evidence to verify that. In 1642 he was assigned ten acres of land in Plymouth. At other times he was granted land at Falmouth and Middleboro. These lands were granted on the basis of being a “first born” child of a Mayflower passenger. He was not born in America, but in cases where the parents had died without having a child born in America, the grant of land went to their oldest living child. Some modern day historians insist that Matthew was not Edward’s son, primarily because records were found in England showing that John Fuller had a son named Matthew. However, this granting of land leaves no doubt that the officers of the Plymouth colonies knew him to be the son of Edward. Also, in certain court records, Matthew’s son, Dr. John Fuller, refers to Samuel Fuller as “Uncle.” this leaves no doubt that Matthew and Samuel were brothers.
In 1643 a military company was formed by the colony court to serve the towns of Plymouth, Duxbury and Mansfield with Miles Standish as captain and Matthew Fuller was appointed Sargent, which was and honorable position at that time. Somewhere around 1650 he moved to Barnstable and, in 1652, was elected Lieutenant of the Barnstable militia company. In 1653 he became Barnstable’s deputy to the colony court. In 1658 he was elected to the council of war and, by 1671, was chairman of that body. That same year he was Lieutenant of the forces that fought the Saconet Indians. In 1673 he was appointed Surgeon General of the colony troops and then of the Massachusetts colonies. At this time the chief of the Wampanoag Indians was Metacomet who was known by the colonists as King Phillip. In 1675 the Wampanoags became resentful of the spreading of the settlements and began trying of stop the white people by raiding, killing and burning. This was known as King Phillip’s War. Matthew served as Captain of the Plymouth forces during King Phillip’s War.
Excerpted from “Wool Trompers” by J. L. Fuller
Thousand of people descend from one or more of the Mayflower Pilgrims. Do you? Do you know someone who does? Have you ever researched your ancestry? It can be fascinating.