John Fuller – three wives and too many children!

John Fuller married Ellen Harmer my great x 3 grandmother.  Ellen was his third wife.  I recently spent some time researching their children and looking at census returns I found children I could not account for which caused me to research his history and a very interesting history that turned out to be!

Brightling Church
Brightling Church

John was baptised on 30 May 1813 at Brightling, to Rose and Priscilla Fuller.  His first marriage was to Keturah Russell on 25 December 1840.  (A good Sussex name).  They were found together on the 1841 census living in Brightling, she was known as Kitty.  They had two children, Phoebe Ann baptised 6 February 1842 and Catherine baptised 20 October 1844, both at Brightling.  Keturah died in 1844 and by the time of the 1851 census John was with his second wife, Jane.

Jane Wickham is said to have come from Wadhurst and before she married John on 25 February 1850 in Burwash, she had had four children, Mary Ann born 1842, George Humphrey born 1844, James born 1846 and Edward born in 1849, baptised in Ticehurst or the poorhouse in Flimwell.  John and Jane had four children of their own; John baptised 7 December 1851, Stephan baptised 6 February 1854, Naomi baptised 1 March 1857 and Thomas John baptised 4 September 1859, all at Brightling.  The three younger of these children appear on the 1861 census along with some of the older children, although a mystery is William aged 16 (born 1845).

Jane apparently died at the end of May 1863 and was buried in Brightling and John married Ellen, my ancestor on 16 February 1866 in Brightling.  Ellen already had three illegitimate children; Ann Harmer baptised 10 April 1861 in Ashburnham, (she had died in 1863) James Frederick Samuel Harmer (my great great grandfather) baptised 3 November 1861 in Ashburnham, Harriet Rosina Harmer baptised 2 August 1863 in Ashburnham.

John and Ellen had six children between them; Philadelphia baptised 21 October 1866, George Thomas baptised 5 July 1868, Robert baptised 4 September 1870, Mary Louisa baptised 3 December 1872 (she died in Feburary 1873), Charles William baptised 1 November 1874 and Rachel Ann baptised 1 July 1877, again all at Brightling.

I am currently searching for marriages, burials and other records for these children.   John died in 1886 and was buried at Brightling.  So between him and his three wives there were 19 children born to this family.  Just imagine some of the later Christmas day gatherings!


Share This: