Showing posts with label Civil War. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Civil War. Show all posts

Saturday, January 11, 2020

The Story of Isaac D Fuller

Isaac D Fuller
Back when I was updating all the military record for my Ancestry tree, this photo popped up as a hint. "Ah, a terrible war injury", I thought. Isaac had enrolled in the Company A of the 30th Maine and served as a private. He enlisted in 1863 and mustered out in Savannah, Georgia in 1865. So, perhaps he was part of Sherman's march-to-the-sea.  The tag on the photo gave the name of the Ancestry member who originally uploaded the photo. So I messaged her and inquired about the photo.

Now Isaac D. Fuller is not a close relative. His mother was a Farrar. One of the Farrars married a Lowell whose child  in turn married a Smith. I descend from that marriage. But I love a good story and this photo just got to me. I was delighted when the person who uploaded it responded. Yes, she is his third great-granddaughter through one of his daughters. She knew the story. There has been an accident.
She told me what she knew.

In the meantime, other hints kept popping up for Isaac, for his four children and for his three wives. Isaac lived quite a life. Finally, recently, I decided to do a little looking again. From what this lady told me, the accident was quite the event. Surely it would have been covered in the local paper. Sure enough, I found this.
It was in the Oxford Democrat for the week following the accident.  To save your eyes I'll put the text below.
The Buckfield Celebration
A Sad Accident Throws a Gloom Over an Otherwise Happy Day
"At Buckfield, as at most places, the spirit of Independence commenced to assert itself early. In fact, very little sleep was in store for the inhabitants of the place on Friday night, but a most sad and painful accident occurred which cast a gloom and dampness over the ardor of everybody. While engaged in firing the sunrise salute, Isaac D Fuller, who was in charge of the artillery for the day, was the victim of an accident which cost him both his arms, if indeed he escapes with his life. Mr. Fuller had been loading and firing an anvil. He was loading for another shot, when the weapon discharged with a tremendous report knocking him senseless. It was found upon examination that Mr. Fullers arms were so badly shattered that it was necessary to amputate them, and that he had probably lost the use of one eye. Drs. Caldwell, Bridgham and Decoster were immediately called and performed the amputation. It was thought during the day that Mr. Fuller could not live, but he rested comfortably Saturday night and on Sunday walked a short distance, from one room to another. It is hoped that his eyes may be saved. Truman Damon also lost or came near to losing an eye by the same explosion. The theory of the accident is, that Mr. Fuller was loading and firing too fast,  not giving the anvil time to cool, and the untimely explosion caused by putting the powder into the hot weapon."
So Isaac survived two years on the battlefield only to come home and blow his arms off in a Fourth of July celebration. And then he survived even that! This is one tough character. Other articles popped up in the Democrat which painted an even more colorful portrait of Isaac.
Addendum:  I belong to a Civil War forum to mine information from the people there in reference to another relative. I asked them about what an "anvil" might be other than blacksmithing equipment.
The response was unbelievable.
"Anvil shoots have been a whacky form of entertainment going back centuries. The hollow space cast into the base of an anvil is filled with black powder. A second anvil is place atop the other. Alternatively, the face of one anvil has an even layer of black powder laid on it. A second anvil, upside down, is placed atop the powder. From a (hopefully) safe distance the powder is ignited & ka-boom! An anvil weighting 100 pounds sails 100 or more feet into the air. This form of entertainment is still common today. Yes, it is wildly, absurdly, absolutely, insanely dangerous. The blacksmith forge I belong to raised money for a comrade who suffered traumatic amputation of some body parts in a premature detonation. I know this sounds crazy (my wife is rolling her eyes behind me as I type this). There really is something wildly entertaining about the improbable sight of an explosion & anvil shooting up out of a cloud of white black powder smoke. ('For some people, maybe.' says my sweetie.) Added to the thrill, of course, is that the ballistic qualities of an anvil make its eventual resting place a matter of conjecture only."
Should you care to browse old newspapers in search of your own relatives, Chronicling America has a wonderful resource here. I even had some success finding out more about Isaac using their advanced search function. This is one site I'll be visiting often.
Sometimes my curiosity just gets the better of me, but sometimes the results are worth it.

Monday, May 25, 2015

In Memorial

Civil War Memorial, Litchfield Plains, Maine
Courtesy historical society of Litchfield

As I've worked along through the tree, I've discovered that a number of my relatives volunteered and served in the American Civil War.  I've talked about some of them already, but I continue to find people in more remote corners of the tree.  Today for Memorial Day I  will honor these more distant relatives.
The years are the years of service best I could determine. The two with extra notations died in service.
Emory Rogers 1861-1863
Perley H Richardson 1862-1863
Lorenzo M. Richardson 1863-1865
Oliver Bartlett Richardson 1861-1863
Charles Henry Howe 1862-1864 Andersonville
Benjamin F Roberts 1862-1864
Correctus H Richardson 1864-1864 Battle of the Wilderness