Samuel Fuller (1580-1633)

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Dr. Samuel Fuller was born 20 January 1580 in Redenhall, Norfolk, England, United Kingdom to Robert Fuller (c1548-1614) and Sarah Dunkhorn (1551-1584) and died September 1633 in Plymouth Colony, Plymouth, Plymouth County, Massachusetts, United States of unspecified causes. He married Alice Glascock (1585-) in Norfolk, England, United Kingdom. He married Agnes Carpenter (1582-1615) 24 April 1613 in Leiden, South Holland, Netherlands. He married Bridget Lee (1600-1667) 27 May 1617 in Leiden, South Holland, Netherlands.

Samuel and his brother Edward were passengers of the 1620 Mayflower and early settlers of Plymouth Colony.

Samuel Fuller (baptised 29 January 1580 – died 1633) was an English doctor and church deacon. He is remembered as one of the Separatist Pilgrims who together formed the Pilgrim colony at Plymouth Rock.

Vital Statistics

  • Son of Robert Fuller and Sara Dunkhorn. Robert was a butcher in the Norwich area.
  • Birth?
  • 1580-Jan-20 : Baptism - at Redenhall Parish, Harleston, Norfolk, England.
  • Married First - Alice Glascock
  • 1613 - Married Second - Agnes (Anna) Carpenter - 1613
  • 1617 - Married Third - Bridget Lee
  • 1620 - Trip to Plymouth Rock on the Mayflower
  • 1633 - Died during the Plymouth Colony Smallpox plague of 1633.



Initially Samuel learned the trade of a say-weaver [2], one who makes cloth for tablecloths and bedding.

In 1604 the Puritan minister John Robinson left his position at Cambridge to become pastor of St. Andrew's Church in Norwich. In the face of persecution from King James I, Robinson left Norwich and soon made his way to the village of Scrooby. Samuel Fuller went to Scrooby as well at this time, presumably influenced by Robinson. In 1609 the Separatist congregation at Scrooby escaped to Holland and made their way to the city of Leiden, where they could worship as they pleased. Fuller went with them to Leiden and became a deacon in their congregation.

Voyage of the Mayflower

Samuel Fuller traveled on the Mayflower with the family of his brother Edward Fuller (1575-1621).


Mayflower at Provincetown Harbor

The Mayflower, originating from London with a group of Adventurers bound for the New World rendezvoused on 22 July with the Speedwell just arriving from Holland with a group of religious refugees from Leiden. Originally intended to sail jointly to the English Colony in Virginia it soon became evident that Speedwell was not seaworthy. Passengers and cargo were combined onto Mayflower (with many left behind) for the journey, finally departing on September 9.

During the voyage fierce storms blew the ship off course, arriving at Cape Cod on the Eastern Massachusetts coastline on November 9th. For two days they attempted to sail south to Virginia but exhausting supplies and fierce storms caused them to abort this effort and drop anchor at what is now Provincetown Harbor. On November 11th, the group decided to settle here and start their own colony. They wrote a governmental contract called the Mayflower Compact, Samuel was the 8th of the 41 signers on this document.

Mayflower compact 2016

Signing the Mayflower Compact 1620, a painting by Jean Leon Gerome Ferris 1899

About the middle of December 1620, the ship moved and dropped anchor in Plymouth Harbor. All the while the pilgrims were conducting several exploring missions of the area and negotiations with the local natives. Almost half of the passengers died, suffering from an outbreak of a contagious disease described as a mixture of scurvy, pneumonia and tuberculosis. In the spring, they built huts ashore, and on March 21, 1621, the surviving passengers disembarked from the Mayflower into their new settlement at Plymouth, Massachusetts.

Medical Training

Although some historians and genealogists have proposed that it was in Leiden that Fuller acquired training in medicine, possibly while attending lectures at Leiden University, historian Norman Gevitz has found no evidence to support any conclusion other than that of Fuller having done so only once in Plymouth. Gevitz considers the contentions that Fuller was the "Mayflower physician" and played any role as a healer during the "General Sickness" after the Pilgrims' arrival nothing more than "myths".

Fuller took his apprentice and servant William Butten with him and sailed to North America. He left his wife behind in Plymouth to care for his young child, which later died in Plymouth. Samuel Fuller's brother Edward Fuller joined him, along with Edward's wife Ann. The settlers founded a colony in North America and named it Plymouth, after the city they had set out from. In 1623 Bridget Fuller took passage on a ship named the Anne and came to Plymouth. Four years later they had a son they named Samuel, who became the Reverend Samuel Fuller of Middleboro.

Upon arrival in the New World, Samuel had been signer of the Mayflower Compact along with the other adult male settlers, and had also been elected Plymouth's doctor. He is known to have been involved in the responses to epidemics in Salem (then Neumkeag) (1629), Charlestown, and, in 1633, Plymouth itself. The latter, perhaps smallpox, killed Fuller and at least twenty others. In his last will and testament he forgave the indigent of doctor's fees yet owed, and bought gloves for many of the colonists. Some of his letters are preserved in a collection called William Bradford's Letterbook. He was survived by his wife and son as well as several children entrusted to his care upon the death of their parents.

Marriages / Family


1st Marriage: Alice Glascock

Fuller's first wife Alice Glascock having died, he took as his second wife Agnes "Anna" Carpenter in 1613. Anna gave birth to a child but it died in infancy and was buried in Leiden . Anna died soon after and in 1617 Fuller took a third wife, Bridget Lee. All of his wives were Englishwomen .

2nd Marriage : Agnes Carpenter

Dr. Samuel1 Fuller, the Mayflower Passenger, married, 1st, Alice Glascock; married, 2d, Agnes Carpenter of Wrington, England, 24 April 1613, Leiden, Holland, daughter of Alexander Carpenter; married, 3rd, Bridget Lee of England, 27 May 1617, Leiden, Holland, daughter of Mrs. Josephine Lee. His sister Susanna married the Mayflower Passenger William White.

Marriage in Leiden, Holland to Agnes Carpenter (1582-1615)

  • Child Fuller (1615-1615) - In 1615 Agnes gave birth to an unnamed child which died soon after and was buried at St. Peter’s Church in Leiden on June 29, 1615

3rd Marriage: Bridget Lee

Note: Samuel1 is this Samuel and Samuel2 is his son. The only known descendants of Samuel1 come from the line of his son Samuel2. Samuel2 later was known as Reverend Samuel Fuller.

  • Bridget Fuller (1618-1644) - A child born in Leiden, who came to Plymouth after May 1627. Bradford’s list of passengers stated “His wife was left behind, and a child which came afterwards.” If so, a child was not mentioned in Samuel’s will. Some have speculated that the Bridget Fuller who married Henry Sirkman in Plymouth on September 30, 1641 might be this child.
  • Mercy Fuller (1627-1651) - Mercy born after May 22, 1627. She was still living as of Bradford’s list of passengers made in 1651, but there is no further record.
  • Samuel Fuller (1629-1693) - Rev. Samuel Fuller, Jr. - Samuel born about 1629. Samuel died on August 17, 1695.

Other Children

  • Samuel Fuller (1608-1683) (nephew) was first with his parents, Edward Fuller (1575-1621) and crossed the Atlantic on the Mayflower with his wife and his 12 year old son, Samuel Fuller. Also accompanying the family was Edward's brother, Dr. Samuel Fuller. Both of Samuel's parents died during the first winter in Plymouth Colony. Samuel survived and lived with his uncle after the death of his parents.
  • William Butten (1598-1620) - was a young indentured servant of Samuel Fuller (1580-1633), a long-time leader of the Leiden Church. Butten died during the voyage of the Mayflower while traveling with Fuller, who had been appointed doctor for the group. Butten was sick the entire voyage and died at sea when near the coast of New England (November 6/16 - depending on which calendar you use.)


Offspring of Dr. Samuel Fuller and Agnes Carpenter (1582-1615)
Name Birth Death Joined with
Infant Fuller (1615-1615)

Offspring of Dr. Samuel Fuller and Bridget Lee (1600-1667)
Name Birth Death Joined with
Bridget Fuller (1618-1641)
Mercy Fuller (1627-1651)
Samuel Fuller (1629-1693)


Offspring of Robert Fuller and Sarah Dunkhorn (1551-1584)
Name Birth Death Joined with
Thomas Fuller (1573-1659)
Edward Fuller (1575-1621) 4 September 1575 Redenhall with Harleston, Norfolk, England, United Kingdom 11 January 1621 Plymouth, Plymouth County, Massachusetts, United States Anne Hopkins (1581-1621)

Ann Fuller (1577-1638)
John Fuller (1578-1608)
Samuel Fuller (1580-1633) 20 January 1580 Redenhall, Norfolk, England, United Kingdom September 1633 Plymouth Colony, Plymouth, Plymouth County, Massachusetts, United States Alice Glascock (1585-)
Agnes Carpenter (1582-1615)
Bridget Lee (1600-1667)

Robert Fuller (1581-1614)

Vital Records

Bradfords Passenger List

From Gov Wm Bradford's list of Mayflower Passengers written ca 1651:

Mr. Samuell Fuller, and a servant, caled William Butten; His wife was (left) behind, and a child, which came afterwards.

Mr Fuller his servant dyed at sea; and after his wife came over, he had two children by her, which are living and growne up to years. But he dyed some 15 years agoe.

Leiden Marriage Records

MD 8:130 Marriage Records At Leiden and Amsterdam

Samuel Fuller, say-weaver, from London in England, widower of Alice Glascock, accompanied by Alexander Carpenter, William White, his brother-in-law, Roger Wilson and Edward Southworth, his acquaintances, with Agnes Carpenter, single woman, from Wrington in England, accompanied by Agnes White and Alice Carpenter—her sister. They were married before Andres Jaspers van Vesanevelt and Jacob Paedts, Sheriffs, this 24th of April, 1613.

Samuel Fuller, say-weaver, from England, widower of Anna Carpenter, dwelling on the wall by the Maryport, accompanied by Samuel Lee his acquaintance and future brother-in-law, with Bridget Lee, single woman, also from England, accompanied by Josephine Lee, her mother. They were married before William Tybault and Dirck van Hogeveen, Sherff's, this 27th of May, 1617.


External links

Sources and notes



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