Miami County, Ohio Genealogical Researchers -- Sponsored by the Computerized Heritage Association


    Actively identified with agricultural pursuits for many years, Henry Fulker is now living retired, enjoying a rest which he richly merits, for he has led a busy, useful and upright life. He belongs to an old family of German origin. His father, Peter Fulker, was born in Germany and was reared upon a farm. To escape being impressed into the army he ran away from home and came to the United States when about twenty years of age. He had no money when he landed in Baltimore and was sold in that place to pay his passage. After working until he had made enough to reimburse the man who had paid his passage, he took up his abode in the vicinity of Hagerstown, Maryland, where he married Barbara Barnhart, a daughter of Jacob Barnhart, a native of Pennsylvania or Maryland. After his marriage he operated his father-in-law's farm until coming to the west about 1835. He was accompanied by his wife and children, making the journey by wagons, and reaching his destination after about seven weeks of travel. There were several families in the party.

    Mr. Fulker purchased one hundred and fifty-four acres of land, adjoining the McDowell farm. It was mostly covered with timber. The family lived with Daniel Babylon, a neighbor, until their own house could be built. Their first home was a little cabin built of round logs and covered with a clapboard roof. From an old- fashioned fireplace the smoke made its escape through a wooden chimney. The boys would cut the logs used in the fireplace and then haul them to the house with a horse. In that first cabin the family lived until a hewed-log house could be built. To that was afterward added a brick kitchen. The boys cleared the land, and where once stood the trees in their native strength was soon seen waving fields of grain. The father died on the farm, which he secured by trading with John Myers, his death occurring in December, 1882. His wife died in June of the same year, at the age of eighty-eight years, her birth having occurred in Maryland in 1794. Both were members of. the German Baptist church, and Mr. Fulker was a Whig in his political views until the organization of the Republican party, when he joined its ranks. In the family of this worthy couple were born six children, namely: Henry, who is the subject of this review; Samuel, who married Barbara Rodahaffer and afterward wedded Mary Christian, and moved to South Dakota, but spent his last days near Aberdeen; Peter, who died at the age of sixteen; Catherine, who is the wife of Henry Billingsley, of Newberry township; Lydia, who is the wife of A. Worley, of the same township; and Elizabeth, who died at the age of twelve years.

    Henry Fulker, whose name stands at the head of this article, was born near Hagerstown, Maryland, June 12, 1826. He began his education in the subscription schools of his native state, and at the age of nine years accompanied his parents on their emigration to Miami county. He walked most of the way, but at times he and other boys of the party would ride in his uncle's wagon and thus steal a ride, but the uncle kept quite strict watch on them and would make them leave the wagon. During his first winter in Ohio Mr. Fulker had all of the wood to haul and chop for the family and became quite expert at that work, being able to chop a cord of wood each day, and was also capable of splitting one hundred rails a day. He aided in clearing away the timber on his father's land and thus getting it ready for cultivation. He also learned to cut wheat with a butcher-knife, for his mother had the only sickle on the place and could reap with the skill of a man. In order to gain any education he had to walk three miles to school. He seldom had shoes to wear and had to experience many of the hardships and trials which fell to the lot of the agriculturist.

    In March, 1849, Mr. Fulker was united in marriage by the Rev. Mr. Hershey, the pastor of the Lutheran church, to Miss Margaret McDowell, who was of Scotch lineage, the family having originated in the land of hills and heather. Mark McDowell was the first emigrant of the name to seek a home in America. He took up his abode in Lancaster county, Pennsylvania, where he followed farming and also worked at the wheelwright's trade. He was a man of fine physique, six feet, two and a half inches tall, well proportioned and with jet black hair and deep blue eyes. Coming to Ohio he entered land on Lost creek, Miami county, about 1820, and later gave to each of his sons a farm. His children were: Mark, who located in Guernsey county, Ohio, and died there; Alexander, who made his home in Lost Creek township, Miami county, until his death; James, who was also a resident of that township and died there; Samuel, who died on his farm in Lost Creek township; Luke, the father of Mrs. Fulker; Mary, who became Mrs. Jones and died in this county; Rachel, who became Mrs. Richardson and removed to Indiana, where her death occurred; Sarah, who became the wife of Rev. Samuel Sheehan and removed to Illinois, where her remaining days were passed; Elizabeth, who became the wife of Samuel Deweese and died in Miami county; Susie, who married William Deweese and died near Casstown, and Matilda, who became Mrs. Abbott and died in this county.

    Luke McDowell, the father of Mrs. Fulker, was born in Lancaster county, Pennsylvania, and there spent the days of his boyhood and youth. He married Elizabeth Bailor, who was born in Berks county, Pennsylvania, a daughter of Mark Bailor. After his marriage Mrs. McDowell removed to Ohio and located on a quarter-section of land which was covered with a growth of timber. Upon his land he built a hewed log house, 22X28 feet, and cleared his entire farm with the exception of eight acres. He was a great hunter, was fond of the sport and killed much wild game. His neighbor, Colonel George Buchanan, was rather a wasteful man, and when butchering one year he killed thirteen hogs. He was throwing away the heads, backbones and ribs, when Mr. McDowell went over and offered to help with the butchering if the Colonel would give him the meat he was throwing away. This was done, and the McDowells had enough meat to keep them all winter. One year Mr. McDowell and his sons killed thirteen deer. The boys would track a deer and drive him up to the crossing, where the father would sit on his horse and shoot the deer as it approached. Seldom did he fail to bring down an animal at which he fired. He was a stanch Democrat in his political views and was a member of the Cumberland Presbyterian church. He died on his farm, August 16, 1849, at the age of seventy years, and his wife passed away in 1851, when sixty years of age. Their children were; Elizabeth, who became the wife of Charles Orwan and after his death went to Kansas, where she died; John, who married Miss Lucinda Perry, and afterward removed to Iowa, where his last days were passed; Luke, who wedded Elizabeth Fahnestock and died in Newberry township; Mary, wife of James Madison Skelton, who was a pilot on the Mississippi river and in 1849 went to California, where he died, his widow still living there; Lydia, who became the wife of Joseph Templeton and died at their home in Kansas; Margaret, now Mrs. Fulker; David, who married Nancy Childress and lives in Miami county, Indiana; Sarah, who became the wife of Benjamin Snow, removing to Iowa, then again to Shelby county, later to Covington, Ohio, where her death occurred; and Jackson, who married Margaret Fulker and now resides in Poweshiek county, Iowa.

    After his marriage, Mr. Fulker, of this review, rented the McDowell farm for eighteen months and then went to Poweshiek County, Iowa, where he purchased a claim of one hundred and sixty acres, afterward entering it from the government. Later he added to it a forty-acre tract. He paid fifty dollars for the claim and two hundred and fifty to enter it. He and his family lived in the barn until a house could be erected. Mr. Fulker cultivated that land for four years, and then sold the property for twenty-seven hundred dollars, after which he returned to Miami county and purchased the old McDowell homestead. Since that time he has erected all of the buildings upon the place. He erected his present home in 1870 and added many other modern and substantial improvements. He continued the active management of his farm until 1877, when he put aside business cares, his sons assuming the management of the property. The home of Mr. and Mrs. Fulker has been blessed with five children, but Samuel and Barbara, the, two youngest children, are now deceased. The others are: Margaret, wife of John Buchanan, of Newberry township; Peter Luke; and Henry W., who has charge of the old home place; he married Emeline Fritz and has nine children--Esther, Iven, Dellmer, Lydia, Wilbur, Otto, Mary, Martha and Hobart.

    In his political views Mr. Fulker, of this review, is a stanch Republican, unswerving in his advocacy of the principles of the party. On account of his removal to Iowa, he could not vote at the election of 1856, and in consequence cast his first presidential ballot for Abraham Lincoln. His life has been one of marked industry. In former years he labored early and late, and his untiring efforts enabled him to triumph over many obstacles and steadily work his way upward to success. He is now numbered among the substantial citizens of the community and his prosperity has been worthily won.

    Return to the Biography Index

    Return to Main Page

    Copyright © 2000 by Computerized Heritage Association.
    All Rights Reserved.