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In 1638 THOMAS FULLER came from England to America upon a tour of observation, intending, after he should have gratified his curiosity by a survey of the wilderness world, to return. While in Massachusetts, he listened to the preaching of Rev. Thomas Shepard, of Cambridge, who was then in the midst of a splendid career of religious effort and eloquence, the echo of which, after the lapse of two centuries, has scarcely died away.
Through his influence Thomas Fuller was led to take such an interest in the religion of the Puritan school, that the land of liturgies and religious formulas, which he had left behind, became less attractive to him than the ” forest aisles ” of America, where God might be freely worshiped. He has himself left on record a metrical statement of the change in his views which induced him to resolve to make his home in Massachusetts. These verses were collected by the Rev. Daniel Fuller of Gloucester from aged persons, who declare that the author was urged, but in vain, to publish them. Now, after the lapse of two centuries, we will favor the world with a few of them, which will serve as a sample: –
“In thirty-eight I set my foot On this New England shore;
My thoughts were then to stay one year, And here remain no more.
But, by the preaching of God’s word By famous Shepard he,
In what a woful state I was, I then began to see.
Christ cast his garments over me,
And all my sins did cover More precious to my soul was he
Than dearest friend or lover.
His pardoning mercy to my soul
All thought did far surmount;
The measure of his love to me
Was quite beyond account.
Ascended on his holy hill,
I saw the city clear,
And knew ‘t was New .Jerusalem,
I was to it so near.
I said, My mountain does stand strong, And doubtless ‘t will forever
But soon God turned his face away, And joy from me did sever.
Sometimes I am on mountains high,
Sometimes in valleys low: – The state that man’s in here below.
Doth oft-times, ebb and flow.
Historical Notices of the Fuller Family.
I heard the voice of God by man,
Yet sorrows held me fast;
But these my joys did far exceed
God heard my cry at last.
Satan has flung his darts at me,
And thought the day to win; Because he knew he had a friend
That always dwelt within.
But surely God will save my soul!
And, though you trouble have,
My children dear, who fear the Lord.
Your souls at death he’ll save.
All tears shall then be wiped away; And joys beyond compare,
Where Jesus is and angels dwell, With every saint you’ll share.”
If these verses do not give evidence of the highest poetical culture and finish, they at least hand down through the centuries the reason which induced Lieut. Thomas Fuller (so we find him styled in the probate proceedings on his will) to purchase and settle upon a large tract of land in New Salem (afterwards Middleton); and this land is still mainly owned and improved by his descendants. He built a house on it near a stream, about half a mile below Middleton Pond, and about the same distance west from Will’s Hill. He did not reside continuously at Middleton, but for some years dwelt in Woburn, and was one of the first settlers and most active citizens of that town, as its records manifest. He died in the year 1698, bequeathing his remaining land to his youngest son Jacob, having previously, in his lifetime, conveyed lands to his other children by way of advancement. Jacob Fuller was born in 1655, and continued to reside on the farm in Middleton till his death in 1731. He married Mary Bacon, and they had five children. His fifth child and second son, likewise named Jacobs was born in 1700, and died October 17, 1767. He married Abigail Holton, and they had ten children – six sons and four daughters.