I met my great-grandmother Virginia FULLER Willis when I was a small child. My recollection of Virginia is that she was very old and dressed in an ankle length black dress. It was summer and suffocatingly hotter than blue blazes in Mobile, Alabama. Great-grandmother Virginia was drinking clear liquid from a glass and I was a very thirsty little girl. When no one was looking, I sneaked over to her side table, picked up the glass and drank what I thought was water. It tasted horrible and great-grandmother Virginia laughed and laughed when she saw the expression on my face. She said that it served me right for drinking from someone’s glass without permission. Needless to say, my mother was embarrassed by my poor manners and not at all amused.
I have been able to track Virginia “Jennie” Fuller in Mobile Alabama from the late 1880s to her 1960 death.
The first record I have for her is when Jennie Fuller married Anderson J. Williams on 1 April 1885 in Mobile, Alabama. It was not a long marriage because on 15 October 1888 Jennie Williams “Widow” married John H. Willis in Mobile, Alabama.
According to the 1900 U.S. Census, Jennie was born May 1864 in Alabama. In the 1910 U.S. Census, Jennie’s place of birth is given as Louisiana. This place of birth remains consistent in the 1920, 1930 and 1940 U.S. Censuses.
Per their listing in the 1924 Mobile City Directory, Virginia and her husband John Willis were living at 408 Selma [Street], Mobile, Alabama. In 1926 John H. Willis died and in the 1927 Mobile City Directory, Virginia Willis is at the same address and working as a domestic. According to her listing in the 1928 Mobile City Directory, Virginia moved to 752 Augusta St., Mobile, Alabama; the address of her daughter, Carrie, and son-in-law, Onie Cook. The 1930 and 1940 U.S. Census as well as her listings in the 1949 and 1958 Mobile City Directory confirms that Virginia remained in the household of her daughter and son-in-law until her death in 1960.
The death certificate of Virginia FULLER Willis lists her date of birth as “5-10-1875”, her father as “Amos Fuller”, her mother as “Frances ?”, and her birthplace as “New Orleans, La”. Onie Cook, the son-in-law of Virginia Fuller Willis, was the informant on the death certificate.
My initial goal was to locate documentation of Virginia “Jennie” Fuller prior to her first marriage.
I searched the 1880 U.S. Census and found an Amos Fuller enumerated in Mobile, Alabama with his wife, Laura Fuller, age 22, and a niece Jennie Nicholas, age 13. The niece Jennie Nicholas was born in Louisiana.
Working under the hypothesis that Jennie Nicholas could be Jennie Fuller, I looked for more information on Amos and Laura Fuller. I found an 1873 marriage certificate for Henry A. Fuller and Laura V. Goff “maiden 16 years” in the Mobile County marriage records. The age is in the same ballpark as Laura Fuller in the 1880 U.S. Census, so it is within the realm of possibility that this could be the same Amos and Laura Fuller. If so, this makes Virginia Fuller Willis a new brick wall in my research.
Consequently, I have reset my goals. My new goals are to confirm the parents of Virginia Fuller and resolve the eleven year discrepancy with her date of birth.