Many an old army comrade who had fought by his side and shared the hardships and privations of army life during the great civil war, many a member of the legal profession and those associated with him in fraternal and political relations mourned the sudden death of Captain Thomas C. Fullerton, of Ottawa, and treasure his memory. Helpful in example, wise in counsel, eloquent in speech, kindly and generous in disposition and conspicuous in action, his life challenges our admiration and bids us emulate his worthy career.
A native of Marion township, Montgomery county, Pennsylvania, Captain Fullerton was born August 21, 1839, and accompanied his parents to Illinois in the fall of 1855, locating upon a farm near Freedom. Upon the 25th of September, 1861, he enlisted as a private in Company A, Sixty-fourth Illinois Infantry (known as "Yates' Sharpshooters"), and was appointed orderly sergeant at the end of one month. On June 28, 1863, he was promoted to the first lieutenancy and became adjutant of the regiment, and April 2, 1864, he was commissioned and mustered in as captain of Company C, at the same time being appointed acting assistant inspector general on the staff of General Sprague, commanding the Second Brigade, Fourth Division, Sixteenth Army Corps. Twenty days later he was assigned to the same position on the staff of General G. M. Dodge, commanding the left wing of the Sixteenth Army Corps. When that general was wounded, in August, and was succeeded by T. E. G. Ransom, next in command, Captain Fullerton continued to act in the same position as formerly, remaining until October, 1864, when he was assigned to duty as aide-de-camp on the staff of General Ransom. The Captain took part in some of the most momentous campaigns of the war, always distinguishing himself by his bravery and faithful performance of duty. He fought under Pope at New Madrid, Island Number 10, and Fort Pillow; took part in the siege of Corinth, Iuka and the famous Atlanta campaign, which was an almost continuous battle from Resaca to Jonesboro.
Returning to the north in the fall of 1864, Captain Fullerton studied law in the office of Glover, Cook & Campbell, of Ottawa, and was admitted to the bar in January, 1866. Then, going to Alabama, - for the south had many attractions for him, in spite of the sad and dreadful memories which were ever associated with it in his mind, - he opened an office at Huntsville. On the 24th of August, 1866, he was appointed assistant district attorney of the United States for the northern district of Alabama. Unsolicited, and indeed against his wishes, he was elected the state's attorney of Madison county, Alabama, in the autumn election of 1868, and refused to qualify for that office. In the previous June he had been appointed register in bankruptcy, and served until January, 1871, when he resigned. Removing to Washington, District of Columbia, he practiced before the various courts and commissions there until November, 1881, when he returned to Ottawa. From that time until his death he was actively engaged in the practice of law here, and from 1888 filled the position of master in chancery with ability and distinction. For six years, from 1884 to 1890, he was chairman of the Republican county central committee, and conducted five campaigns in five successive years. Elevated to higher honors, he acted as one of the state central committee of his party from 1890, meeting the expectations of his most sanguine friends in every respect, and well meriting the title of a party leader. His name was presented and he was nominated at Streator, Illinois, for congress, and it was while absent from home, aggressive in the work of the campaign, that the summons came to him to cease from his labors. He died suddenly, of heart failure, and the funeral services were conducted under the auspices of the Grand Army of the Republic - that "grand army" of heroes whose ranks are diminishing year by year.
The Captain was connected with the Grand Army organization from 1866, and was one of the charter members of Seth C. Earl Post, No. 156, which was founded in the fall of 1882. He was the commander of the post for some time, and served in various capacities, such as senior vice commander, assistant inspector general, on the council of administration, and as a member of the Soldiers' Home committee. He made a point of attending the state and national encampments, and thoroughly enjoyed meeting those who had "worn the blue" and fought for the Union. He belonged to the Ottawa Club, the Ottawa Boat Club, and was a Mason of the Knight Templar degree, being connected with Ottawa Commandery, No. 10. He was loved and looked up to by an extremely large circle of acquaintances, and his life was in harmony with the noblest and best principles which animate mankind.
Extracted by Norma Hass from Biographical and Genealogical Record of LaSalle County, Illinois published in 1900, volume 1, pages 72-74.