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The Green Bag.

Vol. I. No. 1.
January, 1889.


AS questions are frequently asked respecting the ancestors or progenitors of Melville Weston Fuller, the present Chief Justice of the United States, it may not be amiss to refer to a little of our New England history. About the year 1632 there came to this country Rev. Thomas Weld, a graduate of Cambridge University, England; a prominent and influential man, who became the first minister of the first church in Roxbury (now a part of Boston), and was "the preacher" there when Eliot the apostle was "the teacher." His son, Rev. Thomas Weld 2d, in 1642, was settled in Dedham, and his son. Rev. Thomas Weld 3d, was settled in Dunstable; and both were prominent and respected. The last-named of these was the father of the famous Habijah Weld, who for fifty-five years was the settled minister of Attleborough. He is described, in "Dwight's Travels in New England," as an orator of great virtue and power, a perfect Boanerges in the pulpit, and was honored and beloved by all who knew him. He was born Sept. 2, 1702; and as his father died a few weeks after his birth, the mother gave him the Hebrew name "Habijah," which signifies, "God is my father."

Hannah Weld, one of the daughters of Habijah, married Rev. Caleb Fuller; and Elizabeth Weld, another daughter, married John Shaw, of Barnstable, in 1764, from whom the late Chief Justice Shaw, of the Supreme Court of Massachusetts, descended: so that the Chief Justice of the United States and the late Chief Justice of Massachusetts are both descendants of that celebrated Puritan preacher.

The father of Caleb Fuller was Rev. Daniel Fuller, who graduated at Yale in 1721, studied for the ministry, and in 1725 preached in Windsor and afterwards at Wellington, Conn., and died Dec. 9, 1758. He was a distinguished citizen of Dedham, a large land-owner there; and in 1702, and for five years, was one of the selectmen of that town, and a representative of the town in the General Court in 1723 and 1724. He married Esther Fisher in 1668, who was the sister of the great proscribed patriot and bold captain Daniel Fisher, of Dedham, who, in 1682, was the Speaker of the General Court, and was prosecuted by the British Government for sedition. He was the Daniel Fisher who "hated the tyrant" Sir Edmund Andros, then governor, and in the midst of an excited and turbulent mob in Boston seized Andros by the back of the neck and led him pale and trembling through the angry crowd, from the house of Mr. Usher to Fort Hill; thus securing him as a prisoner and saving him from further violence.

The grandfather of Rev. Daniel Fuller was Thomas Fuller, who in 1642 was a leading man in Dedham; a selectman of the town in 1663, and for fourteen consecutive years. He married Hannah Flower in 1643, and died Sept. 28, 1690.

The Rev. Caleb Fuller graduated at Yale in 1758, was made A.M. in 1762, and was settled as a minister for some time in Hanover, N. H.; but owing to a weakness of the throat gave up preaching, and died there at a good old age, in 1815, honored and beloved. His son, Hon. Henry Weld Fuller, grand-