Historical figures

Lawyer and politician Thomas Horace Fuller was born in 1816 or 1819, probably in Arichat. He was the son of John Fuller, sheriff of Richmond County and Mary Oakley. Thomas Horace’s brother was Hyacinth Huden Fuller who married on February 1, 1849 in Arichat to Margaret Lanigan.

Thomas Horace Fuller studied law probably in Arichat and he became an attorney on November 29, 1847 and became barrister on December 4, 1848. On February 18, 1850 he was appointed Registrar of Probate for Richmond County, an office he held until 1859. He apparently continued to practice law.

Fuller was elected as a Liberal member of the Nova Scotia Assembly for Richmond County in a by-election on May 16, 1855. The election was disputed by Charles Fortnum Harrington, the Conservative candidate, who alleged that a number of his supporters had been intimidated and prevented from voting by partisans of Fuller armed with cudgels, pistols, and revolvers. A select committee of the house, however, declared that Fuller had been duly elected.

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Meanwhile, Fuller became involved in the arrangements being made for the proposed St. Peter’s Canal to connect the Bras d’Or Lake with the Atlantic Ocean. In 1853, the Provincial Legislature passed an act for the construction of the canal, and in 1854 the government set up a commission of three to supervise the work, appointing James W. McLeod as chairman and Isaac LeVesconte as another member.

Premier William Young solicited Fuller’s aid in securing, with the assent of the members of the House of Assembly, Henry Martell from Arichat township, a suitably qualified third commissioner. Fuller himself was considered acceptable by the government, and although Martell desired it, Fuller got the appointment, with the premier later regretting a third party had not been chosen.

William Young

In July 1854, to counteract rumours that funds for the canal might not be available because of the province’s railway building, Fuller and LeVesconte arranged with a Royal Engineer, P. J. S. Barry, to commence work on September 1. The work did not begin on that date, however, and Barry could not devote all his attention to the task. Fuller continued as a commissioner until 1856 when work, under C. W. Folsom as engineer, was suspended. Costs of the canal, estimated at about 17,750 Pounds by Barry in 1853, eventually reached about $300,000 by the time it was finally completed in 1869.

In the election on May 12, 1859, Fuller, an opposition candidate, was defeated. He then petitioned against the election of C. F. Harrington on the grounds that the latter, as a Judge of Probate, was ineligible, but he did not enter into a recognizance in regard to the petition and the matter was dropped. Fuller subsequently returned to his law practice in Arichat where he resided until his death.

The religious controversies of the 1850s, sparked by such developments as Joseph Howe’s recruitment efforts for the British forces in the Crimea and the Gourley Shanty Riot, led to a split in the Liberal ranks.

On February 8, 1857 the Young government was defeated on a vote of non-confidence when Fuller – a Roman Catholic – and nine other Catholic members and Protestants representing Roman Catholic constituencies crossed the floor of the assembly to vote against the government. This dramatic event came about as a result of Joseph Howe’s ongoing conflict with the Roman Catholics.