North Hampton New Hampshire: Fuller Gardens

In the early 1920’s, construction of Fuller Gardens, a formal estate garden in the Colonial Revival style, in North Hampton began at the order of Alvan Tufts Fuller, to honor his wife Viola.

He was a Massachusetts businessman (built the Packard Motor Car Company) who summered on Boars Head (now North Hampton) New Hampshire at his estate called Runnymede-by-the Sea. Today these gardens are open to the public and can be found at 10 Willow Avenue, in North Hampton NH.  This 2-acre lot was once the grounds for the Fuller home (mentioned above) and features more than 1,700  rose bushes, and hostas, as well as a Japanese garden with wisteria, rhododendrons, azaleas, and koi pond.  The gardens were designed by Arthur Shurtleff and later expanded by the Olmsted Brothers. See here for days and times to visit.

The Fuller family continues to have an influence on the New Hampshire seacoast.  The descendants of Alvan & Viola Fuller are trustees of the Fuller Foundation, whose focus is on improving the quality of life for people, animals and the environment, in addition to supporting the public horticultural and educational programs at Fuller Gardens.

The FULLER surname and genealogy has already been fully traced, and more information can be found in the following source: (book) “Genealogy of some descendants of Captain Matthew Fuller, John Fuller of Newton, John Fuller of Lynn, John Fuller of Ipswich, Robert Fuller of Dorchester and Dedham : to which is added supplements to volume I: Genealogy of some descendants of Edward Fuller of the Mayflower, and volume II: Some descendants of Dr. Samuel Fuller, of the Mayflower by William Hyslop Fuller”; 1914, page 243

Since the Fuller Gardens were really intended to honor Viola (Davenport) Fuller, I have traced HER ancestry instead.  What was remarkable about her genealogy is that she her line is really IRISH (surname), as her great-grandfather William IRISH changed his name to his middle name of DAVENPORT. [Read more about this in the genealogy below]


*Additional Reading*

Paul Sand, at Fuller Gardens

The Fuller Foundation

Racehorse Poised to Enter Hall of Fame


John Irish, the immigrant ancestor, b. abt 1611 [if he was eighteen at the indenture date to Timothy Hatherly]; from Clisdon, Somersetshire, England, and d. 5 March 1676/77 in Duxbury, Plymouth MA. He married abt 1638 in Duxbury MA to Elizabeth — [some genealogies say Risley but “Great Migration Begins” states there is no proof of that surname. She d. after 23 March 1673/74. He was a laborer, roper and planter.
They had 3 known children, including Elias, +John, Elizabeth (who m. Philip Washburn)

John Irish, son of John & Elizabeth (Risley) Irish, was b. abt 1641 in Duxbury, Plymouth Co MA and d. 21 Feb 1716/17 in Little Compton, Newport Co RI. He is buried at the Old Irish farm in Little Compton RI, across from the old Friend’s Meeting House. He was a carpenter moving to Little Compton RI about 1673. Appointed constable 1678; surveyor of highways in 1683.  He married abt 1672 to Elizabeth Savory or Thurston,  She b. 1654 in Little Compton RI, and d. 8 March 1706/07 in Little Compton RI. He married 2nd 1 May 1708 to Priscilla (Southworth) Talbot, dau of Edward Southworth and widow of Samuel Talbot.
Children of John & Elizabeth (?Savory) Irish:
1. David Irish, b. Feb 1673 Little Compton RI
2. Elizabeth Irish, b. 28 Aug 1687; m. John Richmond
3. Jonathan Irish, b. 6 June 1678 in Little Compton RI
4. Joanna Irish, b. 6 June 1681 Little Compton RI; m. Edward Robertson
5. Sarah Irish, b. January 1682/83 in Little Compton RI: m. William Schreich
6. Priscilla Irish, b. 30 Apr 1686 in Little Compton RI
7. Jedediah Irish, b. 7 Oct 1688 Little Compton RI: m. Mary –.
8. Content Irish, b. 3 Sep 1691 Little Compton RI; m. William Shaw
9. Mary Irish, b 9 Apr 1695 Little Compton RI; m. William Palmer
10. +John Irish, b. 1 May 1699 in Little Compton RI

John Irish, son of John & Elizabeth (Savory-Thurston) Irish, b. 1 May 1699 in Little Compton, Newport Co. RI and d. July 1773 in Little Compton RI. He married 10 May 1720 in Little Compton RI to Thankful Wilbore/Wilbur, dau of Samuel & Mary (Potter) Wilbore/Wilbor. She b. 8 June 1700 in Little Compton RI,
and d. July 1773 in Little Compton RI. ?he m2) Desire Wood.
Children of John & Thankful (Wilbore/Wilbur) Irish:
1. Edward Irish, b. 30 July 1744 in Little Compton, Newport Co RI
2. Charles Irish
3. Lydia Irish
4. John Irish
5. Levi Irish
6. Elizabeth Irish
7. Mary Irish
8. Thankful Irish
9. David Irish; m. Susanna Brownell
10. Ichabod Irish
11. +Samuel Irish, b. 21 Jan 1742/43

Samuel Irish, son of John & Thankful (Wilbore/Wilbur) Irish, b. 21 Jan 1743/43 and d. 23 March 1818. He m. abt 1764 to Mary Davis. She b. 1745, and d. 26 March 1821.
Children of Samuel & Mary (Davis) Irish:
1. Benjamin Irish
2. Simeon Irish, b. 15 Feb 1767
3. +John Irish, b. 14 Apr 1776

John Irish, son of Samuel & Mary (Davis) Irish, was b. 14 Apr 1776 and d. 24 Dec 1859 in Little Compton, Newport Co RI; he married 11 Jan 1795 to Nancy Little, dau of Fobes II & Sarah (Wilcox) Little. She b. 20 Oct 1774 and d. 23 March 1854.
Children of John & Nancy (Little) Irish:
1. Otis Irish, b. 30 March 1796 Little Compton RI
2. George Irish, b. 20 May 1797
3. Lydia Irish, b. 18 March 1799
4. Sarah Irish, b. 20 March 1801
5. John Irish, b. 4 Sep 1803
6. +William Irish, b. 6 Aug 1805 Little Compton, Newport Co RI
7. Nancy Irish, b. 1 Apr 1807
8. Samuel Irish, b. 12 Apr 1809
9. Sophia Irish, b. 8 March 1811
10. Benjamin D. Irish, b. 9 Jan 1814 in Little Compton RI
11. Samuel T. Irish, b. 24 July 1817

William [Davenport] Irish, son of John & Nancy (Little) Irish, b. 6 Aug 1805 in Little Compton, Newport Co. RI; d. 5 June 1879. After his marriage and before 1850 he changed his surname Irish, by an act of the Legislature in 1845/46 to Davenport. He was a cabinet maker of pianoforte with the Chickering Piano Company in Boston MA. He married (as William D. Irish) 21 Nov 1828 in Boston, Suffolk Co MA to  Deborah Skidmore who was b 1805-7 in MA (all of the censuses say MA but one reference says RI) and died 22 Dec 1883 in Medford MA, age 78 yrs 9 months 18 days of old age. Deborah was reportedly a descendant of patriot, Sergt. Richard Skidmore of Methuen and Danvers MA. Read more about the Irish-Davenport name change.
Census > U.S. Census > 1850 United States Federal Census > Massachusetts >
Suffolk > Boston Ward 11
Wm Davenport 45 M Pianoforte maker RI
Deborah Davenport 45 F Mass
Sarah Davenport 21 F Mass
Wm Davenport 19 M upholsterer MA
Geo Davenport 17 M MA
Henry Davenport 15 M MA
Benj. Davenport 13 M Mass
[several unrelated machinists ?boarding]
U.S. Census > 1860 United States Federal Census > Massachusetts > Suffolk >
Boston Ward 12
Wm Davenport 54 M Piano Forte maker 500 b. Rhode Island
Deborah Davenport 54 F Mass
Henry J. Davenport 23 M House Carpenter 300 b. Mass
Ben. F. Davenport 22 M upholsterer 200 Mass
–living next door–
Geo. C. Davenport 26 M Gilder 300 MA
Mary Davenport 23 F MA
Geo. F. Davenport 5 M MA
Lizzie Davenport 3 F MA
Willie Davenport 2 M MA
U.S. Census > 1870 United States Federal Census > Massachusetts > Suffolk >
Boston Ward 11
Davenport, William 64 M W Life Insurance Agent 600 b. Mass
Davenport, Deborah 65 F W keeping house Mass
Paul, Sarah F. 40 F W keeping House Mass
Paul, Arthur 16 M W clerk in store Mass
Paul, Willie 13 M W attending school Mass
Children of William & Deborah (Skidmore) Davenport:
1. Sarah Davenport; married E.A. Paul
2. William Davenport, d. 1905; m. Georgia Williams
3. Benjamin F. Davenport, d. 1864; m. 1860 to Mary France
4. John Davenport; d. 1898; m. — Gardner
5. +George Edward Davenport, b. 3 Aug 1833 at Boston MA

George Edward Davenport, son of William & Deborah (Skidmore) Davenport, b. 3 Aug 1833 at Boston MA; d. 29 Nov 1907 in Medford MA; married 24 May 1853 to Mary Frances Cronin. She b. 17 May 1836 in Ireland and d. 10 March 1918 in Medford MA. The census shows he was a gilder, in addition he may have been a fern specialist.
1870 United States Federal Census > Massachusetts > Suffolk > Boston Ward 7
Davenport, George E. 37 M W  Gilder b Mass
Davenport, Mary 34 F W Keeping House b. Mass
Davenport, George F. 15 M W at school MA
Davenport, Mary 13 F W at school Mass
Davenport, Wm E 12 M W at school Mass
Davenport, Ella 6 F W at school Mass
Davenport, Arthur 4 M W at school Mass
Davenport, Laura 2 F W at home Mass
Davenport, Annie E 8/12 F W at home Mass
U.S. Census > 1880 United States Federal Census > Massachusetts > Middlesex > Medford > District 406
Davenport, Geo E. W M 46 Gilder Mass Mass Mass
Davenport, Mary W F 45 wife keeping House Mass Mass Mass
Davenport, Elizabeth W F 23 dau gold-maker Mass Mass Mass
Davenport, Ella W F 16 dau at school Mass
Davenport, Arthur W M 14 son at school Mass
Davenport, Laura W F 12 dau at school Mass
Davenport, Annie W F 10 dau at school Mass
Davenport, Florence W F 8 dau Mass
Davenport, Alice W F 6 dau Mass
Davenport, Deborah W F 75 mother Mass Mass Mass
Davenport, William E. W M 22 son clerk in store Mass Mass Mass
Children of George E. & Mary F. (Cronin) Davenport:
1. +George F. Davenport, b. Sept 1854 Boston MA
2. Mary Elizabeth Davenport, b. abt 1856 MA
3. William E. “Willie” Davenport, b. 4 May 1858 Boston MA
4. Ella Frances Davenport, born on 27 Jan 1864 at Boston MA; died at Medford MA on 2 May 1935; married on 17 Jan 1889 to Frederick William Gow; had issue
5. Arthur Davenport, b. 18 Dec 1865 MA [birth rec says 6th child]
6. Laura Davenport, b. 1868 Boston MA, d. 1899
7. Annie Eva Davenport, b. 1 Oct 1869 Boston MA
8. Florence Davenport, b. 23 Oct 1871 Boston MA
9. Alice G. Davenport, b. 11 Aug 1873 Boston MA; m. Norman A. Currie; had issue
10. Walter Davenport, b. 1876, d. 1878

George F. Davenport, son of George Edward & Mary Frances (Cronin) Davenport, b. Sept 1854 Charlestown MA; m. 29 April 1875 in Boston MA to Mary L. Amareld, dau of Joseph R. & Mary Amareld [or Amaral/Amarel](Portugese/Azores) . She was b. June 1855 Lawrence MA. They resided in Malden MA, George owned a cigar making business.[Note, her sister, Gertrude T. Amareld (same parents) age 19 of Somerville MA, m. June 1 1877 to George H. Tewksbury of Somerville.  She b. Lawrence MA.]
U.S. Census > 1880 United States Federal Census > Massachusetts > Middlesex >
Somerville > District 483
Davenport, Geo F W M 26 fire insurance agent MA MA MA
Davenport, Mary L. W F 25 wife keeping house Mass Portugal Ireland
Silva E.A. W M 21 Boarder  barber Portugal Portugal Portugal
U.S. Census > 1900 United States Federal Census > Massachusetts > Middlesex > Medford Ward 1 > District 866
Davenport, G.F. Head W M Sep 1854 45 married 25 yrs MA MA MA cigar business
Davenport, Mary L. wife W F June 1855 44 married 25 yrs 2 ch 1 living MA Azores Island, MA
Davenport, Viola T. daughter W F May 1882 18 single MA MA MA
Amareld/Amereld, Joseph R. father-in-law W M March 1830 70 widow immigrated
1852 naturalized Azore islands AI AI [Portugal]
Battell Annie servant W F June 1882 17 single Ire Ire Ire
Children of George F. & Mary L. (Amareld) Davenport:
1. child, who died young
2. +Viola Teresa Davenport, b. 29 May 1882 in Somerville MA

Alvan T. Fuller b. Charlestown MA, son of Alvan B. & Flora (Tufts) Fuller on 27 Feb 1878. He died in Malden MA in 1958.  He 1910 he married at Paris, France, July 12, 1910 to Viola Theresa Davenport while she was studying voice in London. (b 29 May 1882 Somerville MA d. 4 Aug 1959). They lived in Malden and Boston MA, and spent their summers at Little Board’s Head (North Hampton) NH. She was a member of the DAR, her patriot ancestor was Richard Skidmore – Nat’l # 129001
Children of Alvan T. & Viola T. (Davenport) Fuller:
1. Lydia Fuller (Mrs. George T. Bottomley) 1913-2004
2. Mary Fuller (Mrs. Robert L. Henderson) 1916-1989
3. Alvan T. Fuller Jr. b. 5 Feb 1918 Boston MA; d. 1984
4. Peter Fuller

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2 Responses to North Hampton New Hampshire: Fuller Gardens

  1. Michael George says:

    On a visit to the U S I called in to visit the Fuller Gardens and was delighted with what I saw. The gardens are immaculate with a nice variety of plants. I was particularly taken by 2 Dahlias I saw, one was BLUE BOY and the other had AMBER in the name. The AMBER plants flowers were yellow and decorative and I would like to put these Dahlias in my garden but I cannot remember the full name of the plant. I wonder if you could help me with this please?
    Yours M J George

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