Thursday, March 16, 2017

DuFay Alonzo Fuller (1852-1924)

From the Illinois Legislative Directory of 1897-98.

    An insurance man based in Belvidere, Boone County, Illinois, DuFay Alonzo Fuller represented Boone County in both houses of the Illinois General Assembly between 1897-1905. A lifelong Belvidere resident, DuFay A. Fuller was born in that town on February 21, 1852, being one of five children born to Seymour and Elizabeth (Mordoff) Fuller. Besides producing a two term representative and one term state senator in the man highlighted here, the Fuller family would also boast Charles Eugene Fuller (1849-1926), a circuit court judge and eleven term member of the U.S. House of Representatives from Illinois' 12th district.
  A student in the public schools of Belvidere, DuFay Fuller married to Cherry Valley, Illinois native Jennie Robinson (1857-1895) on March 24, 1875. The couple were wed until Jennie's death in November 1895 and had one son, George, who died in infancy in 1887. Fuller remarried in 1901 to Blanche Merrill (1875-1966), with whom he had three daughters, Louise (1903-1994), Marian and May. 
    DuFay A. Fuller made his first foray into public service in the mid 1870s when he was named as a justice of the peace, and until the early 1890s resided on a farm. In 1892 he decided upon a career in insurance and became affiliated with the New York Mutual Life Insurance Company, serving as a district manager beginning in 1895. In 1896 he became a Republican candidate for the Illinois House of Representatives from the 8th district and in November bested Republican nominee George Lyons.
   Fuller's first term in the state house (1897-98) saw him named to several house committees, those being Agriculture, the Executive Department, Fees and Salaries, Horticulture, Insurance and Senatorial Apportionment. He would win a second term in 1898, garnering 11, 296 votes on election day. Serving during the 1899-1901 session, Fuller set his sights on an Illinois State Senate seat in 1900 and was successful in his attempt, polling an eight-thousand vote majority over Democratic nominee Henry M. Coburn.
   Taking his seat at the start of the 1901-05 term, Fuller would serve alongside another oddly named senator, Lennington "Len" Small of Kankakee County. The pair would develop a firm friendship that would continue for many years afterward, and following his election as Governor of Illinois in 1920, Small appointed Fuller (who had a been a staunch supporter during that year's gubernatorial campaign) as a state parole officer.

DuFay A. Fuller, from the 1901 Illinois Legislative Directory.

   Following the conclusion of his senate term Fuller continued work in insurance and real estate, and also held memberships in the Masonic order, the Belvidere Y.M.C.A board and the Odd Fellows lodge. Upon the election of Len Small as Governor in 1920 Fuller was appointed as parole officer for the district comprising Belvidere and continued to serve in that role until his death on March 3, 1924, just a few days after his 72nd birthday. The Freeport Journal Standard relates that Fuller was fatally stricken by a heart attack while walking home from his insurance office and died shortly thereafter. He was survived by his wife Blanche and daughters and was later interred at the Belvidere Cemetery.

From the Freeport Daily Standard, March 4, 1924.

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