John Fullington

 Harness Maker


•  Elias D. Waldrop was murdered in 1904. Horace Maples was charged for that crime.
     "The last time an event of this nature occurred, involving a Negro man, the law-abiding citizens of Huntsville had allowed the Negro prisoner to be taken from the Huntsville jail and lynched at Dallas. Nothing was done to punish the men who had taken part in that lawless act."
     At first it seemed like the crowd at the jail was going to let the law take its course. But the mob became more agitated, the National Guard was called and the crowd offered no resistance and moved away as the soldiers directed. But when the cotton mills changed shifts, the released workers "poured into town, much as they had four years earlier, when they felt the courts were not moving fast enough against Elijah Clark. They felt they could better decide justice themselves."
     "Finally, the Sheriff, his son, and his guards, almost stifled with smoke, heat and the suffocating fumes of burning red pepper and sulfur, had to make a decision to fire on the mob or surrender the jail. The Sheriff made a decision to abandon his duties and ordered Jailer Giles to release the prisoner. The Sheriff, in a decision that he would live with the reminder of his life, gave up his keys to the jailer and then he walked out. The Militia followed him."
     "The Sheriff had failed to clear the streets during the day and evening. He had failed to summon a posse to assist him and he had the conclusion that he had neglected his duty. Maples, in a cell on the second floor, was then turned out of his cell by the jailer, taken to the head of the stairway and released to his destination with 'the tree.'"
     With the Maples case over, justice turned to charging the mob members responsible for the fire at the jail and the lynching. Presuming that there could be more violence when friends were brought to the jail, a well organized Guard came to Huntsville before any actions.
     "That night a crowd of spectators gathered at the City Hall on the comer of Clinton Avenue and Washington Street. It did not look as if the crowd meant any harm, but neither had the crowd around the jail on the night Maples was lynched.
     Captain Brown addressed the crowd:
     'Gentlemen, I hope you will disperse and go to your homes where all good citizens should be at a time like this. We cannot receive visitors now and do not care to have crowds gathering on the street. We are here for business. You must not cross this line, (indicating the picket line) and if you do, I will not hesitate to order my men to fire on you.'
     The crowd quickly dispersed. John Fullington (this is the first time our John Fullington's name is introduced into the accounting of events) resisted the soldiers who were dispersing crowds near City Hall on Clinton Avenue and Washington Street. He was arrested, but released later in the evening."      In this book, John Fulllington's name is not used again until he was a witness for a defendant named Tom Winkle. Winkle was charged with arson, as a keeper of the flames at the jail.
     "Harness maker John Fullington was a witness for Winkle. He testified that Winkle was with him during the riots and they were only spectators to what was being done. An interesting exchange occurred when Solicitor Pettus asked Fullington if he had been convicted of a crime. Fullington replied, 'I have not and I will kill any man who said I have.' The Solicitor called for the records and they showed that in 1894, Fullington had been tried for murder, convicted of manslaughter, and sentenced to a term of four years in the penitentiary."
     The jury did not deliberate long. The verdict was "not guilty." - Simpson

•  There is a father/son note in the census. They are both known as John Fullinton. One was 53 in 1900. One was 30 in 1900. Both were married. The senior John was married to Annie Cobb (marriage license registered at MCRC on Jan. 26, 1876). Annie was 43 in 1900. Callie was married to the younger John and she was 14 in 1900. Both of the men were listed as harness makers. - 1900 Census

Related Links:

•  1900 Census - This version of the 1900 Census can only be viewed with an paid subscription (Originally found at

•  MCRC - Madison County Records Center

•  Simpson - The Sins of Madison County, by Fred B. Simpson with Mary N. Daniel & Gay C. Campbell, 2000, story begins on page 215.