Four Biographies
The "Wine Country" Fulkersons
From "The History of Sonoma County"  Published in 1889
Courtesy: The Santa Rosa, California, Public Library

RICHARD FULKERSON, deceased. The subject of this sketch located in Santa Rosa when that now (1889) flourishing city was but a frontier village, having been christened only about two years. If only for the part he took in laying the foundation of the present prosperity and for the energetic effort displayed in the pushing forward of the work of improvement and development, Mr. Fulkerson should have honorable mention in this historic work; but he is and always will be among the pioneers, and early and later settlers, best remembered for his many manly qualities and kindly nature. Honorable in business, accomodating as a neighbor, kind and indulgent as a parent, his memory will be cherished by all who knew him.
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Mr. Fulkerson was born of one of the pioneer Kentucky families in Hardin County on the 11th day of February in 1806. His father, Fulkird Fulkerson, was born in the State of Pennsylvania, and when eleven years of age was brought to Kentucky by his father, John Fulkerson, very soon after the Revolutionary War. The family found refuge from the Indians upon first reaching that territory in the stockade at Lexington. Fulkird Fulkerson, reaching manhood, married Sarah Davis, daughter of another pioneer family. Of her children, Richard Fulkerson was the eldest, and since his death, Dr. Theodore S. Fulkerson of Rincon Valley, Santa Rosa, is the only one now (1888) living.

Richard Fulkerson was reared to a farm life, and had but limited opportunity for an education; but, possessed of a keen observation and retentive memory, he overcame the lack of youthful advantages. In the county of his birth, October 21, 1824, he married Miss Sally Shepherd Clawson, also a native of Kentucky, born July 10, 1810. She became the mother of nine children, five of whom were born in that State. After a short time spent in Tennessee, where two children were born that died young, Mr. Fulkerson and his family, early in the thirties, became pioneers in the wilds of Montgomery County, Indiana, where their daughter Phebe, now the wife of Jacob Harris, was born. Later they moved to Vigo County, that State. There, their son John was born. In that then wild, rugged, heavily timbered country several years were spent. In 1844, the family became pioneer settlers of Davis County, Iowa. That now wealthy county was then almost as nature had made it.

Just ten years later, or in the spring of 1854, with his family and all his worldly possessions, Mr. Fulkerson started with ox teams for this sunny land, reaching Santa Rosa on the 4th of October in 1854. He made his home on ground now almost within the city limits. His capital was limited, but sufficient to enable him to purchase 300 acres of land, and thus lay the foundation for his future competence. His purchase adjoined the city on the north and is now partially included in the city plat. He added to the original purchase and became the owner of a splendid tract of 600 acres.

Of the children born in the family of Mr. and Mrs. Fulkerson, four died in infancy in the East. Of the others, we record Ruth, the eldest, died the widow of Alexander Barnes in Santa Rosa in 1887. Phebe and her husband, Jacob Harris, reside upon a portion of the old homestead. Mrs. Mary Mize, a widow, also resides upon the home property. John resides in the city of Santa Rosa, and Stephen T., upon a fine ranch in Rincon Valley.

For sixty years Mr. Fulkerson was a member of the ancient, honorable order of Free Masons. Fully ripe for the harvest, past four-score in years, he was gathered to the fathers, November 24, 1887. Tenderly he was buried, "Ashes to ashes, dust to dust," with the beautiful and impressive ceremonies of the order so proud of his membership. The estimable wife who had shared with him the trials and hardships of pioneer life in Indiana and Iowa before coming to Sonoma County, his loving companion for nearly three score years preceded him to the grave, her death occurring March 18, 1883, at the age of seventy-three years. The old family residence is now owned by Richard Barnes, son of Mrs. Ruth Barnes and grandson of Mr. and Mrs. Fulkerson.

From the Santa Rosa Press Democrat on June 24, 1959: ----- "The history of Santa Rosa's Rural Cemetery, a cemetery which is fast becoming 'urban' as the city grows around it, is tied to the Mexican-Spanish background of California by an early day purchase. Sacks of gold, teams of oxen and blooded Kentucky horses were paid by Richard FULKERSON to the CARILLO family for a vast section of land which included the ground now taken up by the cemetery on Franklin Avenue. The hillside was used by the FULKERSONs for their own family burials. The land purchased by Mr. FULKERSON comprised the area roughly between what is now Howard Street on the south, the Sonoma County Hospital due north and all of Rincon Valley. The area was part of the original Spanish land grant owned by the CARILLOs."


John Fulkerson has been a resident of Santa Rosa since October 4, 1854. He dates his birth in Vigo County, Indiana, October 17, 1835. He is a son of Richard and Sarah Fulkerson. (For more extended mention of his parents, the reader is referred to the biography of Richard Fulkerson.) When in his ninth year in 1844, the subject of this sketch was taken to Davis County, Iowa, then an almost uninhabited wilderness of prairie and timber. In that county the next ten years of his life were spent in the occupation so common to the sons of pioneers in all countries, necessarily demanding almost continuous toil. His youthful days afforded none of the advantages which fortunately he has been able to afford his children.

In hope of bettering his fortunes, a hope fully realized, his father determined to emigrate to his favorite State. The trials of crossing plain, desert and mountain were safely passed, and the parents with their five children reached Santa Rosa on October 4, 1854, since which time John Fulkerson has continuously resided in or near Santa Rosa. He has devoted his life to agriculture, and in all his undertakings has been successful.

It should be here related that, young as he was, he could not conclude to come to California without one of his dearest school-mates. Accordingly, he married Miss Dica Ann Wooldridge on November 17, 1853. She was a Kentuckian by birth, but was reared in Davis County, Iowa. She became the mother of two children: Abner D. who died at the age of twenty-seven years and Lillie, who wedded J. B. Clark and died in February, 1884, leaving two sons. Mrs. Dica Fulkerson was not spared long to her husband and children, her death at age of twenty-four years occurred April 14, 1859. For his second wife, Mr. Fulkerson wedded Miss Rachel A. Cannon, daughter of Lewis Cannon. She was born in the State of Missouri in 1846. The following year her parents, passing all the dangers of an overland trip in those early years, emigrated to Oregon, thence, in 1857, they came to this county. Her father now lives in Tehama County. Of the nine children born to this union, seven are living, viz: Dica A., Robert E. L., Ida M.(wife of Frank B. Wood), Luda V., Charles A., Daca C., and Sylvester S. The deceased are: John W. who lived to be nineteen years of age and Byrd who died in infancy.

Mr. Fulkerson is the owner of a good residence property in the city of Santa Rosa besides other city property, two residences and a business house located on the corner of Mendocino and Cherry Streets. One of the choicest farm properties in the vicinity of Santa Rosa is the fine ranch of fifty-one acres owned by him in Rincon Valley, situated on the Santa Rosa and Sonoma Road, three miles east of the city. The location is one of great natural beauty. The fine dwelling house commands from its elevation a view of the charming valley and makes the location one suited for a delightful home.


Theodore Stanford Fulkerson, M.D., the subject of this sketch, both in years and in the length of time devoted to the practice of his profession, ranks among the oldest physicians, if not the oldest, in Sonoma County. A brief review gives the following facts relating to this history. He is the son of Fulkird and Sarah Fulkerson and was born in Grayson County, Kentucky, October 11, 1807. His grandfather, John Fulkerson, was one of the pioneers of the State of Kentucky, settling there from the State of Pennsylvania very soon after the close of the Revolutionary War.

Only those fully informed as to the history of Kentucky have even a slight conception of the trials, privations and extreme danger of life in the frontier of that day. It was the "dark and bloody ground" consecrated and immortalized by the heroic deeds of valor in its defense against the red men by Boone, Harrod, Rogers, Clarke and their compatriots.

The Fulkerson family, with great difficulty in extreme danger, found their first refuge in the stockade at Lexington. Even when passing through the gate admitting them, one horse was shot down out of a team by the Indians. Fulkird Fulkerson, the father of the subject of this sketch, was then eleven years of age. The grandfather, John Fulkerson, lived to see the then wilderness converted into a land filled with happy homes, luxuriant with wealth, and the last of the red men disappear; he died at the age of nearly 100 years, leaving a long line of ancestry to revere the memory of a noble, heroic ancestor.

Fulkird Fulkerson married Sarah Davis, a native of Virginia. Her father, Theodore Davis, was one of the heroic pioneers of Kentucky and one of the defenders of Harrachs Fort. He and his family had suffered greatly at the hands of the Indians. Five of his brothers had been slain by the Indians in the old State of Virginia. After a long residence in Kentucky, where all of his children were born, Fulkird Fulkerson moved to Montgomery County, Indiana about 1829 and again commenced pioneer life in its dense forests. His wife passed to the better land shortly afterward, her death occurring in February of 1830.

About the time the family settled in Montgomery County, T. S. Fulkerson, whose name heads this sketch, commenced the study of medicine under the preceptorship of Dr. William B. Crook at Middletown in that county. After four years of preparatory study, he commenced the practice of medicine at Terre Haute, Vigo County, Indiana. His father, Fulkird, soon after moving to the same county, died in 1837, aged seventy years. Here it would be well to state that the late Richard Fulkerson of Santa Rosa, his brother, was the oldest of his family of children and that Dr. Fulkerson is the only surviving member of the family.

The doctor continued in successful practice in Terre Haute and surrounding country about twenty years. In those early years, in the sparsely settled country with often times impracticable roads, the practice of medicine was no easy road to fortune. It required a strong constitution, indomitable will and an unfailing fund of energy, and with all a willingness to work with or without fee. All these qualifications the doctor possessed to a remarkable degree. No night was ever too dark, no road ever too long or too deep for him when called to relieve the sick. In 1834, he married Miss Rebecca Morris, daughter of David and Falby Morris, also a Kentuckian by birth.

In 1853, the doctor, with his family, removed to Iowa and established his practice at Bloomfield, the county seat of Davis County. There he devoted himself to the practice of his profession until 1864, in which year he came to Santa Rosa. The following year, he and his family removed to their present home in Rincon Valley, three miles east of the city on the road leading to Sonoma. There his wife died in 1871, aged fifty-three years. She was the mother of twelve children. On September 13th, 1876, Dr. Fulkerson for his second wife married Mrs. Fanny (Lock) Grimsley, daughter of William and Mary Lock. She was born in Davis County, Iowa, on November 4, 1848. Dr. Fulkerson has devoted his life in Sonoma County almost exclusively to the practice of his profession.


Stephen T. Fulkerson of Rincon Valley, Santa Rosa Township, is the son of Richard Fulkerson, whose biography will be found [above] in this connection. The subject of this sketch was born in Grayson County, Kentucky, on July 7, 1840. His parents became pioneers in Davis County, Iowa, in 1844. There, in the new country with its limited advantages, he was reared to his fourteenth year.

In the spring of the year 1854, his family started on the overland journey to California, reaching Santa Rosa the fourth day of October. Of the five children who came to this State with their parents, the subject of this sketch was the youngest. He has always followed agricultural pursuits and, with the exception of a temporary absence of eighteen months, has resided in Santa Rosa Township continuously since he was fourteen years of age.

On August 29, 1858, he married Miss Amanda Ellen Cockrill, daughter of Harrison and Ruhama Cockrill, who were also early settlers in the county, coming in 1853. Her father lived only three years after arrival here. Her mother married Henry A, Grant and is again a widow, now living in Monterey County.

The fine ranch with its shaded, commodious residence, owned and occupied by Mr. Fulkerson and his family, is located on the easy side of Rincon Valley, about six miles from the city of Santa Rosa. The residence, elevated above the level of the valley, affords a view pleasing to the eye. It has been occupied by the family since 1883. The ranch consists of 312 acres, including, as it does, some of the choicest of valley and foothill lands. It is well adapted to every variety of production as well as general farming. Twenty-five acres are vineyards and a few acres in a general variety orchard. The rest is devoted to stock and general purposes. We give the names of their nine children in the order of their births (two of whom are deceased):

1) Henry H. Fulkerson born September 12, 1859, died May 13, 1876
2) Alice Clara Fulkerson born December 20, 1861, now the wife of Theodore Grider of Tulare County
3) Laura E. Fulkerson born March 9, 1865, wife of Douglas Badger of Rincon Valley
4) William E. Fulkerson born February 10, 1868, died July 20, 1883
5) Richard Fulkerson born February 19, 1871
6) Mollie L. Fulkerson born January 9, 1874
7) Nora C. Fulkerson born January 12, 1877
8) Bruce C. Fulkerson born August 2, 1881
9) Ida Helen Fulkerson born January 23, 1886

Transcribed By: John C. Fulkerson

Click here for additional information on this Fulkerson branch, in the Fulkerson Genealogies section of this site. You may also want to visit another web site, The Fulkerson Family in Sonoma County, operated by a descendant and solely dedicated to this branch.