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Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Ten Fingers and Ten Toes

When a baby is born most people can't wait to see if it is a boy or a girl, how much hair it has and what color eyes it has. In my family whenever a baby was born the first thing we checked was if the baby had 10 fingers and 10 toes.  We did this because we were told that my Great Grandfather, John Fuller, had died during a barn raising.  The story goes that he didn't have any thumbs and so wasn't able to hold his side of the barn up and it came down on him and killed him.

My mother tells me that as soon as one of us was born that Grandma Etta Fuller Boehler (John's daughter) would immediately unwrap the baby and check digits so in turn that was the first thing we checked when my children were born.

Now let's weigh the facts and see if this was just a Great Grandma Fuller story or if there is some truth in this.  When I started genealogy I looked for John Fuller's obituary.  He died in St. Francis, Ks on March 17, 1904.  The obituary from the St. Francis newspaper states the following:

"John Fuller was stricken with apoplexy about 9 o'clock last Thursday evening, March 17, and expired in one hour and thirty-five minutes.  He became unconscious instantly and never spoke again.
Mr. Fuller had just completed and moved into his comfortable new house and was in excellent spirits.  During the day Thursday he had helped John Nelson to butcher and raise a building which they were to move on the following day and being tired he retired early.
It was probable that in the exertions of the day Mr. Fuller injured a blood vessel in his brain which ruptured after he retired and caused his death"

This doesn't exactly say that he lost his grip on the building and was hit in the head with it...but something like that could have caused the bleeding in his brain.

The only other piece of evidence to support the possibility is a picture of 3 grandmothers with the first granddaughter, Margaret Boehler Brown.  From left to right,  Amelia Boehler, Sarah Jane Padgett Fuller Calhoun, and Margaret Overton Fuller (my great grandmothers on each side and great, great grandmother in the middle holding my aunt).   It appears to me that they have one of Margaret's shoes off and Great Grandmother Fuller is counting toes!

Grandmothers counting fingers and toes!
The original picture belongs to my aunt.  Thanks for sharing Jody Gehley and Connie Norland!

1 comment:

  1. Hello Debra,

    I'm the database guru at Duchesne Academy in Omaha, NE and am currently trying to clean up our system. We have a Margaret Boehler Brown that graduated from our college in 1935. Could this have been the same person?

    Feel free to e-mail me at