A Brief History of the Fuller Family in Fullerton

Alexander McDermont brought his family to Fullerton in 1882 and soon became prominent for his civic and business enterprises. McDermont built a business building on the corner of Spadra and Amerige in 1893. When it burned to the ground in 1908, the Fullerton Fire Department was formed.

This house was the first built in the Hillcrest Tract that overlooks central Fullerton. It was built for Samuel (S.N.) Fuller, and later, was the home of his son, Fred Fuller. Both men were instrumental in the business affairs of Fullerton’s early years of development. Sam Fuller was involved in real estate, insurance, and orange and walnut orchards.
















Alexander McDermont, my Great-Great-Great-Great Uncle, settled with his daughter, Anna Grace, in Fullerton in 1882. This is documented in the book, “Ostrich Eggs for Breakfast,” written by Dora May Sim for the centennial celebration of Fullerton in 1987. The book actually calls the McDermont daughter Grace, while her actual name was Anna Grace McDermont. Grace became one of the first teachers in Fullerton. The book includes letters that Grace wrote to her uncle, Frances McDermont, my Great-Great-Great-Grandfather.

The McDermonts came from Greene County, Indiana. When Alexander came to visit Indiana and his niece Sarah Jane McDermont, my Great-Great-Great Grandmother, he convinced his brother’s son-in-law, Samuel N. Fuller, to move to Fullerton for some amazing opportunities. My Great-Great-Grandfather Sam was convinced to move to Fullerton with his two sons, Fred and Loyd.

Sam N. Fuller settled in Fullerton in 1901, where he began work starting an orange grove. After oranges, he began buying land to subdivide and build houses. These housing tracts ultimately became Fullerton High School, under the advice of Sam himself, to the city. The current Fullerton High School sits directly on housing tracts and a walnut grove that Sam N Fuller started. This is mentioned in the book “History of Orange County, California.” My great grandfather, Sam’s son Fred Fuller, was in the first graduating class of the current High School site in 1911. My father, Alfred Lee Fuller Jr, also attended Fullerton Union High School.

During his time as a real estate developer, Sam was one of 3 associates to start the Hillcrest tract. On the Hillcrest tract, he had his personal house built in 1913. He lived there until he died in 1963. After he died, his son, Fred Fuller, who also had a house in the Hillcrest tract, moved into Sam’s house. Fred lived in that house until he died in 1977. After his death, my father moved into that house and still lives in that house currently.

Beyond real estate, Sam Fuller sat on the board of several of Fullerton’s early banks. From 1917, he was an officer and director for the Fullerton Savings Bank (established in 1906) and the First National Bank of Fullerton (established in 1895). His son, Fred, also became an officer of the Fullerton Savings Bank. In 1923, the Fullerton Savings Bank was renamed Fullerton Commercial and Savings Bank, with Fred Fuller and Sam Fuller both listed as Officers and Directors. Even though the City of Fullerton website lists the Farmers and Merchants Bank as the first bank in Fullerton, with all the early elite on the board, it was incorporated in 1904. However, it only lasted a few years with a fraction of the loans that the Fullerton Savings Bank had on its books, and Fullerton Savings Bank was incorporated only 2 years later in 1906. The Farmers and Merchants Bank of Fullerton had to re-incorporate in 1923.

Relating to civic positions held, Fred Fuller was the City Treasurer in 1920. Sam Fuller was the Fullerton Grammar Board clerk and sat on the Fullerton Board of Trade and Housing Committee. As mentioned earlier, Sam N. Fuller was instrumental in choosing the current location of Fullerton Union High School. I also have a certificate of appreciation given to Fred’s wife, Lillian Davis Fuller, for 54 years of federated service, 1921 – 1975, in the Orange County California Federation of Women’s Clubs.

The most amazing part about our Fullerton history is that my father still lives in the same home as the first Fuller to settle in Fullerton. Sam had the home built in 1913. Equally amazing is that my father, Alfred Lee Fuller Jr, is the Founder, Owner, and CEO of Fuller Laboratories, founded in 1995 and located in Fullerton. I work with my father currently at Fuller Laboratories. Our family has always been here in Fullerton and has always contributed to the past and current history of Fullerton.

The Fullers have run and started many companies in Fullerton, and my father still runs a fantastic company in Fullerton. We still live in the same 1913 house on the nearby hill overlooking Fullerton Union High School. The same high school that sits where my Great-Great-Grandfather’s orange and walnut groves grew, where his housing tracts sat, where he was personally involved in advising and organizing the development location of the high school, where my Great-Grandfather was the first graduating class in 1911 in the high school’s current location, and where Fred, Alfred Sr, and my father Lee, went to high school.