An interesting incident.Josiah G. Fuller of West Medford had the following experience during his participation in the 24th National Encampment of the G. A. R. at Boston, 1890:--
He was one of the little band of Abolitionists who went to Kansas in 1854 for the avowed purpose of freeing that state from the blight of slavery. He passed through many thrilling experiences during the exciting days of “ Bleeding Kansas,” and two years later was cast into prison at Lecompton, as a result of refusing to assist in the enforcement of the fugitive slave law at Lawrence. One night, while in confinement at the court house, which served as a prison, six ruffians, who were playing [p. 15] cards in the room, learned that he was an “Abolitionist preacher,” and hung him to the rafters. He was left for dead on the floor, but was awakened to consciousness by the kicks of his jailor. As one hanging was considered sufficient, Mr. Fuller was allowed to depart, which he lost no time in doing. But he was heard from again as a Union soldier, and did good service during the war. At the Encampment in Boston, Comrade Fuller received an invitation to join in the Grand Army delegates' excursion down the harbor; but he arrived at the wharf just as the steamer had left her moorings. Observing two colored men on the wharf, he approached them, and seeing by the brown button that they wore that they were Grand Army boys, he engaged them in conversation. What was Mr. Fuller's surprise when he learned that one of these comrades was an attendant at his church while preaching at Boonsville, Mo., in 1850, and also that the man was one of the slaves whom he helped to set free in 1862. The scene was a touching one as they indulged in reminiscences of the past, and will never be forgotten by the two veterans. Comrade Fuller is now seventy-three years of age, but notwithstanding his more than three score and ten years, he marched with his Post during the entire parade.The above account was thought worthy of insertion in the handsome souvenir volume of three hundred pages issued by the Executive Committee having charge of the arrangements for the Twenty-fourth National Encampment of the Grand Army of the Republic, Boston, August i to 16, 1890.
[p. 16] I remember hearing Mr. Fuller recount his Kansas experiences on several occasions. On one occasion, he was the substitute for the absent entertainers on a rainy evening at the monthly sociable of the First Trinitarian Church. Once when his funds were low, and his woodpile was reduced to nothing, a load was left at his door, and on several occasions when he had no food, his needs were supplied from sources he could not have named as likely to make such provision, and in his own mind there was no doubt that these gifts were the direct answers to his prayers. Like John G. Paton, he was conscious of being providentially safeguarded. The Bibles and tracts he distributed were “seed corn,” and by talking seeds and crops with the farmers, he secured their attention to his main object, and in many cases their co-operation. In Kansas he was a colporteur, sowing seeds for a spiritual harvest, and suffering with those who opposed the extension of slavery. In the Civil War he was a soldier fighting for freedom and equality. He was taken prisoner and was one of a hundred lined up for execution. Some of the group were able to give a sign of distress which adjourned the shooting, another providential escape for Josiah! After the war he was a distributer of revenue stamps for the commission allowed by the Government. He said his business was “stamping about Boston.” His marriage completed a double knot, as his sister was the wife of Henry S. Barnes, whose sister became Mr. Fuller's wife. When the First Trinitarian was merged with the Mystic Church he became a member of the West Medford Congregational Church, of whose meeting-house he was janitor for some years. During a severe illness his duties were performed by two members of the Parish Committee, who thus saved to his family his salary for several months. (One of the two was Robert A. Rogers, who passed away a few weeks since). [p. 17] I think it was in the summer of 1864, on a beautiful, but quite warm sabbath morning that I first saw Mr. Fuller. He was seated in the centre, fourth pew from the front of the meeting-house of the First Trinitarian Church, in the uniform of a Union soldier. He had obtained a furlough, and had arrived in town just in good time for church. He had either omitted to write about it, or had come more quickly than his letter, so his coming was unexpected. His sister was becoming anxious for him, not having received letters for several months. Arriving as the service was about to begin, she stood a full minute in the aisle, perplexed at seeing her soldier brother in the family pew. The surprise was complete, whether intended or not, and this is the most vivid recollection I have of Mr. Josiah G. Fuller.