FULLER, THOMAS HORACE, lawyer and politician; b. c. 1816 probably in Arichat, Cape Breton Island, son of John Fuller, sheriff of Richmond County, N.S., and Mary Oakley, and brother of Hyacinth Huden Fuller, Nova Scotia mlc; m. 1 Feb. 1849 at Arichat to Margaret Lanigan, and they were apparently without issue; d. 24 Aug. 1861 at Arichat.
Thomas Horace Fuller studied law probably at Arichat; he became an attorney on 29 Nov. 1847 and barrister on 4 Dec. 1848. On 18 Feb. 1850 he was appointed registrar of probate for Richmond County, an office he held until 1859. He apparently continued to practise law.
Fuller was elected a Liberal member of the Nova Scotia assembly for Richmond County at a by-election on 16 May 1855. The latter election was disputed by Charles Fortnum Harrington, the Conservative candidate, who alleged that a number of his supporters had been intimidated and prevented from voting by partisans of Fuller armed with cudgels, pistols, and revolvers; a select committee of the house, however, declared that Fuller had been duly elected.
Meanwhile Fuller became involved in the arrangements being made for the proposed St Peters Canal to connect the Bras d’Or Lakes in Cape Breton Island with the Atlantic Ocean. In 1853 the provincial legislature passed an act for the construction of the canal, and in 1854 the government set up a commission of three to supervise the work, appointing James W. McLeod as chairman and Isaac LeVesconte* as another member; the premier, William Young*, solicited Fuller’s aid in securing, with the assent of the mha for Arichat Township, Henry Martell, a suitably qualified third commissioner. Fuller himself was considered acceptable by the government, and although Martell desired it, he got the appointment, with the premier later regretting a third party had not been chosen.
In July 1854, to counteract rumours that funds for the canal might not be available because of the province’s railway building, Fuller and LeVesconte arranged with a Royal Engineer, P. J. S. Barry, to commence work on 1 September. The work was not begun on that date, however, and Barry could not devote all his attention to the task. Fuller continued as a commissioner until 1856 when work, under C. W. Folsom as engineer in 1855 and 1856, was suspended. Costs of the canal, estimated at about £17,750 by Barry in 1853, eventually reached about £75,000 or $300,000 by the time it was finally completed in 1869.
The religious controversies of the 1850s, sparked by such developments as Joseph Howe*’s recruitment efforts for the British forces in the Crimea and the Gourley Shanty Riot, led to a split in the Liberal ranks. On 8 Feb. 1857 the Young government was defeated on a vote of non-confidence when Fuller, a Roman Catholic, and nine other Catholic members and Protestants representing Roman Catholic constituencies crossed the floor of the assembly to vote against the government.
In the election on 12 May 1859, Fuller, an opposition candidate, was defeated. He then petitioned against the election of C. F. Harrington on the ground that the latter, as a judge of probate, was ineligible, but he did not enter into a recognizance in regard to the petition and the matter was dropped. Fuller subsequently returned to his law practice in Arichat where he resided until his death.
Notre-Dame de l’Assomption Church (Arichat, N.S.), records. PANS, MG 2, 733, nos.456, 457, 468, 485; 734, nos.977, 1000; RG 1, 176, p.4; 200, 19 June 1854, 6 May 1856, 20 June 1859; 263, doc.47; 264, docs.60, 100; RG 5, R, 77, 1856; James Laurie’s report on the St Peters Canal, 16 July 1858. St Peter’s Roman Catholic Church (Halifax), records (mfm. at PANS). N.S., House of Assembly, Debates and proc., 1855–59; Journal and proc., 1854–55, app. 20; 1856–60. Acadian Recorder, 7 May 1859, 31 Aug. 1861. British Colonist (Halifax), 31 May 1855. News (Sydney, N.S.), 20 May 1854. Novascotian, 2 Sept. 1861. Belcher’s farmer’s almanack, 1852, 82; 1856, 83; 1858, 96; 1859, 101; 1860, 35, 99.