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William Allen Fuller Papers

Collection number: ahc.MSS92

Scope and Contents of the Records

The collection contains a series of letters concerning the William Fuller’s involvement in the “Great Locomotive Chase” and correspondence between William Fuller and members of his family. In the years following the locomotive chase, several individuals claimed some involvement in the event and others exaggerated their involvement.Many of the letters Captain Fuller received requested confirmation of the events reported and the extent of their involvement. In time, Captain Fuller composed a lengthy document detailing the events of Andrews Raid (“Great Locomotive Chase”) and the extent of involvement of all individuals involved. One letter is from the conductor of the General attempting to solicit the assistance of Captain Fuller to obtain a small memento from the General to place in a cabinet. Also included are letters from Captain Fuller, Susan Fuller, Lelia Fuller, and Nellie Fuller to William Alford Fuller while he attended college in Athens in 1891 and 1892. Some of the topics mentioned include a typhoid fever scare, an exposition in Atlanta, poor farming conditions, and the unveiling of the Henry W. Grady Monument in downtown Atlanta. There is also a file of genealogy materials pertaining to the Fuller family and requests to Wilbur Kurtz to provide genealogy information.


  • 1862-1905


Restrictions on Access

This collection is open for research.

Restrictions on Use

Unpublished manuscripts are protected by copyright. All requests to publish, quote, or reproduce must be submitted through the Kenan Research Center.

Administrative/Biographical History

Captain William Allen Fuller (1836 April 15 – 1905 December 28) was born to William Alexander Fuller and Marthena Allen Fuller in Henry County, Georgia at Morrow Station. He attended Philadelphia Academy in Clayton County and worked in his father’s cotton fields until the age of sixteen. In 1860, he married Lulu Asher (d. 1872) and they had four children: Baxter (Braxton) C. (1861-1890), Lenora (1864-1867), Evalina (1867-1879), and Jessie M. (1870-1871). In 1874, he married Susan C. Alford and they had six children but one died in infancy: William Alford., Nina K., Lelia B., Annie L.,Nellie L. and Edwin F. (1889 June 15 – 1889 June 30). Annie L. Fuller married Wilbur Kurtz June 14, 1911. Wilbur Kurtz and Annie Fuller met when Kurtz interviewed Captain Fuller regarding the “Great Locomotive Chase.”

William moved to Atlanta, Georgia in 1855 and found employment with the Western and Atlantic Railroad. While employed by Western and Atlantic he was a freight and passenger conductor. On April 12, 1862, while acting as a passenger conductor, he became involved in the “Great Locomotive Chase,” also known as Andrews Raid. Andrews Raid began in Big Shanty (Kennesaw, Georgia) when a group of Union soldiers attempted to steal a locomotive,the General, as part of a plan to destroy a key component of the Confederate transportation network and communication lines. Fuller, and two other Western and Atlantic Railroad employees, while eating breakfast at the Lacey Hotel in Big Shanty (Kennesaw, Georgia),Georgia heard the General pull out the station. Fuller and two other men pursued the General initially on foot, then by handcar. At Etowah, Georgia, they commandeered a locomotive, the Yonah, and at Adairsville, Georgia, they took command of a southbound locomotive, the Texas. They continued the chase of the General in reverse until the chase ended at milepost 116.3 (a location just south of Chattanooga) when the Union soldiers abandoned the General and scattered into the surrounding area. Fuller resigned from Western and Atlantic Railroad in 1870 and subsequently worked for the Macon and Western Railroad for two years. In 1876, he returned to Western and Atlantic where he worked until 1881. After retiring from the railroad be became a merchant in Atlanta. Fuller died on December 28, 1906 and is buried in Oakland Cemetery in Atlanta, Georgia.


3.75 linear ft.



System of Arrangement

This collection is arranged alphabetically according to titles supplied by staff.

Acquisition Information

Gift of Mr. Wilbur George Kurtz, Jr., 1967 and 1971 (1967.72 and 1971.20)

General Physical Description note

(3 document cases and 2 oversize boxes)


America's Turning Point: Documenting the Civil War Experience in Georgia received support from a Digitizing Historical Records grant awarded to the Atlanta History Center, Georgia Historical Society, Hargrett Rare Book and Manuscript Library, and the Digital Library of Georgia by the National Historical Publications and Records Commission.

Processing Information

Collection reprocessed in 2009

William Allen Fuller Papers, 1862-1905ahc.MSS 92
Inventory prepared by Melanie Stephan
June 2009
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the Kenan Research Center at Atlanta History Center Repository

130 West Paces Ferry Road
Atlanta GA 30305