Fulford Place - Ontario Heritage Trust

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About George T. Fulford

Born in Brockville in 1852, George Fulford I followed the path of many successful Canadian businessmen of the late 19th century who rose from modest beginnings. He attended a Belleville business school and later returned to Brockville in 1874 as an apprentice to his brother William (1844-1879), a local druggist. It was in the drug store that George Fulford I became aware of the potential profitability of patent medicines.

At a time when few people could afford medical treatments by doctors, patent medicines promised affordable remedies for a myriad of health problems. In 1887, George Fulford I formed G.T. Fulford & Co. to manufacture and distribute patent medicines.

Three years later, the company acquired the rights to Dr. William’s “Pink Pills for Pale People.” Inventor Dr. William Jackson made little money on the deal, but due to clever marketing of the pills through Dr. William’s Medicine Company – the trading arm of G.T. Fulford & Co. – George Fulford I made a fortune.

Thanks to the persistent use of advertisements in the popular press by George 1, Pink Pills for Pale People became an international success. Within five years, Dr. William’s Medicine Company expanded throughout North America, Europe and the British Empire.

As his business grew, George Fulford I also served on Brockville’s town council and finance commission. A staunch member of the Liberal party, George Fulford I was rewarded for his support of Prime Minister Wilfrid Laurier with an appointment to the Senate of Canada in 1900.

George Taylor Fulford I died in Newton, Massachusetts, in 1905 from injuries sustained in a vehicle accident. Although he died too early to fully realize many of his ambitions, he accomplished much in a short period of time.

Over the years, the Fulford family members have been generous benefactors to their community.

That spirit of community culminated in the generous donation of Fulford Place to the Ontario Heritage Trust in 1991, to be protected for the people of Ontario.


Family tree

  • George Taylor Fulford I (1852-1905) married Mary Wilder White (1856-1946) in 1880
  • Dorothy Marston Fulford (1881-1949) married Arthur Charles Hardy in 1904
  • Martha Harris Fulford (1883-1910) married G. Sherrif I in 1906 and C. MacLean in 1908
  • George Taylor Fulford II (1902-1987) married Josephine C. Weller in 1926 and Jutta (Judy) Kruse in 1964
  • George Taylor Fulford III (1927-1995)
  • Martha Charlotte Fulford (1928-2010)
  • Dwight Wilder Fulford (1931-2009)

The Fulford family occupied Fulford Place from 1900 to 1987. George Taylor Fulford I, one of the 10 children of Hiram Fulford (1807-1876) and Martha Harris (1811-1880), built the house in 1900. His son, George Taylor Fulford II, assumed responsibility for Fulford Place in 1946, after the death of his mother, Mary Wilder White. George II’s children lived there as well: George Taylor Fulford III, Martha Charlotte Fulford and Dwight Wilder Fulford. George Taylor IV, the great-grandson of George Taylor Fulford I, often visited Fulford Place.

Mary

Following George Fulford I’s death, Mary Fulford raised her infant son and maintained the estate with the help of her domestic staff.

Raised in an upper class American family, Mary made use of her social skills to further her son’s career.

Throughout her life, Mary played the role of hostess, opening her home as an unofficial state residence. Her reputation and wealth attracted many prominent figures, including royalty.

Dorothy

As the first child of George and Mary, Dorothy (1881-1949) witnessed her father’s meteoric climb to millionaire status. She was 20 years old when the family moved into their new residence.

While Fulford Place was being built, the Fulfords lived in Thornton Cliff, the mansion east of their property. They later purchased this adjoining estate as a wedding gift for Dorothy.

In 1904, Dorothy married Arthur Charles Hardy, son of a former Ontario premier. The wedding was the first and largest celebration George Fulford I presided over in his new home. The occasion provided an opportunity to display the family’s wealth and social status.

Martha

Dorothy’s younger sister, Martha, married twice. Her first husband died shortly after their marriage in 1906. In 1908, she married again, this time aboard the family yacht, the Magedoma, in Montreal. Sir Wilfrid Laurier, Prime Minister of Canada, gave the bride away. Martha died in 1910 during childbirth.

George II

Mary Fulford was 46 years old when she gave birth to George Taylor Fulford II in 1902.

George Taylor Fulford II became involved in the family business and pursued a career in politics, just as his father before him.

He served in the Legislative Assembly of Ontario (1934-1937) and the House of Commons (1940-1945 and 1949-1953) and remained active in the community until his death in 1987. He was survived by three children, George Taylor Fulford III, Martha Charlotte Fulford and Dwight Wilder Fulford.

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