Fulton, George Ware, Sr. (1810–1893)

By: Keith Guthrie

Type: Biography

Published: 1952

Updated: July 18, 2019

George Ware Fulton, Sr., founder of the Coleman-Fulton Pasture Company, the son of George and Ann (Ware) Fulton, was born in Philadelphia on June 8, 1810. He became a schoolteacher, watchmaker, and maker of mathematical instruments and lived in Indiana in Montezuma and Terre Haute. He organized a company of sixty men who started in a flatboat down the Wabash River heading for New Orleans to fight in the Texas Revolution, but they arrived in Matagorda Bay in February 1837, after the battle of San Jacinto. Fulton received a commission as second lieutenant in the Army of the Republic of Texas and for his services was entitled to a grant of 1,280 acres of land, which he took in San Patricio County. He resigned from the army and was commissioned by John P. Borden, first commissioner of the General Land Office, to convey all of the ancient land archives from San Antonio to Houston. He formed a friendship with Henry Smith and on March 12, 1840, married Smith's eldest daughter, Harriet G. He was appointed customs director of the Aransas District on June 18, 1838, and served until January 1839. During this time he helped promote Aransas City on Live Oak Peninsula as well as several other properties along the coast. The Fultons left Texas in 1846 and settled in Steubenville, Ohio, his old home, and later in Baltimore. He worked for the Baltimore Sun and then for several railroads. When Smith died in 1851, Fulton was appointed executor of his estate, which included a considerable amount of land in the Aransas Bay area. In 1867 a suit that had clouded the title of Smith's land was settled, and the Fulton family returned to the Texas coast.

Fulton used his knowledge of land titles to purchase land certificates, grants, land scrip, and so on, to add to the Smith land, and put together 25,000 acres to form the Aransas Land Company, which promoted the Fulton Town Company. He joined with Youngs L. and Thomas M. Coleman and J. M. and Thomas H. Mathis in organizing the Coleman, Mathis, Fulton Cattle Company in 1871, which became the Coleman-Fulton Pasture Company in 1879, when the Mathis cousins dropped out. Fulton's expertise as a surveyor, engineer, businessman, and inventor led to the development of the company as a leader in slaughtering cattle for hide and tallow and later in shipping cattle to New Orleans by boat. He received United States patent No. 92,035 for shipping beef under artificial cooling and also one for a steam-engine modification. The mansion that he built in Fulton in 1874–77 has been restored and is managed by the Texas Historical Commission (see FULTON MANSION STATE HISTORIC SITE). Fulton introduced new crops and set in motion various changes in agriculture and livestock breeds that still mark South Texas. The Coleman-Fulton Pasture Company built some of the first range fences in the area; one made of wooden planks enclosed 2,000 acres near Rockport. One of the first telephones in the area linked Rockport, the Rincon Ranch headquarters, and Tom Coleman's home in 1878. After giving land to the San Antonio and Aransas Pass Railway, Fulton laid out the towns of Sinton and Gregory; later he saw the plans made for Portland, and after his death the town of Taft was also established on company land. Thus the company had a direct hand in establishing four towns in San Patricio County and set a pattern for turning ranchland into individual farms. Fulton worked tirelessly to bring a deepwater port to the coast. He was a Republican and a Thirty-second-degree Mason. The Fultons had six children, including George William (see FULTON, GEORGE WARE, JR.). An earlier child bearing the name George Ware, Jr., had died in 1853. George Ware Fulton died on October 31, 1893, at his home in Fulton and was buried in Rockport. In 1936 the Texas Centennial Commission placed a monument to him at his home in Fulton.

William Allen and Sue Hastings Taylor, Aransas: The Life of a Texas Coastal County (Austin: Eakin Press, 1997). Coleman-Fulton Pasture Company Records, 1881–1930 (Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin). George W. and James C. Fulton Papers, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin. Keith Guthrie, History of San Patricio County (Austin: Nortex, 1986). Vertical Files, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin (Fulton, George W.; Fulton Family).


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The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.

Keith Guthrie, “Fulton, George Ware, Sr.,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed January 17, 2022, https://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/entries/fulton-george-ware-sr.

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July 18, 2019