James Alexander Fulton of Mt. Erin
Pastel on cream colored paper
Charles Balthazar Julien Févret de Saint-Mémin, Brooklyn Museum
Looking south east over Gillie's Creek Park from Chimborazo Park this time of year you can see a large building with big white columns. It is the old Robert Fulton Elementary School built in 1916, now it is Fulton Hill Studios on the peak of Fulton Hill. Robert Fulton must be the name sake of the hill right? Wrong. The name Fulton relates to the Fulton's that built their home "Mt Erin" on the hill. Virginius Dabney's Richmond: Story of a City says the home was built by James Alexander Fulton around 1800 but genealogical charts point to Alexander Fulton, James' dad. James wasn't born until 1813. The elder Fulton was born in Ireland, married Eliza Mayo in 1803 and built Mt. Erin his home on the hill. At the time, what is now Fulton and Fulton hill seems to have been a rural area outside of the city yet not far from the port of Rockett's Landing, making it a very nice piece of real estate.
Alexander died in 1823 in Henrico shortly after what seems to be some financial trouble (more to come about that. I need to find more information). James seems to have moved out to Caroline County where he dies in 1886.1
The Robert Fulton reference must come from Rockett's Landing. Robert is credited with inventing the first steam boat2 and Robert Rockett ran a ferry across the river starting in 1730.3 I haven't found any information about who decided to go with Robert when naming the school or why. If you have any clues comment below.
Inventor of the steamboat
1. http://wc.rootsweb.ancestry.com/cgi-bin/igm.cgi?op=GET&db=spot54&id=I26895 (seems to be the most consistent consensus among the dates I've found)3. http://www.rockettsvillage.com/about/history
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