Maude Fuller was my paternal grandmother's adopted sister. She was born about 1890 in Atlanta, and along with several of her siblings, was placed in the Atlanta Home for the Friendless when their mother died. In early 1897, Maude was adopted by Spann and Mamie Fuller of Habersham County, Georgia. The Fullers were apparently not a childless couple who longed to be parents, but rather needed two female dependents in order to qualify for a homestead in their home county. Spann traveled to Atlanta alone to get Maude; a letter from the orphanage administrator to him several days later said that they "hoped Mrs. Fuller was pleased with the little girl." My grandmother Mary was adopted shortly after Maude from the Home for the Friendless.
The Fullers never told Maude or Mary that they were adopted; Maude found out when Mamie blurted the information out in a moment of anger. Mary was told when Mamie was on her deathbed. From the stories we've gathered, it seems as if Mamie was never much of a mother to the girls, although Spann appears to have been a loving father. After Maude learned the truth about her birth, she began searching for her birth family. This couldn't have been an easy task at that time, but she was able to find her family, the Everetts, and connect with some of her siblings.
After Maude found her birth family, she wrote to her eldest sister and received the following letter in return:
Aug 3, 1919
Mrs. Maude E. Hall
Dear Sister, I take the greatest pleasure in answering your kind and welcome letter. We received a few days ago and was more than glad to hear from you. Well Maude, you ask me why I didn't keep on track of you when you was at the home. Well I got Claude and David and Clarence and Oscar, he run away. But I got them out and they wouldn't let me have you and said I would come back the next day we could get you. and we went back the next day and you was gone. They told them a man come and got you the day that they was there and they wouldn't tell us who got you and wouldn't even tell the address of the people who got you. Well Maude you ask me to answer the questions you ask me in your letter. The first question you ask me why you was put in the home. Well Maude the reason you was put there was so many of us all and you all was out of a home and was on the streets in Atlanta and they taken you all up and sent you all there. (2) yes your father was dying at that time. (3) you was three years old when you was put in the home. (4) yes mamma was dead (5) she died in the year of 1891 it was the 11 day of June 1891. (6) Mamma died with child bed fever and was buried in Holliewood Cemetery five miles from Atlanta. (7) Mamma was a Sims before she was married and her name was Nancy Pallistine Everett. (8) Yes Maude our father did leave us all and you all was naked and almost starved and he was a drunkard and that is the truth the reason you all was there. (9) No our father is dead now he died in October 6, 1908 on Monday evening at 6:00 and he is buried at Greenwood Cemetery two miles off the car line. (10) Well Maude, I am the oldest child. My name is Mary Catherine Mctildy Latham but they nick name me at home and called me Mollie and I still go by the name Mollie. I will be 45 years old the second day of next May and Edward Westley Everett is my twin brother. Idella Everett and Gwen Ella Everett is Twins. They are our sisters. Idella Everett married (Manie Rattirce) they live in Atlanta. And Gwen Ella Everett married Will Webb they lived in Kirkwood but Ella is dead now. She died in March the 8th day 1908 and her husband is married again now. And Oscar is next he is married and got a big family and lives in Alabama and (Dorie Viola Everett) she married a man by the name of Dave ray but (Dorie) is dead now. She died the 15th of August 1914 and was buried the 16. And Claude Manuel Everett he is married and got a wife and three children living and two dead. And James Earnest Clarence Everett he is married and got a wife and got 4 children and you are next your name is Maude (Goss) Lowena Everett and there was two young children dead after you. Well Maude this is all of us children. Well our house got burned up the 11 day of March 1918 and the papers of all of our ages got burned up but when I get to Atlanta again I can get our ages again from Aunt Kate Menten and then I will send them to you. Well Maude you ask me did we own our home, yes we own our home. And I guess we will live here as long and we live and we guess we will buy more this fall. And if you all will come here we will give you all a home as long as you live. Yes I have got some children. I have had seven. I have got five living and 2 dead. Annie Mae Latham is my oldest child she is 23 years old. She married a man by the name of Will Cole the first time and he died and then she married a man by the name of Rufus Coleman Fowler. And she has got two children a boy and a girl her boy name Hugh Dorsey he will be three years old the 27 of January. He is Annie Mae birthday present and the girl name Mary Bell she will be five years old the 24 day of this month. And Lela Pearl Latham she is next she is 22 years old she married a man by the name of Albert Darrow. She has got two children they are both boys. One name George (Brian) Darrow he is five years old in April 8, 1918 and the other name is Hiriam Eligar Darrow he was three years old he was born on July 6, 1915 and Fred Grady Latham is my next one he is dead and Mary Lou is the next girl she is dead. Lillie Bell Latham is next she is married. She married a man by the name of Hurman Eady she is 15 years old she was 15, May 24, 1918 and she has been married 10 months the 17 of last month. And Tommie Eligar Latham is next he is 12 and he will be 13 the 22 of November and Cathern Latham she was born the 17 day of April 1918. Well Maude I am very small like you. I weigh 2 hundred and 65 pounds. Well I will send you some pictures. Well Maude I have got your picture inlarge when you was a little girl. Please send me all pictures now of all of you all. And I will send you some of mamma's hair. Well Maude how much does it cost and what is the closest town to you. I am thinking about coming to see you. J ust as soon as they get up with their work and find out how to come and how much it will cost. I will try to come down there if you can't come first. Well Maude I can't read and write myself Annie Mae have to read and write for me. Well Maude me and you are the only ones that takes after our fathers side for he was large and fat and we are the only children that is large. I have got one of his picture but it is inlarged. Well I will close for this time answer soon and a long letter. Your sister as ever, Mrs. Mollie Latham.
I don't know if Maude was ever able to visit her sister Mollie. I do know that she and her brother Claude met and had a relationship for the remainder of their lives. Mollie died in 1935 and is buried in Atlanta. Maude died in 1955 in Anderson, South Carolina. She is buried with her father Spann, and her infant daughter, Jessie, at Shiloh Cemetery.