The A. J. Fuller’s first years as a Cape Horner were spent as a merchantman sailing between ports on the northeast and west coasts of the United States. In October 1889, the ship was acquired by the California Shipping Company and spent several years in the Puget Sound-Australian timber trade. In 1909, the A. J. Fuller was acquired by the Northwestern Fisheries Company of Seattle and spent several years in the Puget Sound-Alaska fishing trade, transporting fish products south to Seattle and supplies north to the isolated fishing communities in Alaska.
On October 30, 1918, the A. J. Fuller arrived in Seattle with a full cargo of salmon and salt. She was moored to a large steel buoy in the east anchorage of Elliott Bay, about 2000 feet off Harbor Island, and all of her crew went ashore except for the first mate and one watchman. In a dense fog, the steamship Mexico Maru left the Milwaukee ocean dock on her way to Tacoma. Her crew stated that fog sirens were blown at regular intervals, but that they heard no return from the Fuller. Upon sighting the sailing vessel, the Mexico Maru threw her engines into full speed astern, but it was too late and she collided with the Fuller. The collision apparently caused a 10 foot hole in the bow of the wooden ship causing it to sink rapidly. The first mate and watchman escaped on a small boat.
Some months later, Captain Henry Finch, a Seattle diver, dove approximately 70 feet below the surface and retrieved the compass and other fittings with a grappling hook. Although salvage was deemed possible, the underwriters decided against it, and the owner surrendered the ship’s enrollment, listing her as a "total loss." In 1976, during the search for a Panamanian freighter’s lost anchor, old anchor chain believed to be from the Fuller was located. However, its association was never substantiated.
Identifying the shipwreck:
The wreck in Elliott Bay currently believed to be the A. J. Fuller has never been positively identified. On June 24, 2000, a team of SCRET divers completed an exploration dive on the shipwreck in Elliott Bay that was tentatively believed to be the A. J. Fuller. Read more on the discovery »
Here the Fuller rests on ice in Bristol Bay.
On ice in Alaska.
The Fuller at anchor.
Captain Mark Haskell.
Captain and daughter aboard the Fuller.
Captain and first mate T. Jorgeson.
Newspaper report of the A.J. Fuller's sinking.
Captain Henry Finch's diving operation.