Alfred Carl Fuller was born in 1885 to Leander and Phoebe Fuller in Welsford, Nova Scotia. He was ambitious even at a young age, and in 1903, moved to New England and started the Fuller Brush Company. Shortly after the business opened, Alfred gained a sort of celebrity, becoming known as the Fuller Brush Man. By 1923, the company was making annual sales of 15 million dollars, and by 1950, was employing over 2700 people. By 1960, the Fuller Brush Company had grown so much that it had an annual revenue of 110 million dollars.
Mary Primrose Pelton was the daughter of a prominent judge in Yarmouth, Nova Scotia. She was known as a kind woman who generously gave her time and money to a number of causes in music and education. While on the surface, perhaps the serious businessman and the gentle philanthropist might not have been the perfect match, but in 1932 the two married and Alfred, influenced by his new bride’s pleasant demeanor, became happier than ever.
Primrose loved her home town of Yarmouth, and while they lived in Connecticut for most of the year, the beautiful Italianate-style house located at 20 Collins Street became their summer home. This house, which would eventually be known as the "Pelton-Fuller House," was originally built around 1892 for successful Yarmouth merchant, Edward Cann. In 1910, the house was purchased by Thomas and Eliza Bown, who then deeded it to their daughter Susan and her husband Judge Charles Pelton. These were Primrose’s parents and the reason why Alfred would eventually buy the property.
Characteristics that stand out about the exterior of the house are the asymmetrical massing and the paired brackets in eaves. The interior is just as impressive with its cascading staircase and more than 12 rooms, including 3 bathrooms, a spacious living room, a beautiful dining room with large windows to let in the sunshine and a finished attic space.
Even after Alfred’s death in 1973, Primrose continued to summer in Yarmouth, spending her time in her beloved home at 20 Collins Street. Having been a long-time supporter of the Yarmouth County Historical Society, Primrose decided to donate her home – and 85% of its original contents – to them in 1996.
The house boasts an impressive English garden, ornate décor, and a striking yellow exterior, but more importantly, it is a reminder of days-gone-by in Yarmouth and continues the legacy of a woman who loved her community with all her heart.
Presently, the Pelton Fuller House is open from June to September where visitors can enjoy guided tours with the knowledgeable staff of the Yarmouth County Museum.