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Fulenwider, John

by Emmett R. White, 1986

ca. 1756–4 Sept. 1826

John Fulenwider, iron manufacturer, was born in Switzerland and as a young boy came to America with his father and family, who settled in Rowan County. During the American Revolution, he was a Whig and, as a member of the Rowan County militia, fought at Ramsour's Mill and Kings Mountain. After the war he moved to Lincoln County, where he soon entered the iron manufacturing business. Fulenwider was one of the first in the area to make pig iron from iron ore. From iron extracted from the rich deposits of mid-Lincoln County, he produced such items as wagon tires, plows, horseshoes, chain iron, nails, and farm tools; during the War of 1812 he made cannon balls for the American army. His most important foundry was located at High Shoals on property that he had purchased earlier from Martin Phifer, Sr. He also operated several forges in Lincoln County.

As a result of his industry and resourcefulness, Fulenwider became a prosperous citizen and acquired a considerable amount of property. At his death at least 20,000 acres of land as well as a good deal of capital were distributed to his heirs. He married Elizabeth Ellis, an aunt of Governor John W. Ellis. They had eight children: John, Jr. (m. Lavinia Forney, daughter of Peter Forney), Henry (m. Ann Ramsour, daughter of David Ramsour), William (m. Martha Hayes, daughter of John Hayes), Jacob (m. Mary Hoyle, daughter of Andrew Hoyle), Sarah (m. George Phifer, son of Martin Phifer, Jr.), Esther (m. John Phifer, another son of Martin Phifer, Jr.), Elizabeth (m. Alfred Burton, son of Colonel Robert Burton), and Mary (m. Robert H. Burton, another son of the colonel).

Fulenwider died at the age of seventy and was buried at High Shoals, N.C.


Deeds and Wills of Lincoln County (North Carolina State Archives, Raleigh).

William L. Sherrill, The Annals of Lincoln County (1937).

Additional Resources:

John Fulenwider, NC Highway Historical Marker O-54:

Iron Works, NC Highway Historical Marker O-9:

Origin - location: 


Kelley Agan,

Thank you for writing the NCpedia entry for John Fulenwider.

The progenitor of the John Fulenwider family arrived on American soil:

Name: John Jacob Vollenweider
Arrival year: 1749
Arrival Place: Pennsylvania
Primary Immigrant: Vollenweider, John Jacob
Family Members: Wife Esther Walder; Child Catharine; Child Verena; Child Henry; Child John Jacob
Source Publication Code: 489
Source Bibliography: BELL, RAYMOND MARTIN. "European Origins." In Pennsylvania Genealogical Magazine, vol. 33:3 (1984), pp. 204-210.
Household Members:
Name Relation
Catharine Vollenweider
Esther Walder Vollenweider
Henry Vollenweider
John Jacob Vollenweider
Verena Vollenweider

John Jacob Vollenweider
BIRTH 29 MAR 1717 • Rossau, Switzerland
DEATH MAY 1771 • Rowan, North Carolina, United States

Catharine Fulenwider
Verena Fulenwider

Henry Fulenwider

Barbara Fulenweider 1754–1831


Name: John Fulenwider
Birth Year: 1756
Death Year: 1826
Has Photo: No
Source: Dictionary of North Carolina Biography. Volume 2, D-G. Edited by William S. Powell. Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina Press, 1986. (DcNCBi 2)

There may be a copy of the record in Amanda Elizabeth Fulenwider's book,
Torchbearers of Freedom, published by, Filmer Brothers Press, 1960 - 150 pages, or in the supplement thereto.

Hi Clayton!

Thank you for your comment and for sharing that information! I will forward your comment to my colleague, Kelly Agan, who helps work on the NCpedia website!

At the end of you comment you mentioned a record. Is that something you are trying to locate? If so, feel free to respond to this comment or e-mail our Reference Team at and we would be happy to help you! 

Have a wonderful weekend!

Taylor Thompson, Government & Heritage Library

The record mentioned is found in Amanda Elizabeth Fulenwider's book available online at Hathitrust. The following is a permanent link to the page.

Amanda Elizabeth Fulenwider
B:16 Apr 1876 Jonesboro, Illinois
D:15 January 1974 Amador County, California

Records indicate that the father of John Fulenwider, Jacob, arrived in Philadelpia, PA in 1749. If John was born in 1756, then he would have been born in America, not Switzerland.

Dear David,

Thank you for visiting NCpedia and taking time to share your comment. 

And I appreciate you letting us know about this issue.  Would you be able to share with me resources you’re aware of that would help me investigate an edit to this entry?  That would help a great deal.  Sources I have consulted so far all use the 1756 date.  Any leads would be greatly appreciated!

Please feel free to either reply to this comment or start a new comment post.

Thank you again and best wishes,

Kelly Agan, NC Government & Heritage Library


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