The entire career of Walter Shepard Fulton reflected credit and honor upon the history of the Seattle bar. He was one of the most successful attorneys engaged in the practice of criminal law in the state and made a notable record as the greatest prosecuting attorney King county has ever had. His ability to readily grasp a situation, to place a correct valuation upon every point and to give it its due prominent in the trial of a case gained him merited distinction. He was a fighter armored with knowledge and wielding the sword of fact and of law with precision and skill.

His birth occurred in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, August 10, 1873, and in tracing his ancestral line it is found that the progenitor of the family in America came from the north of Ireland. This was Robert Fulton, who, completing the voyage to the new world, took up his abode in Westmoreland county, Pennsylvania, when that district was still numbered among the colonial possessions of Great Britain. When, oppressed by the taxation of the mother country, the colonies sought liberty, he joined the American forces and aided in winning independence for the nation. He was the great-great-grandfather of Walter S. Fulton, the home of this branch of the family having been maintained in Pennsylvania throughout the intervening years. 

William P. Fulton, the father, was born in the Keystone state in 1847 and in young manhood married Martha White, a native of Wellsburg, Virginia. (note: husband and wife were first cousins, once removed - not uncommon in pioneer times.)   For a number of years he represented mercantile interests in the east and following his removal from Pennsylvania to Ohio became a resident of Akron. His interest in the public welfare was manifest in many tangible ways. He sought the moral progress of the community as a member of the Presbyterian church and he endeavored to advance the civic welfare through his support of the republican party. His wife was a sister of Judge William H. White, later a supreme court justice of Washington.  

When a lad of only eight years Walter S. Fulton came to the northwest to make his home with his uncle, Judge White, and here entered the Seattle public schools, while later he attended the territorial university. He next enrolled as a student in the University of Michigan, where he completed a two years' course in a year, and in 1894 was admitted to practice before the bar of Michigan. His interests centered in the west, however, and he returned to Seattle, entering into partnership with Judge William H. WHITE and Charles MUNDAY. This continued until he entered the prosecuting attorney's office. Mr. Fulton's practice developed with great rapidity, for he early gave demonstration of his ability to handle intricate and involved legal problems. He was always careful and thorough in the preparation of his cases and seemed to lose sight of no single point that would strengthen his cause. A contemporary writer has said: "He early gave evidence of the fact that he possessed a keen, rapid, logical mind, plus the business sense, and a ready capacity for hard work. At the starting point of his legal career he also gave evidence of the fact that he possessed the rarer gifts of eloquence of language and strong personality. His marked strength of character, his thorough grasp of the law and his ability to correctly apply its principles were factors in his effectiveness as an advocate." For three years he filled the position of deputy prosecuting attorney under Mr. McElroy and was afterward elected to the office, justly winning the reputation of having been the greatest prosecuting attorney that King county has ever had. He retired from the office in 1903, declining to accept a renomination. He had done much to rid the county of lawlessness and crime and after he left the office he became one of the most successful criminal attorneys on the coast. He was a fighter and he fought scientifically, persistently and effectively, seldom losing a case.

In November, 1898, Mr. Fulton married Miss Etta Nugent, of Seattle, a daughter of Captain James Nugent, and they have one child, Jane. Mr. Fulton held membership in the Phi Delta Phi, a law fraternity of the University of Michigan. By reason of his ancestral connection with the war for independence he had membership with the Sons of the American Revolution, and was a member of Lafayette Lodge of Masons, the Fraternal Order of Eagles and the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks. He was well known in the club circles of his adopted city through his identification with the Rainier and the Seattle Golf and Country Clubs. He early supported the democratic party but in 1903 became an advocate of republican principles and remained loyal thereto until called to his final rest. Seattle gained a substantial citizen when he came to the west as a young boy and cast in his lot with the territory of Washington. He chose as a life work a profession wherein advancement depends entirely upon individual merit and ability, and his knowledge of the law, well applied in the solution Of intricate legal problems, placed him among the ablest attorneys of the state. His was a progressive spirit ruled by more than ordinary intelligence and good judgment and he contributed largely to that enviable reputation which the Washington bar has always enjoyed. He was fifty-one years of age when called to his final rest on the 26th of December, 1924.

Source: HISTORY OF KING COUNTY Pages 424, 427 and 428 with Photo

Hotel Fulton - Seattle - 1916 photo  

Fulton residence at 739 Harvard Avenue N., Seattle.  CAPTAIN JAMES NUGENT , Walter's father-in-law's , mansion which the FULTONs later lived in: 1118 Cherry Street at Minor Avenue, (MOHAI has photo)