Every city has its share of eccentric characters and Calgary is no exception. Caroline, or "Mother" Fulham was probably the most well-known woman in Calgary, as well as perhaps the most notorious. Records from 1902 show that she was married to John Fulham, a local rancher, of whom nothing of note is recorded. His wife lived for 15 years after 1889 in a small cottage in downtown Calgary, the backyard of which contained several head of livestock. Not much is known about her income, rather, she was chiefly recorded as driving her horse and wagon around downtown Calgary, full of wooden barrels in which she transported swill for her livestock gathered from the downtown hotels.
Mother Fulham could also perhaps be given the honour of being Calgary’s first "liberated" woman, long before the time of Nellie McClung. It is said that she was the only woman in Calgary who would go drinking with the all-male clientele at the Alberta Hotel bar, and always was able to match the men drink-for-drink.
Tall-tales abound regarding the antics of Mother Fulham. She was often in court, and always had the services of her fellow Irish ex-patriot, the famous Calgary lawyer Paddy Nolan. The citizens of the city would pack the courtroom to capacity in anticipation of hearing Mother Fulham lash out against her accusers. Perhaps the best-known anecdote relates to the time Fulham was receiving treatment for her leg from a local doctor named. The doctor was so shocked at the slovenliness of the leg that he exclaimed"I’ll bet you five dollars, Mrs. Fulham, there isn’t a dirtier leg in all of Calgary."I’ll take you up, doctor" she replied confidently, and rolled down her other stocking to reveal her other leg. The doctor then paid the bet, the amount depending on which version of the story is being told.
The last of many articles on Fulham in the Calgary Herald read:"Mrs. Fulham, who was without doubt the best known woman in Calgary, passed through the city on Monday night [on her way to her new home in Vancouver]. She informed some of those at the station that she was coming back to live here in about six weeks. This news will be received with mingled feelings."