Was General John Fulton Reynolds of Lancaster, PA, related to Robert Fulton, who built the steamboat the Clermont? I don't believe General Reynolds was a direct descendant, but I have heard, over the years, that the Fultons for whom he was named were relatives of Robert Fulton. Thank you for any information you can provide!
General John Fulton Reynolds (1820-1863) was the son of John Reynolds (1787-1853) and Lydia Moore (1794-1843). Lydia Moore was the daughter of Captain Samuel Moore (1749-1795) and Jane Fulton (1768-1847).
So, it seems that General Reynolds' mother was related to the inventor Robert Fulton, Jr. Her mother was the right age to be a sister of the inventor. His bio says that there were: "At least" three sisters of the inventor, but the name Jane wasn't given. So, possibly, Jane Fulton was a first cousin of the inventor. His father, Robert Fulton, Sr. apparently had two brothers.
If Jane Fulton was a sister of the inventor, then General Reynolds was the grand nephew of the inventor. If she was a first cousin of the inventor, then General Reynolds was his first cousin twice removed. (Other possible cousin relationships are possible). I am more likely to believe the cousin theory.
In either case, you are correct that General Reynolds was not on a direct line to the inventor.
While General John Fulton Reynolds is a well known figure to students of the Civil War, his older brother, William Reynolds (1815-1879) is not.
William Reynolds became an admiral in the U.S. Navy years after the end of the Civil War. He had been retired for health reasons several years before the war, but returned to the Navy when the war began.
While the 13 children of John Reynolds, Sr. (1787-1853) and Lydia Moore (1794-1843) were related to the Fulton family through their maternal grandmother, Jane Fulton (1768-1847), they were related to the Ferree family through their paternal grandmother, Catharine Ferree Lefevre (1753-1822).
On this date in 1807, a relative of General John Fulton Reynolds brought about a significant event in U.S. History. At that time, General Reynolds was not yet born and would not be for many years, but by the time that he was, his middle name was a well known one.