Ezra S Stearns.

Genealogical and family history of the state of New Hampshire : a record of the achievements of her people in the making of a commonwealth and the founding of a nation (Volume 4) online

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He was a man of much energy and activity, and
being highly esteemed for his integrity, upright-
ness and sound judgment, was a man o.f much in-
fluence. He represented the town of Jaffrey in the
New Hampshire legislature, to which he was elected
in 1790, 1796 and from 1809 to 1817, inclusive, in all
eleven years. He married, December 5, 1775, Ra-
chel Adams, of Chelmsford, Massachusetts, who
was born August 9, 1757. Their nine children, all
born in Jaffrey, were: Beniamin (died young),
Benjamin. Oliver, Rachel, Eldad, Nabby, John
Adams, Susannah and Bethiah.

(X) Eldad, fifth child and fourth son of Colonel
Benjamin and Rachel (Adams) Prescott, was born
in Jaffrey, November 18, 1786. He lived in the vil-
lage of Squantum in Jaffrey, and was a. farmer,
having a farm of two hundred acres of the best
land in the town. He was a member of the Bap-
tist Church, and a prosperous and highly respected
citizen. He married, March 27, 1816, Clarissa
Hunt, who was born in Acton. Massachustts, Octo-
ber 4, 1791, and died in Jaffrey, September 20,
1826, daughter of Paul and Betsy Hunt, of Jaffrey.
He married, (second), June 10, 1829, Betsey Hunt,
sister of his first wife, who was born July 5. 1793-
and died October i, 1752. The children of the first
wife were: Eldad Austin, Benjamin, Oliver Park-
hurst and Oren; by the second wife: John, Henry
and Addison.

(XI) Deacon Oren, fourth and youngest child
of Eldad and Clarissa (Hunt) Prescott, was born
in Jaffrey, March 24, 1823, and died November 25,
1884. aged sixty-one years. He atten^pd the pub-
lic schools of Jaffrey and Hancock high school, and
afterward taught some years in Rindge. After his
first marriage he bought a farm of one hundred
acres near the village of East Jaffrey. and there
resided till his death. He was a member of the
Baptist Church from childhood, and his interest in
religious affairs was almost the greatest interest he
had in life. He was a member of many church
committees, and was a deacon of the church and
superintendent of the Sunday school for years. He
married (first), June 16, 1846, Martha L. Adams,
of Rindge, who was born April 10. 1827, daughter
of Jacob and Martha Adams, and died June 25,
1850: (second), June 8. 1852. Caroline Almeda
Nutting, who was born January 12, 1834. daughter
of William T. and Grata (Chadwick) Nutting, of
Jaffrev. She died April .30, 1861, and he married
(third"), Februarv n, 1862, Louisa J. Plumer,
daughter of Jesse T. Plumer, of Goffstown. One



child, Martha E.. was born of the first wife. She
died March i, 1863, aged thirteen. By the second
wife there were three children : Oren Elliott, Ju-
lius Elwood and Caroline Maria. Oren Elliott re-
sides on the old homestead; Julius E. is the sub-
jeot of the next paragraph. Caroline M. married
Wayland H. Goodnow, of Jaffrey, and died October
6, 1890.

(XII) Julius Elwood, second son and child of
Oren and Caroline A. (Nutting) Prescott, \vas born
in Jaffrey, March 7, 1856. He attended the com-
mon, schools and the Conant high school of Jaffrey
until he was eighteen years of age ; he then became
a clerk in the store of W. L. Goodnow & Company,
of Jaffrey, and filled that position twenty-one years.
He then bought an interest in the firm, which be-
came Goodnow Brothers & Company, which style
it still retains. By a wise and economical use of his
means Mr. Prescott, who is a man of sterling char-
acter and fine executive ability, has become one of
the leading citizens of his town. Besides his duties
in the mercantile establishment he has many others
to discharge. He owns considerable real estate ; is
second vice president and a trustee of the Monad-
nock Savings Bank of Jaffrey, and is a director of
the Monadnock National Bank. He is treasurer of
the Cemetery Association, and a trustee of the
funds of the Baptist Church. He married, in East
Jaffrey, New Hampshire, October 24, 1882, Ada L.
Pierce, who was born in Roxbury, Massachusetts.
June T, 1857, daughter of Benjamin and Lucinda
(Stratton) Pierce (see Pierce, IX). Two children,
Beulah and Olive, were born to them both of
whom died 3'oung.

The first that is known of the name
FOSTER of Foster was about the year 1065, A.
D., when Sir Richard Forrester went
from Normandy over to England, accompanied by
his brother-in-law, William the Conqueror, and par-
ticipated in the victorious battle of Hastings.

The name was first Forrester, then Forester,
then Foster. It signified one who had care ot wild
lands ; one who loved the forest, a characteristic
trait which has marked the bearers of the name
through all the centuries that have followed. The
Fosters seem to have located in the northern coun-
ties of England, and in the early centuries of Eng-
lish history participated in many a sturdy en-
counter with their Scottish foes. The name is
mentioned in "Marmion' and the "Lay of the Last
Minstrel." From one of these families in the serv-
enteenth century appears the name of Reginald
Foster. Tiring of the tyrannic rule of Charles I,
he came to America and settled in Ipswich, Massa-
chusetts, in about the year 1638. He was a prom-
inent figure in the early days, as the colonial records

During its existence the Foster family has been
a hardy, persevering and progressive race, almost
universally endowed with an intense nervous en-
ergy ; there, have been many instances of high attain-
ments ; a bearer of the name has been, ex-officio,
vice-president of the Republic (Hon. Lafayette G.
Foster, president, pro tem., of the senate during
Andrew Johnson's administration) ; another. Hon.
John W. Foster, of Indiana, was premier of Pres-
ident Harrison's cabinet ; another, Hon. Charles
Foster, of Ohio, was the secretary of the treasury.
Many have attained high positions in financial life,
and manv have gained prominence in military af-
fairs. The record of Major-General John G. Fos-
ter through the Mexican war and the war of the
Rebellion, stamped him as a soldier without fear

and wathout reproach. Professor Bell is the re-
puted and accredited inventor of the telephone, but
before that distinguished man had ever conceived
the plan oi electric transmission of the human
voice, Joseph Foster, of Keene, New Hampshire, a
mechanical genius, had constructed and put into
actual use a telephone embodying practically the
same working plan as the Bell machine. Query:
Could it be possible that Joseph Foster's telephone
afforded the suggestion to Professor Bell? The
Foster family has an authentic record covering a
period of nearly one thousand years. It has fur-
nished to the world its share of the fruits of toil;
it has contributed its share to enterprise and pro-
gress. Wherever it appears in the affairs of men
it bears its crest ; the iron arm holding the golden
javelin poised towards the future.

(I) Reginald Foster came from England at the
time that so many emigrated to Massachusetts, in
1638, and with his family was on board one of the
vessels embargoed by King Charles I. He settled
in Ipswich, in the county of Essex, with his wife,
five sons and two daughters ; where he lived to ex-
treme old age, with as much peace and happiness as
was compatible with his circumstances in the set-
tlement of a new country. The names of his five
sons who came with him from England, were :
Abraham, Reginald, William, Isaac and Jacob.
(Mention of William and descendants appears in
this article). One of the daughters who came
with him from England married (first), a Wood,
and after his death she married a Peabody. His
other daughter married a Story, ancestor of Dr.
Story, formerly of Boston, and of the late Judge
Story. It is remarkable of this family that they all
lived to extreme old age, all married, and all had
large families from whom are descended a very
numerous progeny settled in various parts of the
United States.

(II) Abraham, oldest son of Reginald Foster,
was born at Exeter, England, in 1622 ; came with
his father in 1638 and settled in Ipswich, where he
married Lydia Burbank and had children : Ephraim.
Abraham, Benjamin, Ebenezer, Mehitabel and
Caleb. (Caleb and descendants are noticed at
length in this article).

(III) Abraham (2), second son of Abraham
(i) Foster, was born October 16, 1659. Few facts
relative to him are known.

(IV) Samuel, son of Abraham (2) Foster, was
born or subsequently settled in Reading, and lived
in the westerly part of that town, where he "owned
much land." The town records of Ipswich have
the following entry : "December 17, 1699. Abra-
ham Foster, a soldier, wounded in the public serv-
ice is to receive £S out of the public treasury for
smart money." He died in 1762 "at an advanced
age." says his will, which was written in the
month before his death. Samuel's sons Jonathan,
Benjamin and Samuel, were soldiers in the French
and Indian wars, 1745-1759. He married, 1701,
Sarah Roberts, daughter of Abraham and Sarah
Roberts, and they had children : Abraham, Sam-
uel. Ebenezer, Jonathan, Benjamin, Sarah and

(V) Abraham (3), eldest child of Samuel (i)
and Sarah (Roberts) Foster, was born at Reading
in 1703, and died in 1753. He married, in 1733,
Susannah Hartshorn, and had children : Susan-
nah. Abraham, Daniel, Sarah, David, Elizabeth and

(VI) Edmund, youngest child of Abraham (j)
and Susannah (Hartshorn) Foster, was born at
Reading, April 18, 1752; and died March 28, 1826.




He graduated at Yale in 1779, and was ordained
pastor of the church at Littleton in 1781. He was
a freshman at Yale when the battle of Lexington
was fought, April 19, 1775, and afterward wrote
an account of the engagement. He was a minute-
man and accompanied Major Brooks, subsequently
governor, and took a very active part in the excit-
ing events of that day, being close in at some of
the hottest fighting, and seeing Major Pitcairn fall
wounded from his horse. Resuming his studies, he
completed his college course, and after his ordina-
tion was pastor of the church at Littleton from
1781 until his death in 1826, a period of forty-five
years. In Drake's "History of Middlesex County,"
it is said of Edmund Foster : "Left an orphan
when seven years old. he worked his way through
Yale college. Harvard and Yale conferred honorary
degrees on him." Bancroft's "History of the United
States" mentions his presence at the battle of Lex-
ington. He was a member of the Massachusetts
house of representatives, 1813-14, and of the senate
1815, and of the constitutional convention of 1820.
He was a conspicuous member of the last named
body, of which ex- President John Adams was
president, and made the closing prayer at the invi-
tation of the presiding ofificer. The history of the
convention contains many of his speeches. Mem-
bers of the same body were Daniel Webster and
Joseph Story.

Abraham and Daniel, brothers of Rev. Edmund
Foster, were also soldiers of the revolution. Three
of Rev. Edmund Foster's sons (Edmund, William
Lawrence and Charles) were commissioned officers
in the army during the war of 1812, Edmund being
captain ; William first lieutenant, and Charles sec-
ond lieutenant in the same company, in the Ninth
Regiment Infantry, under command of Colonel
Winfield Scott. In the battle of Lundy's Lane. Ed-
mund and William were wounded. It was related
(by the father) that after the battle was over some
one asked Charles what he thought when he saw
his brothers fall. Charles' reply was : "It looked
like an opening for a promotion."

Rev. Edmund Foster married, October 29, 1783,
Phebe, daughter of Rev. William Lawrence, of Lin-
coln. Their children were : Edmund ; William Law-
rence ; Sophia; Charles (died young); Love;
Charles ; Susannah ; Sarah ; John ; Harrison ; Sarah
Bass ; Mary Ann ; and Abel Lawrence.

(VII) John, ninth child and sixth son of Rev.
Edmund and Phebe (Lawrence) Foster, was born
at Littleton, November 23, 1796, and died February
7, 1854. When a young man he removed to Keene,
New Hampshire, where he resided till his death. He
was a Whig in politics, and a leading man in his
party and in the community. He held the offices of
sheriff and register of' deeds, and was cashier of
Ashuelot Bank, and held other positions of trust.
He married Sophia, daughter of Josiah Willard at
Westminster, Vermont. She died at Fitzwilliam,
New Hampshire, April 19, 1832. Their children
were: Sarah; William Lawrence; and Susan

(VIII) William Lawrence, second child and
only son of John and Sophia (Willard) Foster, was
born at Westminster, Vermont, June i, 1823, and
died August 13, 1897. When ten years old he ac-
companied his parents in their removal to Keene,
where he attended the public schools' and Keene
Academy. Subsequently he attended at Hancock,
Walpole, and entered Harvard Law School, gradu-
ating therefrom in 1845. In that year he was ad-
mitted to the bar at Keene, and was postmaster of
that city from 1845 to 1849. In the years 1849 and

1850 he was assistant clerk, and in 1851 and 1852
clerk of the New Hampshire senate. In 1853 he
removed to Concord and formed a law partnership
with John H. George, which continued until 1857.
He continued in the practice of law until elevated
to the bench. From 1850 till 1856 he was reporter
of the supreme court of New Hampshire, was
colonel on Governor Dinsmore's staff in 1849, and
served under his successor till 1851 ; was represen-
tative from Ward Four, Concord, in the legislature
in 1863; and was United States commissioner in
1864. He served as judge of the supreme judicial
court of New Hampshire from 1869 to 1874, and
from 1876 to 1881. In the interum between 1874
and 1876 he was chief justice of this court. He
was made clerk of the Northern railroad in 1853;
was made a member of the standing committee of
the Episcopal Church in 1858, and trustee of that
church in 1868, and was serving in these positions
at the time of his death. In 1864 he received the
degree of Master of Arts from Dartmouth College.
He was a Democrat until the outbreak of the
rebellion in 1861, and after that time a Republican
and a sturdy supporter of the Union. Judge Fos-
ter was a man of much natural ability, the heri-
tage from ancestors distinguished for mental stam-
ina, steadfast perseverance, energy, and those two
rarer qualities of good judgment and sound com-
mon sense. At an early age he learned the value of
time, and cultivated the habit of improving each
moment. In youth he was a close student ; in man-
hood a busy worker. As a lawyer he was alert,
quick to see the advantage of his client, a hard
worker, and a man who lived up to the amenities of
his profession. Naturally gifted with power to in-
fluence others, he found public life agreeable, and
devoted many years to public affairs with
more advantage to the state than profit to
himself. As an officer he was above reproach,
ever faithful to duty, realizing his responsil)ility
and never shirking it. As a judge he was careful
and deliberate in forming his opinions and firm in
maintaining them. Never assuming a position he
was not prepared to maintain with ample evidence,
his decisions and opinions are highly valued by his
successors, both at the bar and on the bench. Judge
Foster married at Hopkinton, January 13, 1853,
Harriet Morton, daughter of Hamilton and Clara
Perkins. She was born February 17, 1834, and died
April 30, 1899. Their children were: Clara, Eliza-
beth Bradley, Mary Bartlett, William Hamilton, and
Roger Elliot.

(IX) William Hamilton, fourth child and eld-
est son of William L. and Harriet M. (Perkins)
Foster, was born at Concord, August 2-], 1861. He
was educated at St. Paul's School, and received
the degree of Master of Arts from Dartmouth
College in 1884. He has filled the position of in-
structor at St. Paul's School from 1884 to the
present time (1906). He married, June 28, 1888,
at Exeter, New Hampshire, Alcina, daughter of
Hon. Nathaniel and Alcina (Sanborn) Gordon.
They have one child, Harriet Evelyn, born at Con-
cord. April 6, 1890.

(Ill) Caleb, youngest child of Abraham (l)
and Lydia (Burbank) Foster, was born at Ipswich,
Massachusetts, November 9, 1677. His home was
in Ipswich. In 1700 he had a seat assigned him
"behind ye pulpit" in the meeting house recently
built. He married, June 2, 1702, Mary Sherwin,
of Ipswich. They had nine children: Lydia, born
Mav 14, 1703, married Nathan Dresser; Jonathan,
mentioned below; Sarah, died young; Caleb, mar-



ried Priscilla Buxton; Stephen, married Rebecca
Peabody; Mary, died unmarried; Sarah; Phile-
mon; John, baptized November lo, 1717. Caleb
died January 25, 1766, aged eighty-nine years. In
his will he does not mention Philemon or John,
so it is presumed that they died before their father.

(IV) Jonathan, second son and child of Caleb
and Mary (Sherwinj Foster, was born at Ipswich,
Massachusetts, November 30, 1704. He lived at
Ipswich. He was twice married. His first wife
was Jemima Cummings. They were married Jan-
uary I, 1733, and had live children: Affe, born De-
cember 4, 1734; Philemon, married Ruth Parley;
Apphia ; Jemima; Olive, born August 20, 1744, mar-
ried Amos Chapman. On December 17, 1751, Jon-
athan Foster married his second wife, Dorcas Por-
ter, at Topsfield, Massachusetts. They had seven
children; Jonathan, born September 16, 1753;
Moses, mentioned below; Dorcas, married Daniel
Ellsworth, of Rowley; Mary, died unmarried;
Cabcl, married Hepsibah ; Mercy, mar-
ried Isaac Plummer, of Newbury; Salome, born
November 4, 1766, married (first) Nathaniel Fos-
ter, and (second) Nathaniel Gould, and lived in
Topsfield. Jonathan Foster died in May, 1779.

(V) Moses, second son and child of Jonathan
and Dorcas (Porter) Foster, was born at Ipswich,
Massachusetts, December 18, 1755, in the Line
Brook parish. He was scarcely of age when the
Revolution broke out, and he saw some hard serv-
ice. He was one of the Ipswich men who marched
to Lexington, Massachusetts, April 19, 1775, and he
took part in the desperate assault against Quebec
the last of December of that same year. He also
was in service in Rhode Island during the last
five months of 1778. In 1787 he purchased seventy-
six acres of land on high ground, south of the
Souhegan river, then in Amherst, New Hampshire,
but now incorporated in the southern part of Mil-
ford. The region was then an unbroken forest.
Moses Foster married, April 30, 1789, in Topsfield,
Massachusetts, Mary Fuller, daughter of Timothy
Fuller, of Middletown, Massachusetts. Timothy
Fuller was the second cousin of the grandfather of
Margaret Fuller, Countess d'Ossoli, who was also
named Timothy. Moses and Mary (Fuller) Foster
had four children : Moses, mentioned below ; Isaac
Plummer, born November 5, 1792, married Harriet
Brooks; Timothy Fuller, born January 11, 1798,
died January 31, 1835 ; John, born November 13,
1798, died September, 1838. Moses Foster died
September 3, 1800, in Milford, New Hampshire.
Some time during 1801 his widow married Philip

(VI) Moses (2), eldest of the four children of
Moses (i) and Mary (Fuller) Foster, was born
December 25, 1790, at Milford, New Hampshire.
He lived in Milford all his life, at first in the
house left him by his father, which he enlarged,
and relinquished to his son. Deacon John E. Fos-
ter, who has since celebrated his golden wedding
there. In 1847 Moses Foster inoved into the village
of Milford to the home where he spent the re-
mainder of his days. He was a carpenter and far-
mer, and belonged to the Baptist Church. He was
twice married. His first wife was Fanny Coggin,
daughter of Joseph and Betsey (Herrick) Coggin,
of Mount Vernon, New Hampshire. She was born
April 27, 1799, and died May 9, 1842. They had
four children; Joseph Coggin, born April 11, 1818,
became a noted Baptist minister and editor, mar-
ried (first) Abigail Ann Eaton; second, Julia Ann
Gould; Reuben Fuller, born January 19* 1821, mar-
ried Sarah Elizabeth Ames, of Hollis, New Hamp-

shire; John Everett, born May 17, 1824, married
Sophia P. Farley; Moses Freeman, whose sketch
follows. Moses Foster's second wife was Diana
Wallingford, daughter of Benjamin and Hannah
(Needham) Wallingford. She was born in Dub-
lin, New Hampshire, August 27, 181 1, and was
married September 27, 1842. They also had four
children, of whom but one lived more than a few
days. The children were : Diana, born and died
September 5, 1845; Benjamin F., whose sketch fol-
lows : George Wallingford, born June 20, 1848, died
July 7, 1848; Diana Wallingford, born July 3, 1849,
died July 12, 1849. Moses Foster died April 4,
1873, at Milford, New Hampshire. (The last named
receives mention in this article.) Mrs. Diana Fos-
ter died July 29, 1881.

(VII) Benjamin Franklin, elder son and second
child of Moses and Diana (Wallingford) Foster,
was born at Milford, New Hampshire, October 8,
1846. Of his mother's four children he was the
only one who lived to maturity. He was educated
in the common schools. His first occupation was
that of photographer. In 1882 he left this business
and engaged in undertaking, which business he con-
ducts at the present time. He learned the details
with Lewis Jones & Son, of Boston. Mr. Foster
has been president of the New England Under-
takers' Association, and also of the New Hamp-
shire Embalmers' Association. For the past twen-
ty-one years (1907) he has been the auctioneer of
the town. In politics he is a Republican ; he was a
member of the state legislature in 1905. He has
been a member of the board of health since 1891.
He is prominent in fraternal organizations. He is
a Mason and belongs to King Solomon Chapter,
No. 17, of Milford, and to St. George Commandery,
of Nashua, New Hampshire. He is an Odd Fellow,
and is Past Chancellor and Past Patriarch of Pros-
pect Hill Encampment. He also belongs to the
Granite State Grange, to the Red Men, and to the
Camera Club of Milford. Benjamin Franklin Fos-
ter has been twice married. His first wife was
Celia Frances Peabody, daughter of Ezra Brown
and Adelaide (Millin) Peabody, of Milford. Mrs.
Celia (Peabody) Foster was a descendant of Regi-
nald Foster, and was born in New Boston, New
Hampshire, August 23, 1845. One child was born
of this marriage, Harriet Maria, August 3, 1873.
She married Willis H. Parker, of Milford. Mrs.
Celia P. Foster was department president of the
Woman's Relief Corps of New Hampshire. Mr.
Foster married for his second wife, Louise R.
Anderson, daughter of James and Rebecca (Crosby)
Anderson, of Milford. There are no children by
the second marriage.

(VII) Moses Freeman, youngest of the four
sons of Moses and Fanny (Coggin) Foster, and a
descendant of Reginald Foster, was born January
6, 1832, on Federal Hill in Milford, New Hamp-
shire. He was educated in the public schools of
Milford, including the high school, and also at the
Hancock Literary and Scientific Institute at Han-
cock, New Hampshire. He first learned the print-
er's trade, but in the spring of 1849 he entered the
employ of the Souhegan Manufacturing Company,
where he remained three years. He then went into
the cotton mills at Chicopee, Massachusetts, and
later to Ho^yoke and :^ndian Orchard, Massachu-
setts; then to Cannelton, Indiana, where he was
overseer. After this he went to the Pemberton
cotton mills of Lawrence, Massachusetts, and in
March, 1858, to Augusta, Georgia. For eight years
he was overseer of carding at the cotton factory
in Augusta, and this period included the trying



times of the civil war. While in Augusta he was
conscripted into the Confederate service, but he
could be of more service in the cotton mill than
in the held ; so he was detailed to stay where he
was. In 1866 he moved to Cincinnati, Ohio, and
was superintendent of the Franklin factory for one
year. In the spring of 1867 he came back to Mil-
ford, where he built a permanent home near the
place of his birth. For one year he was agent of the
Richard Kitson machine works at Lowell, Massa-
chusetts. He then became associated with William
C. Langley & Company, of New York, and re-
moved to South Carolina to look after their cotton
mill property. He organized the Langley Manu-
facturing Company at Langley, South Carolina, and
spent eighteen years there, first as agent and after-
ward as superintendent. On April 11, 1886, he re-
signed as superintendent at Langley, and came
back to Milford. He then assisted in organizing
the Denison Cotton Manufacturing Company of
Denison, Texas. The mill was one of the first in

Online LibraryEzra S StearnsGenealogical and family history of the state of New Hampshire : a record of the achievements of her people in the making of a commonwealth and the founding of a nation (Volume 4) → online text (page 35 of 149)