PUBLISHER: J.H.BEERS & CO., CHICAGO; 1903     P.  669

HON. JOHN A. FOSTER.  Among the prominent citizens to whom the residents of Stafford point with justifiable pride as a true representative of Tolland county, is Hon. John Augustus Foster, who was born in Stafford, Conn., May 16, 1849.  His grandfather, John Foster, was a Universalist minister, who married a daughter of William Rice, remembered as the keeper of the hotel on Stafford street.  

Col. William Augustus Foster, the distinguished father of John A. Foster, was born March 22, 1811, in Stafford, Conn., and his whole life was devoted to the interests of the section of his birth.  His elementary studies were pursued at the common schools, and later he enjoyed the private instruction of Rev. Mr. Knight, a teacher of some reputation in his day.  His maternal grandfather, William Rice, took the lad to his home, and under his paternal care he grew to manhood, and from this beloved relative inherited the farm which was his home until his death March 3, 1874.

Col. Foster established a mercantile business on Stafford street, and to this business he later added the care of the farm, finally abandoning the former enterprise for the more congenial duties of agriculture.  His general store is still easily recalled by his contemporaries, as for a number of years it was a well-known place of business.

The marriage of Col. Foster occurred June 11, 1845, in Stafford, Conn., his choice of companion being Eunice Lee Grant, who was born in Stafford, April 22, 1829, and died there Jan. 29, 1878.  Her ancestral line could be traced back many generations, her parents being Dr. John and Fanny (Hall-Perit) Grant of Stafford, the line then extending through six ancestors:  Miner, Oliver, Oliver, Josiah, Samuel and Mathew.  The children born to Col. Foster and wife were:  (1) William Rice, born April 23, 1846, in Stafford, died in Elmira, N.Y., Dec. 11, 1879.  On Feb. 22, 1876, he married in Norfolk, Va., Kate Elizabeth Nichols, who was born in Troy, Pa., Sept. 24, 1854, a daughter of William and Catherine (Lincoln) Nichols.  William Rice Foster was a lawyer, attending Yale College, graduated from the Law school in Albany, N.Y., and until his health failed practiced law in Hartford, Conn.  His children were:  Leila Lincoln, born in Hartford, Feb. 25, 1877;  an infant, born July 13, 1878, which died the same day; and Olive Grant, born in Elmira, N.Y., Sept. 11, 1879.  (2) John Augustus was born in Stafford, Conn., May 16, 1849.  (3) Lucille Hall Tryon, born May 8, 1851, in Stafford, married in West Hartford Nov. 3, 1880, William Augustus Erving, who was born in Westfield, Mass., April 27, 1847, a son of Daniel Dodge and Cynthia Ann Chapin (Woodward) Erving.  He is secretary of the Hartford Co. Mutual Fire Insurance Company.

Col. Foster possessed a liberal share of general knowledge, and ability of no common order, but he had little taste for the tumult and strife of the great world, preferring the simplicity of rural life to the excitements of a more ample field of action.  However, he possessed an instinct for public affairs, was clear headed, sound in his judgement, and gifted with a mental grasp which enabled him to grapple with and master intricate questions.  This vigor of mind and force of character easily made him one of the leaders and moulders of public opinion in his town.  Having been nurtured in the old Whig party, he found the Republican party in accord with his views and immediately became a supporter of its principles.  He served as a representative, and also served his district, which was then the 20th, but is now the 24th, in the State Senate.

Col. Foster was at one time high sheriff of the county, was very active in the State militia, and for many years was the colonel of a regiment of cavalry.  One of his characteristics was a love of nature, a fondness for the fresh, bracing air, and doubtless his enjoyment of the out-door amusements did its part in developing his fine physique and in giving him a commanding presence.  His death occurred March 3, 1874, in the sixty-third year of his age.  Although not a member of any church, he belonged to the Ecclesiastical Society of Stafford street.

John Augustus Foster, of this sketch, was born in Stafford street and in his boyhood attended the common schools; but then enjoyed one term in Monson Academy, one term at the Woodstock Academy and three years in preparing for Yale, at Bacon Academy, Colchester, Conn.  In 1872 he entered Yale College with high hopes, but his application to his books had been too close, and in a few weeks his health was in such a state that he was obliged to relinquish his aspirations in that direction and return to the farm.

Mr. Foster has one of the best farms in the county, comprising 150 acres and productive to a high degree.  Dairying is also one of his interest, the products finding a ready sale in Stafford Springs.  Like his lamented father he is fond of country life and pursuits, and one of his pleasures is to collect birds.  He possesses many beautiful specimens arranged in a very attractive way.  Mr. Foster has never neglected his duties as a citizen.  A stanch Republican, he has repeatedly served in many offices of trust and responsibility.  For several terms he has been a selectman, has been assessor, a member of the board of relief, and also a member of the school committee in his district.  In 1900 he was honored by his fellow-citizens by an election as representative, and was on the Pan-American Exposition commission.

On Nov. 21, 1877, Mr. Foster was married to Lillian Potter Crawford, who was a daughter of William M. and Jeannette (Potter) Crawford, of Stafford Springs, and the children of this union are:  William Augustus, born March 14, 1879, engaged in business in Palmer, Mass., with E.A. Buck & Co.;  Grant Crawford, born July 19, 1881;  and Mabel Agnes, born Aug. 24, 1882, both at home.

Mr. Foster is one of the prominent and leading citizens of the county.  For many years he has been a member of Ionic Lodge, No. 110, A.F. & A.M., and was for years active in the Stafford Grange.  In religious matters the family attends the Congregational Church at Stafford Springs.  The Foster family is an old and well-known one in Connecticut, and of its members none stands any higher in the estimation of his fellow-citizens than does the Hon. John A. Foster, who as private citizen and public official has faithfully discharged every duty imposed upon him.

Reproduced by:

Linda D. Pingel great-great granddaughter of Cyrus White of Rockville, Ct.


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