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James Foster
 James Foster, 1822-

From American Series of Popular Biographies. Massachusetts Edition. This Volume Contains Biographical Sketches of Representative Citizens of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Boston: Graves & Steinbarger, 1891.


JAMES FOSTER, a respected resident of the Dorchester district, Boston, now retired from active business life, was born in Dorchester, September 9, 1822, son of James and Rachel (Lambert) Foster. In his veins flows the blood of six generations of New England ancestors.

Edward Foster, the founder of this branch of the family in America, came from England, and settled in Scituate, Mass., in 1633. It is thought that he had practised law in England. In the town records of Scituate he is spoken of as a lawyer. He became quite a prominent man, and was Deputy to the Plymouth Colony Court in 1639, being an associate with Anthony Annable. He married in Scituate, April 8, 1635, Lettice Hanford, and in his will, dated November 24, 1643, a short time before his death, names her as executrix. His children were: Timothy, born in 1640; and Elizabeth, 1644.

Timothy Foster removed to Dorchester in 1662. He was first married October 13, 1663, to Mrs. Ruth Denton, a widow, daughter of Thomas Tileston, and they reared a family of children. After the death of his first wife he married in 1680 Mrs. Relief Holland Dowse. He died December 9, 1688.

Captain Edward Foster, second son of Timothy and Relief Foster, was born in 1682, and died January 22, 1761. He married in 1705 Jemima, daughter of Jonathan Turner, of Scituate. She died in 1716, and he married in 1718 Alice Prince.

His second son, Timothy, born April 12, 1709, married Abial Williams, of Roxbury. At the advanced age of sixty-six years he responded to the Lexington alarm. He died in 1810.

His son, Edward, born March 22, 1752, served as a member of the coast guard during the Revolutionary War. He married Polly Blake, of Dorchester, and they were the parents of ten children, the sixth of whom was James, born in Dorchester in 1790, who was the father of the subject of this sketch.

James Foster followed agriculture during his entire active period, dying at the age of eighty-three years in 1873. A member of the militia, he served in the War of 1812, holding the rank of Orderly Sergeant of his company. He was a member of Dr. Codman's church. He was married in November, 1821, to Rachel Lambert, a daughter of Paul and Patience (Blake) Lambert, of Dorchester. Their children were as follows: James, the subject of this sketch; Rachel A. who married Edmund Jaques, of Newburyport, Mass.; Suviah L. who was the wife of the late Robert Elder, of Boston, Mass.; Mary, who died in December, 1897, and whose husband, George E. Hersey of Brookline, Mass., died in September , 1894; Elizabeth G., now a resident of California; Sarah M. whose husband, James W. Stearns formerly of Somerville and later of California, is now deceased; Martha, widow of Dr. Charles E. Blake, of San Francisco, who died in December 1894; and Samuel, also a resident of that city.

James Foster, the second of the name, was born, as recorded above, September 9, 1822. He received his education in the Dorchester schools, and his youth was occupied in working on his father's farm, where he acquired a good knowledge of agriculture. When twenty years of age, however, he gave up farm work and established a milk business, which he carried on very successfully for a period of forty years, retiring at the end of that time, in 1883, with a competence. He has a pleasant home on Dorchester Avenue, Dorchester. Mr. Foster is a member of the Second Church, and in politics a Republican.

He was married on November 25, 1848, to Miss Mary Ayers. Of this union five children were born, namely: Arthur J., now a resident of San Francisco; Anna M., who died at the age of two years and two months; Mary Ellen, wife of Gideon M. Mansfield, of Dorchester; Frank A., an architect and civil engineer of Boston, a separate sketch of whom may be found on another page of this volume; and Edward H., who is a resident of Dorchester. The mother of these children, Mrs. Mary Foster, died; and Mr. Foster married for his second wife Mrs. Elizabeth E. Kendall, whose maiden name was Farnsworth.



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Created: November 1, 2004   Modified: November 1, 2004