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The Foster Family

Theron Foster:  My great-great-great grandfather's name was Theron Foster.  He was born in April 2, 1812, in Massachussetts, and died July 11, 1893 in Willows, Glenn County, CA. At one time (during the presidency of James K. Polk) he was the postmaster of Coldwater, Michigan, and in 1850, he moved to California, following the Gold Rush, and was among the enterprising and respected citizens of that state until his death.   He died in Willows, Glenn County, California July 11, 1893, at the age of 82.   Theron's wife, Mary Lanette (Pierce), followed him to California, in about 1852, evidently only taking the youngest child, also named Mary Lanette.  According to the 1855 Stockton, New York census, Harriet Eliza (18) Foster and her sister Augusta (12), lived with the family of Columbus C. Pierce (34) and had lived there for two years, assuming this was since the departure of their mother for California. Since their mother's maiden name was Pierce, this may have been an uncle or cousin. (can't corroborate this definitely) I have a photograph of Theron's granddaughter, Augusta, taken in Seattle about 1892.  In that photo is an older man, wearing a top hat and he has a large mustache.  The same man is in another family photo, unnamed. It is possible this is Theron Foster.   Unfortunately, most of the photographs in my grandmother's things, were not labeled.

theron2.jpg (4349 bytes)
not a clear image, but this is
the same man pictured below
to his right is Edgar Akers, and
to his left is Augusta Akers

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Augusta with Theron Foster (?),
her grandfather

From "The Mountain Democrat" a newspaper in Placerville CA, June 1999:  "Theron Foster. at one time being a member of the California Assembly. On Nov. 20, 1860, Frederick Gustavus Crawford, a teamster who was a frequent visitor to the DuRoc House, married Theron and Mary's daughter, Mary Lanette Foster. In 1867 he joined Theron in operating the inn, while continuing to work as a teamster for one more year. After helping Theron plant a vineyard, Crawford would move to Davisville and then Willows, where he and Mary Lanette built and ran hotels. One of these hotels, the Crawford House in Willows, was rated by some as one of the best appointed hotels in northern California. On June 19, 1857, a post office was established at a location known as El Dorado Ranch with Lyman A. Hoyt as the postmaster. The name for the post office had been originally proposed to be Deer Creek, but the Post office Department selected El Dorado Ranch instead. On Sept. 14, 1858, the department changed the name of the post office to Duroc and appointed Theron Foster as postmaster. The post office would be discontinued on Nov. 23, 1864."

Mary Lanette (Pierce) Foster: An obituary for Mary Foster, Mrs. Theron Foster, was in a Coldwater, Michigan newspaper.  It states: "The sad news of the death of a former, well known and highly esteemed resident of our city has just reached us.  Mrs. Theron Foster died at her home in Washington Corners, Alameda County, California, July 13, after an illness of only two days, though she had been failing slowly for a year or more.  The immediate cause of her death was pneumonia, which was hastened no doubt, by heart disease, with which she has been troubled more or less for several years.  Her age was 66 years, 6 months and 13 days. She was born in Batavia, New York in 1814, was married to Mr. Foster in 1832, and came to Coldwater in 1836, sleeping the first night in a log house, owned by William P. Arnold, Esq., ..........   During the excitement created by the discovery of gold in California, Mr. Foster was attacked by the "gold fever" and removed to the "New Eldorado" in 1854, since which time that state has been their residence.  While living in our midst, Mrs. Foster gained the esteem of all by her kindness in caring for the wants of her neighbors and friends in the early history of our city and was ever ready to lend a helping hand to the sick and distressed, and such were numerous in those days---and when she left for her new home on the Pacific coast, her departure was sincerely regretted by all and her death will be mourned by many of our older residents who keep her in sacred remembrance. Mrs. Foster leaves behind her to mourn her departure, her husband, now in his 68th year, one son, William R., of Grand Rapids, this state--and two daughters one living in New York and the other in Utah, besides a large circle of friends who absolutely regret her death."

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I believe this is a photo of Mary (Pierce) Foster
and two of her daughters, Augusta and Harriet
c. 1853

William Rice Foster:  William was born in 1834 in New York.  In 1893, he lived in Grand Rapids, Michigan and was well known in that city.

"Wm. R. FOSTER, general fire and life insurance agent, was born at Lockport, Niagara Co., N. Y., Dec. 15, 1834, His father, Theron FOSTER, is a native of Massachusetts, and his mother, Mary L. FOSTER, was born in Vermont. They now reside at Washington, Alameda Co., Cal. Theron FOSTER was one of the first pioneers of Branch county, whither he removed in 1836. He kept a hotel at Coldwater and acted as Postmaster under POLK. His son, William R., grew up and received his education at the common schools of Coldwater and at 15 entered a clerkship, which employ he pursued 11 years, when he became a junior partner in the mercantile house of J. B. CRIPPEN & Co. This alliance continued three years, when the business interests were purchased by Mr. FOSTER and a new relations formed under the style of FOSTER & VAN NESS. This firm was the heaviest in Southern Michigan in its general merchandise, wool and grain transactions, and the co-partnership existed until 1868. During the periods referred to, Mr. FOSTER held several municipal offices, such as Alderman, City Clerk and Chief of the Fire Department. He was also agent for the Merchant’s Union Express Company. In 1868 he closed his connection with the mercantile world and engaged in insurance, and as ticket agent for Eastern roads, and, also, for the Merchants’ Dispatch Fast-Freight Line. Feb. 26, 1876, he came to Grand Rapids and engaged in insurance under the firm name of STUART & FOSTER, continuing two years, when the business was operated singly by Mr. FOSTER . In October, 1880, he formed a partnership with Marcus W. BATES, and their house is one of the strongest insurance agencies is Western Michigan, if not the entire State, representing upward of $100,000,000 assets. Mr. FOSTER was married at Coldwater in 1856, to Martha A. LOVE, born at Colden, Erie Co., N.Y., and reared at Buffalo. The family residence is at NO. 159 Summer street." History of Kent County, Michigan, (Chas. C. Chapman & Co, 1881, Chicago), 1005-06.

Harriet Eliza Foster:  Harriet was my great great grandmother. She was born October 28, 1836 in Niagara County, New York, and died June 23, 1917 in Seattle, Washington.  She was married July 14, 1856 in Fredonia, New York, to Edgar Fayette Smith, and they had two daughters, Jennie M. (b. 1857) and Augusta Eunice (b. 1866), my great grandmother.. She was known to her grandchildren as Mama Smith. Address at time of her death was 1623 North 52nd Street, Seattle Washington, the home of her daughter, Jennie Skinner. The doctor who signed the death certificate was L. Dudley Long, M.D.

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Harriet Eliza Foster
My great-great grandmother

Augusta Foster: Augusta was born November 14, 1842, in Michigan and died March 28, 1919.  She married a man named Theodore F. Tracy and they had three sons, Theodore Foster, (b. 1860),  William Edward (b. 1866), Frederick W. (b. 1870).  In 1893, Augusta and family lived in San Francisco, California.

Mary Lanette Foster: Mary was born November 04, 1844 in Michigan and died in 1923.  Her husband was Frederick G. Crawford, and they had three children, Harriet Augusta (b. 1862), Jennie Bell (b. 1872), and William Tracy Crawford (b. 1876).  In 1893, Mary and her family lived in Willow, California.

Foster Family Genealogy

Home Akers Maxfield Riley Foster Smith
Brothertown Indians Fowler Estes Varney Wescott Gifford
Coggeshall Otis Livingston Abell Cousins Royalty
Maxfield photos Hyde Partridge Tuttle Carr Strong
King Davies Patterson      


Marilyn's email:
herblst@earthlink.net