Buena Vista County, IA
USGenWeb Project

Extracted from:  Wegerslev, C. H. and Thomas Walpole. 
 Past and Present of Buena Vista County, Iowa
Chicago:  S. J. Clarke Publishing Co., 1909, p. 314-15.

Transcribed by Paul Nagy

Biography of  Arthur M. Foster

Arthur M. Foster, pleasantly located in the new Odd Fellow's block, where he has conducted business successfully since 1901, was born in Mooretown, Vermont, April 24, 1861.  He is a representative of prominent New England families, and was the youngest of the seven children of Leonard and Anna L. (Evans) Foster.  The father was born in Vermont and his life span covered more than ninety years, his death occurring in 1897.  He was of English decent, acquired a common-school education and in early manhood engaged in teaching.  Upon the home farm he was reared, but he left the farm to engage in mercantile pursuits at Mooretown, Vermont, where he successfully and energetically conducted business for twenty years. On the expiration of that period he retired with a handsome competency and removed to Waterbury, where he spent his remaining days.  He was an old-line whig until the dissolution of that party, when he joined the ranks of the new republican party.  He continued to support it until his death.  He was prominent in political circles and for six years represented his district in the state legislature, where he took an active part in framing the public policy and formulating laws of the commonwealth.  Upright in all his dealings and straightforward in every relation of life, he was held in high esteem and his many good qualities constituted an example well worthy of emulating.  Earnest in his faith as a member of the Methodist Episcopal church, he took an active part in its work, had served as steward and also as leader of the choir.  His wife, who was born in Stratford, Vermont, is now living in Waterbury, at the age of seventy-seven years.  She is of English decent and belongs to a family that was represented in the Revolutionary war.  She holds membership with the Methodist Episcopal church, and her life has been that of a consistent church woman who has always endeavored to closely follow the teaching of the Scripture.


Arthur M. Foster accompanied his parents on their removal to Waterbury, Vermont, where he pursued his education in the common schools and in the Green Mountain Seminary of that place, of which he is an alumnus.  In 1881 he came to the west and settled al Lone Rock, Wisconsin, where he embarked in merchandising in connection with his brother L. W. and his father-in-law.  He was thus identified with commercial interests at that place until 1895, when he removed to La Crosse, Wisconsin, where he and his brother engaged in business until 1901.  In that year Arthur M. Foster came to Storm Lake and established a department store in the new Odd Fellow's block, where he is now conducting a successful business.  He has labored energetically to win the prosperity which he now enjoys.  There is no secret process by which he has gained his success, for along the legitimate lines of trade he has steadily advanced, gaining the public confidence and, therefore, the public patronage, by reason of his straightforward dealing and progressive business methods.


In April, 1883, Mr. Foster was married to Miss Ella M. Fuller, who was born at Lone Rock, Wisconsin, in 1860.  They have two sons:  Harry C. and Lynn Emmerson, both of whom are members of the firm of A. M. Foster & Sons.  They are young men of good business ability, and are materially assisting their father in the management and control of the store.


Mr. Foster is well known as one of the leading members of the Presbyterian church, in which he is serving as an elder.  He is also superintendent of the Lake Side Presbyterian Sunday school, and is actively interested in all those projects which have for their object the moral development of the community.  His political endorsement is given the republican party and he keeps well informed on the questions and issues of the day, so that he is able to support his position by intelligent argument.  He is one of the directors of the Storm Lake Chautauqua Association of Storm Lake, and a member of the school board.  Business ability and genuine public spirit are well balanced characteristics of his nature and he looks at life from the rational standpoint that recognizes the need for physical, mental and moral progress and development.