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Fayette County, Iowa  

 History Directory

Past and Present of Fayette County Iowa, 1910

Author: G. Blessin


B. F. Bowen & Company, Indianapolis, Indiana


Vol. I, Biographical Sketches



~Page 1430~




It is a pleasure to investigate the career of a successful, self-made man. Peculiar honor attaches to that individual who, beginning the great struggle of life alone and unaided, gradually overcomes all obstacles in the pathway of success and by his own force and vitality succeeds in forging his way to the front and winning for himself a position of esteem and influence among his fellow men. Such is the record of the popular citizen of Clermont, Fayette county, to a brief synopsis of whose life and character the following paragraphs are devoted. H. E. Foster is a native son of the old Hoosier state, having first seen the light of day in Laporte county, Indiana, on January 21, 1841. 

In 1849 he came with his parents to West Union, Fayette county, Iowa, arriving here on the Fourth of July. At that time the country was sparsely settled and at what is now the thriving city of West Union there then was but one log house. The subject remained during his boyhood with his parents and received his education in the district schools, which at that time were rather primitive in both methods and equipment. His patriotism was aroused at the outbreak of the war of the Rebellion and in September, 1862, he enlisted in Company C, Sixth Regiment in Iowa Volunteer Cavalry, with which command he served until the close of the war. He proved a loyal and courageous soldier and, inspired by an ardent love for his country, he threw his whole heart and soul into the conflict. Upon his discharge from the military services, Mr. Foster returned to West Union and apprenticed himself to E. L. Sherman to learn the trade of a harness maker, and he spent the following eleven years in the same shop. He then bought forty-seven acres of choice land northeast of West Union in Dover township, and he made his home there until August, 1904, when he moved to Clermont and engaged in cement contracting. Sound business principles, correct motives and persistent industry have been contributing elements to the success which has crowned Mr. Fosterís efforts and today he is numbered among the representative citizens and enterprising business men of his community. Politically a Republican, Mr. Foster has been active in advancing the interests of his party and during the past eight years he has served as assessor of Dover township. His religious membership is with the Methodist Episcopal church, of which he is a liberal supporter. 

On May 13, 1880, Mr. Foster was married to Ellen Learn, who was born in Luzerne county, Pennsylvania, the daughter of Abram and Martha (Havenstrite) Learn, both also natives of the Keystone state. These parents came to Dover township, Fayette county, on April 8, 1869, and there followed farming. To Mr. and Mrs. Foster has been born one daughter, Laura, who is still a member of the home circle. The parents of the subject of this sketch were Joseph W. and Aurilla (Griffith) Foster, the former a native of Rutland county, Vermont, and the latter of New York state. They moved to Butler county, Ohio, where the father followed his trades of miller and millwright. They moved to Laporte county, Indiana, in 1834, where Mr. Foster continued in the same line of work until 1843, when he removed to Rock county, Wisconsin, which was their home for five years. In March 1848, they came to Fayette county, Iowa, locating four and a half miles northwest of West Union, two years later settling where West Union now stands. Mr. Foster was an expert in his line of work and he built two mills, a saw-mill and a grist-mill, at Eldorado for Mr. Elrod, and also assisted in the erection of a grist-mill at Auburn.

Before closing this sketch, mention should be made of a brother of the subject, David P. Foster, one of the honored and respected old residents of Fayette county. Mr. Foster was born in Butler county, Ohio, on January 1, 1833, the son of Joseph W. and Aurilla (Griffith) Foster. He came to Fayette county, Iowa, with his parents in 1848 and has ever since been closely identified with this section of the county, having been an eye-witness of and participant in the wonderful development which has characterized this part of the state. To him fell the honor and also the responsibility of first carrying the mail in Fayette county. This was during the administration of president Pierce and the mail route was from West Union to McGregor. During the subsequent years Mr. Foster has been employed at various occupations, including those of cabinetmaker, painter, carpenter and other kindred lines. He relates that at one time in the early days he harvested grain on the spot where now stands the busy city of West Union. In 1861 Mr. Foster enlisted in Company F, Third Regiment Iowa Volunteer Infantry, and served faithfully until receiving his honorable discharge in 1863. In October, 1862, he was wounded at Ahatchie, and was also injured at the battle of Shiloh. He is now an appreciative member of the Grand Army of the Republic. Politically, he is a stanch Republican. On January 1, 1859, he was married to Mary Lang, and to them have been born four children, namely: Carrie (died in infancy), Clara, Jennie and Blanche. Religiously, Mr. and Mrs. Foster are affiliated with the Presbyterian Church.



~Transcribed for Fayette County IAGenWeb Project by Marsha Hymen.


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