The Foster Family
A Thumbnail Sketch
|Laura Albina (Bina) Foster, Florence Foster King, Adams Foster, Grace Foster, Lyndon (Red) Foster, Herbert Foster, Margaret Foster Cameron, Bryant Foster, Jimmy Foster, Charlotte Foster Von Allman and George Washington Foster|
My grandfather, Isaac Jarvis Foster, emigrated from Canada and homesteaded a claim in Bathgate North Dakota as a young man in 1879. In the ensuing decade he met, wooed and married Laura Elizabeth "Lizzie" Armstrong. On a farm at the turn of the 20th century it paid to have a large family. The result in terms of offspring were my dad plus ten aunts and uncles. When Grandpa Ike ran for county sheriff, his campaign slogan was "Head of a Family of Thirteen, VOTE FOR US." He won. In the lineup above, Dad is the little guy, the youngest of 11; he looks to be maybe three years old, which would date the family photo to 1912. His siblings posed at an angle. Dad is turned squarely ahead, a free and independent spirit from the beginning.
|Aunt Bina's Headstone|
|Aunt Grace's Headstone|
With the farm gone, his parents dead and the remaining family scattered to the four winds during the Great Depression, Uncle Adams went to live in a home for the handicapped in Grafton, North Dakota, as he was unable to care for himself. The Sisters there were wonderful caretakers. We would visit Adams and take him out for a picnic along a nearby creek. After a couple of hours he would tire and ask to go home. He had no sense of or ability to manage money. We would contribute to his commissary account so he could buy himself a Coke, a candy bar or personal items from time to time. My dad said that Adams hit his head as a youth when he was thrown from a horse (or he suffered from a debilitating fever, I'm not sure). Adams led a long life; he is buried alongside his parents in Bathgate Cemetery.
The other six siblings were Herbert Foster, Margaret Foster Cameron, Bryant Foster, Jimmy Foster, Charlotte Foster Von Allman and George Washington Foster.
|Lake View |
|$100 Gold Certificate|
|Clark Street, Evanston IL|
|The buried van where the Chowchilla|
kidnapping victims were stowed.
We visited Uncle Jimmy once, in Oregon in 1962 on a side trip out to the Seattle's World Fair.
Aunt Charlotte was a mass of freckles. She lived in Littlefork, Minnesota, just south of International Falls, which is frequently cited for the coldest temperatures in the lower 48 states. Aunt Charlotte's home overlooked the Littlefork River, which was rusty red as a result of flowing through a region replete with iron deposits. She taught grade school and was proud to have educated a fellow by the name of Tim Babcock who became Governor of Montana. I understand Mr. Babcock is still with us and contemplate that I could run across him and have an opportunity to reminisce.
There was an unnamed baby girl born prematurely between Charlotte and George, who died within a few hours of birth for lack of an incubator. She was buried in the front yard under a rose bush in a coffin hewn by her father, Isaac.
The eleventh and final child was my dad -- George W Foster. He lived to 88 years old. Dad began college at Jameston College in North Dakota, but his education was cut short by the Depression before he could earn a degree. His resume from 1932 to the end of World War II is pretty much of a blank, as he excised those years. To wipe the Great Depression out of his personal history, he posed for decades as being ten years younger than he actually was, something I did not learn of until I was in college. Dad was active in civic affairs and politics, worked in the printing business for many years and then selling major appliances at Wieboldt's department store.