1. Introduction
  2. English Childhood
  3. Coming to America
  4. Old Dominion, New Orleans, Texas
  5. Illinois
  6. A Return to Cleveland
  7. Eagle Tannery
  8. Residences
  9. The Window Glass Industry
  10. Supporting the Rails
  11. Political Life
  12. The Final Years
  13. St. James Episcopal Church
  14. End Notes


The Village of Cleveland has a number of forefathers with vibrant histories.  However, few share the diversity of William H. Foster.  The following summary highlights the life of this prolific figure and his contributions to the Cleveland community.  Several references within this piece are taken from the family’s personal journals currently in a collection at Rice University.  Other segments are taken from the Cleveland Historical Society’s archives or are based on historical documents.  Full citations to various facts and events can be viewed in CHS’ tree project, Northshore Roots.  Although the details on William’s family are sparse, it’s because they are planned for posts of their own in the future.

— gmsc

 The Early Years

Figure 1 - Lenham, St. Mary, Ken (John Salmon)[1]
Figure 1 – Lenham, St. Mary, Ken (John Salmon)[1]

English Childhood

William H. foster was born to parents of Scottish extraction in Royston Manor, Lenham, Kent County, England on December 27, 1813.[ii]   Although no discovered lines link William’s parents to their Scottish roots, this is how it was listed in the McElroy and McBridge LifeStyles publication, of which, it is assumed that this information was provided by William Foster himself.  In an 1890 letter from William Foster to his grandson, there is mention of William’s grandfather John, who can be traced back to prominent figures in the Lenham history.[iii]

Lenham, a modest market village and civil parish in the Maidstone district of Kent, was a historical parish in the Diocese of Canterbury.[iv]    It was here, in Lenham Church, where William was baptized on May 15, 1814 and where he resided for a portion of his youth.  Other than the noting of William’s father being a farmer by occupation, and a few other details from personal accounts, little else provides details to William’s early years.

He was educated at Maidstone Grammar School and the Herstmonceux Church in East Sussex.  Again, referencing a William Foster letter dated July 14th, 1890, Mr. Foster says:

I never spent much time at home since I was ten years old. I was sent off to a boarding school in Kent (the Grammar school at Maidstone. B. G. F), had three weeks vacation at midsummer and Christmas afterwards finished my schooling at Hertsmonceux in Sussex when I was 14 ½. Was soon after sent to London in a rich dry goods house, staid there but a very short time, then went into a hardware store at Hestings until I left England 1830- just getting my board.[v]

Coming to America

Sometime around 1830 the Foster family embarked on the six week journey to the United States.

William was one of a party of English people who immigrated to America. Just what caused these people to come, how many there were, or who were the leaders is not known. Among them however were Mr. Cossum, Mr. Mannington and Thomas Nowers, the last named, a nephew of William’s mother, and therefore a cousin to William. Also in the company was William’s older sister Decima who was engaged to be married to Thomas Nowers. It was very natural therefore that the youth of sixteen, fired by the prospects of life, adventure and the chances of success in a new land, seized the opportunity to join the party. There are no details extant of the exact time or of the trip across the ocean, except that it required six weeks, nor are the reasons known that led the band up the Hudson River and thence no doubt by the Erie Canal to Utica, N.Y. It is quite probable however that the fact that the cousin Horace Foster was then living in that city had something to do with making it their destination. They evidently reached Utica in June of 1830, and their arrival marked a most important event in William’s life, the meeting with the young lady, Mary Cramp, who was later to share as his wife, some of the hardships and many of the successes of his later life.

According to the Rice compilation, William relocated to Constantia around the latter part of 1830.  Thomas Nowers, William’s brother-in-law owned a farm (later to be the resident of Mr. Godfrey), of which William worked as a farmer.  An extract from letters to William’s grandsons, he’s quoted as saying the following:

After arriving on Lake Oneida, I was then 16, I worked on a farm two and a half years to pay passage money to New York and a pair of boots[vi].

One of the very first businesses in the Cleveland area was Eagle Tannery.  Established around 1833-1834 by James Burke, the tannery was a much needed stimulus for employment in the area.[vii]  Very early on, William took a job at the tannery.  Initially employed as a clerk, he worked his way into a managerial position.  He describes his employment as such:

… Then I went in a store for $8 per month and board for 6 mo’s. Then for 1 1/2 years I got $12 per month, then [for] five months I had sole charge of [the] tannery store. I straitened up the accounts which had been terribly mixed up, kept the books. I got $20 per month for that 5 month’s work … I wanted $40. -couldn’t get it so I quit … [viii]

To put these dollar amounts into perspective, $40 a month in 1833 would be approximately $950 today.  So in search of a more lucrative future, Mr. Foster left Cleveland early on in 1835, looking south.  Accompanying him on this journey was James Cramp, Mary’s only brother.[ix]

Old Dominion, New Orleans, Texas

While in transit, he met a gentleman by the name of William C. Burdick.  Using their collective savings, they opened a general merchandise establishment in Shocke Hill, Richmond.  Although not explicitly noted in research materials, one could assume that Foster fell back on his bookkeeper and managerial skills acquired while at the tannery.

Figure II - Shocke Hill (Gary Comins)[x]
Figure II – Shocke Hill (Gary Comins)[x]
 To date, I’ve failed to locate any specific photographs of the store, but during a 2013 visit to Richmond, we visited what remains of the Shocke Hill area.

Mr. Foster writes:

… started for New York and Virginia, got to Richmond, found a partner on the way. We mustered $500. cash, hired a store, bought goods with our cash, got a credit and started in the middle of 13 stores long established all in a row as rivals in business. My partner was a greenhorn but we sold goods in spite of our opposition but the Blue Ridge farmers and their niggers sickened me. I sold out to my partner, left some of my capital with him, he staid, made money.[xi]

The business arrangement with Burdick was tumultuous and ultimately short lived.  In September of 1835, Foster sold off his interest in the company his partner and once again took to traveling.  He travelled around Virginia, down through Mobile, Alabama and then onto New Orleans, Louisiana.  Spending the money he made from the sale of his interest in the Shocke Hill store, he found employment in New Orleans.  Eventually he was presented with an opportunity at Red River and relocated to Texas.

I went to Mobile, thence to N. Orleans. [Stayed] there until my last shilling was gone, then went to work for my board. I did so well that when I got a chance to get up the Red River they gave me a new suit of clothes. We went up into the [northeastern] part of Texas, staid there most a year. I recuperated some, had about as much as I had when I left Cleveland.  My c hum went to New Orleans to get pay for a claim we had secured on land, about $6000, and I have never seen him or my share of the claim from that day to this. The revolution was going on in Texas at that time as well as the Florida war and all the Seminoles and filibusters that Uncle Sam was sending through and into that region were the outskirts of the basest humanity.

I could fill your pages with instances of squabbles, with Indians, thieves, filibusters, gamblers, and sufferings, starvings, watchings, fevers, chills, congestion, bilious complaints, destitution, and death scenes I passed through in the one year’s season. It is hardly wholesome now to recall it- I left there late in the fall of 1836. I paddled a canoe 600 miles on my return with fever in my stomach and love and marriage on the brain. Like you I did not count the cost neither the risk.[xii]

With funds replenished, William headed back to Cleveland, New York in 1837.  Here he reconnected with Mary Cramp.  The two were married in summer of 1837.  The following entries were noted in Mary Cramp’s diary:

May 1837. Sunday 28th. William returned home late in the evening. Wished me to prepare myself to return with him to the Lake Shore Tuesday week.

June 1837. Monday 5th. We were married by the Rev. Mr. McCarty at eight o’clock in the evening. Visitors present, Dr. and Mrs. Van Schaick, Mr. and Mrs. Isaacs, Miss Robertson, Miss Broadhead, Mrs. Andrew McCarty (Isaacs Isaacs groomsman) Mr. Casy, Mr. Perham, Mrs. Neil, Major Cochran.

Tuesday 6th. We left home for Oneida Lake at eight o’clock, arrived about six.[xiii]

Determined that the southwest would be the land of financial promise, Foster left for Illinois on September 11, 1837, leaving his new bride to stay with her parents in Oswego, New York


Figure III - 1837 Illinois (ILGENWEB Project)
Figure III – 1837 Illinois (ILGENWEB Project)

By October 1837, William Foster had established residence in Maysville, Illinois, where Mary had joined him.  Based on some of the various letters and journal entries from this period, the new couple travelled around quite a bit in the Illinois area:  Maysville, October 1837; Point Pleasant, October 1837; Indian Creek, December 1837.  The longest period of stability appears to have been between October 1938 and May 1939, when Foster was a mill operator in Maysville, Pike County, Illinois.

A Return to Cleveland”It appears that William … operated a mill of some sort driven by water power. During his absence one day, a terrific storm washed away both dam and mill. The young wife was standing on one side of the stream dolefully viewing the scene of the catastrophe, when glancing up she saw her husband on the opposite bank watching her with an amused look. He cheered her up and announced that they would return east.”[xiv]

Foster Falls (Kathy Darrow)
Figure IV – Foster Falls (Kathy Darrow)

Eagle Tannery

After a brief stop in Point Pleasant , the couple returned to Cleveland in 1839, where William returned to the Eagle Tannery and a grateful James Burke.  According to a March 4, 1891 correspondence by Mr. Foster, he states:

I got $60 per month … for two years from an appreciative employer. Then I was 30 years of age. I bought out the owner’s interest and paid him a debt of $80,000 and interest at 7% in 7 years out of the business.[xv]

By all of the accounts I have found, Mr. Foster’s efforts at the tannery were instrumental in making it a very successful business.  Eventually, William’s son, William Henry Foster, Jr., would step in to lead the company.

…While still a young man he became interested in the manufacture of leather, a business, which, in his hands, grew into large proportions, and by his energy and business tact he built it up into one of the largest and most successful tanneries in this section of the state.[xvi]

 Figure V - Foster Grove Postcard (Cleveland Historical Society)

Figure V – Foster Grove Postcard (Cleveland Historical Society)

The tannery required

The establishment that he bought, The Eagle Tannery, had been built years before on the eastern bank of Black Creek, where it flows into Oneida Lake, the site probably having been selected because of the water power and the great forests of hemlock that stretched over the territory north of the lake. The back of this tree was used for tanning purposes … To supply the necessary bark much timber land was acquired and the writer has been told that at one time William Foster owned 13000 acres of this primeval forest, the timber being cut solely for the bark, the enormous trees in the early days being allowed to rot where they fell.[xvii]


Figure VI - Foster Home (Kathy Darrow)
Figure VI – Foster Home (Kathy Darrow)

“W.H. Foster had made quite a convenient residence for himself in the old building near the lake shore, through the assistance of carpenter Ab. Wells.”[xx]The Fosters originally took residence on Lake Street and as finances improved, they purchased a house on the west side of Black Creek looking out toward the docks.  Around 1847, the Foster family purchased, what is now known as, the Towt-Foster-Edminister house.  Based on the Cleveland Comprehensive Plan, the house was built by John Towt in 1825 and purchased by William Foster after his death.[xviii]  Additionally, a second home was purchased in Oswego, New York where the couple alternated stays.[xix]

“Ab. Wells deserves credit for the neat job he has done in transforming the old building of W.H. Foster into a comfortable residence and store.”[xxi]

Figure VII - Foster Home (Cleveland Village)
Figure VII – Foster Home (Cleveland Village)

“The residence of Hon. William Foster, which for several months has been unoccupied, was struck by lightning during the storm of Monday afternoon, and badly wrecked.  The lightning entered from the south side, passing through to the front of the house, where the greater part of the damage was done.”[xxii]

Our Great Fire!
The Marble Hotel, Stable, and Shed, Together with the Store and Residence of W.H. Foster, Totally Destroyed! Loss, $10,000

Cleveland met with a severe loss Monday morning in the destruction by fire of the well known Marble House, owned by A.H. Morgan, and its adjoining hall, stable and barn, together with the grocery and liquor store and residence of W.H. Foster.     The fire was first discovered about half-past seven o’clock in the attic, through which ran two stove-pipes, at the east side of the hotel.  Mr. Morgan, supposing the chimney was afire, hastened to the rooms above, and as he opened the door leading up-stairs from the hall, flames burst out and forced him back.  An effort was made to extinguish the fire by throwing on it several pails of water, but making no progress, and seeing the building was doomed, efforts were then directed to saving whatever was possible.     By this time the alarm had spread through the medium of the tannery whistle and church bells, and a crowd was not long in gathering – men, women, and children, including invalids.     The weather was of the most disagreeable and stormy of any during the winter.  A strong west wind prevailed, accompanied with fast-falling snow, which was whirled in gusts through the streets.

Men and boys rushed into burning buildings, and out again with some article, while others threw furniture from the windows above.  Like the excited old lady of history, who threw her looking-glass from the window and carried a feather-bed down stairs, so did some of our well-meaning but excited citizens thrust delicate furniture out the upper story windows, and lugged comparatively worthless mattresses all the way downstairs.

Most of the important furniture had been removed before the building completely afire in the upper part.  It soon spread, however, and heavy rolls of black smoke and crackling flames burst from the roof, and were quickly driven eastward by the strong wind on a line with the premises of W.H. Foster.

In the meantime, the stock and furniture of Mr. Foster was being removed, and for quite a little time before the flames reached his place nearly everything of importance was got out.

The greatest exertions were now being made to wave the residence of Mrs. Farmer, only about 12 feet west of the hotel.  Wm. Foster, Jr., had thrown out carpets from the upper rooms of the Marble House over on the Farmer house, on the roof of which a number had ascended, and were desperately laboring to prevent it taking fire.  Hundreds of pails of water were poured over the carpet, from which issued clouds of steam and although the heat was fierce and almost unendurable, the mighty exerations of many workers overcame the destroying element, and the building escaped with a slight scorching.

The heat was so great as to blister paint on Whyborn’s drug store, across the street, and cracked 7 lights of glass.  At one time this was considerable danger of the building taking fire.

During the morning a raid was made on the liquors and cigars removed from the hotel, and a large number of Clevelanders were very drunk on free whiskey.

Within one hour from the starting of the fire, the buildings were a mass of smoking ruins.  The loss on the Marble House property is about $6,000, which is insured for $5,000; $3,000 on house and outbuildings; $1,500 on furniture, $500 on liquors and cigars.  Mr. Foster’s loss is somewhere about $4,000; insured for $2,500.  Mrs. Farmer’s loss is about $100; insured.

The family of Mrs. Farmer, as well as those of Mr. Morgan and Mr. Foster, desire to tender their very grateful thanks to those who so nobly labored to save their property.

Lakeside Press (Cleveland, NY), March 30, 1878

Union Glass Factory (Cleveland Historical Society)
Figure VIII – Union Glass Factory (Cleveland Historical Society)

By 1851, the Village of Cleveland was into the hay days of window glass manufacturing.  With a material interest in the Caswell & Getman glass factory and the possibility of a new manufacturing facility, the Union Glass Company, William Foster decided to become a partner in this venture.

Among other enterprises in which he was engaged was that of the manufacture of glass, which has been so many years one of the most important industries of Oswego county. He was a stockholder in and one of the managers for years of one of the glass companies of the village of Cleveland, a business which is still one of the most important among the glass manufacturing concerns of this country.[xxiii]

About 1877, Mr. Foster joined together with Cleveland resident Forris Farmer, establishing a local general merchandise store.[xxiv] Farmer and Foster had also invested together in the Union Glass Company.

With the increased prosperity came wider fields of endeavor. In partnership with Mr. Forrest Farmer a general merchandise store under the firm name of Foster and Farmer was opened and successfully operated for many years at the southeast corner of Lake and Division Streets, Cleveland, N.Y.[xxv]

Figure IX - Glass Works Postcard (Kathy Darrow)
Figure IX – Glass Works Postcard (Kathy Darrow)

Years later, after the death of Forris Farmer, Mr. Foster would not realize the profitability that his joint investments with Farmer where anticipated to bring.

Mr. Farmer, his copartner in a number of his enterprises, died and he first saw not only that the family of the deceased partner was relieved of the accumulating responsibilities, but that it had sufficient to put then beyond want.[xxvi]

Supporting the Rails

Mr. Foster was an advocate for local commerce and when the opportunity for the community to become a stop for the railways, he became an advocate for its success.

When the company was formed for the construction of a railroad direct from Oswego to New York, at first known as the “Midland”, now as the New York, Ontario & Western railroad. Senator Foster, from his intelligence, business capacity and interest in the business prosperity of this city and of his own county and locality, was selected as one of the directors of that company, and for ten or more years, in association with the late Hon. D. C. Littlejohn, and the late Hon. Cheny Ames, he devoted his energy and we may perhaps add, much of his fortune, to the construction of that great work.[xxvii]

Unfortunately, the railway investments proved to be a huge financial liability to Foster in the end.  Large sums of personal funds were invested to overcome obstacles in the railroad’s construction.

The Midland Railroad proved a colossal failure and under the stress of the panic of 1873 swept away the greater part of the fruit of his industry.[xxviii]

Political Life

Shortly after returning to Cleveland, Mr. Foster began to become active in politics.  In 1840 he was active participant in the Whig Party and around 1854, he switched to the Republican Party, shortly after its formation.

The Senator has always taken a deep interest in politics. He was formerly a Whig, and gave his first vote, in 1840, for William Henry Harrison, for President. Subsequently he sympathized strongly with the anti-slavery movement, and became what was known as an Abolitionist. Since the formation of the Republican Party he has been prominently identified with that organization.[xxix]

Mr. Foster served as the first President of the Village of Cleveland from 1857 to 1858.  He would later serve in that same roll in 1860 and again in 1872.[xxx]

Foster expanded his political career as he made a successful run for the New York State Senate, representing the 21st district from 1872-1873.

Elected by a majority of 4,130 over his Democratic opponent, he maintains the position of chairmanship over the Erection and Division of Towns and Counties and Poor Laws committees. He was also a member of the Committee on Railroads.

During his service he was Chairman of two Committees- Erection and Division of Towns and Counties, and Poor Laws. He was also a member of the Committee on Railroads and was instrumental in the passage of the laws permitting the erection of the Elevated Roads in New York City. He was also one of the Committee that investigated the notorious Tweed Ring. [xxxi]

Foster was followed by Charles Kellogg and then Benjamin Doolittle, following his previous position as Mayor of Oswego.  Foster yielded the nomination to Doolittle two years earlier, however, Foster once again set his sights on the senate seat in 1877.  Various blurbs in the Oswego and Lakeside papers indicated a strong local support for his candidacy.  For example, these blurbs were printed in the Lakeside Press in the fall of 1877:

Hon. Wm. Foster, of this village, says the Palladium, is coming into prominence as a Republican candidate for State Senator, in place of Benjamin Doolittle.  It is said that Madison County will consent to Mr. Foster, but not to Doolittle.[xxxii]

Two years ago, Ex-Senator Foster yielded the nomination to Senator Doolittle.  This fall Mr. Foster would like to be nominated.  Is not turn about fair play?  It is said that Foster is reasonably sure of the Second and Third Oswego districts. – Palladium

The people, largely irrespective of party, demand Mr. Foster, and Doolittle may as well step down and out.[xxxiii]

It’s difficult to tell if the support was exaggerated through Foster’s Oswego and Cleveland connections or if other reasons dictated a change in motivation, but by the beginning of the Republican convention, Foster had withdrawn his name for nomination.[xxxiv]

On the national political scene, the lesser known Greenback Party was building a following around 1874.  With a primary focus based around an anti-monopoly ideology, the party had established a following in late 1870s including many familiar names, such as Yale, Cummins, Talcott, App, and even William’s son.

By April of 1978, Foster, himself, took an interest in the party and by June of that same year, he became a member.[xxxv] A week later, he was selected chairman for the Constantia group, a position he would be re-elected to many times in the years to come.[xxxvi]  Several newspaper clippings indicate Foster’s active party participation.  Both he and his son would hold prominent town positions representing the Greenback party.

In 1882, the Greenback party, once again, wanted to nominate Foster for Congress.  However, by this time, he was feeling that public representation would be better served by a more youthful candidate.

Mr. Foster was selected as chairman, who made a few remarks.  Brief but stirring remarks were also made by Madison Hall, Edgarton and Sperry.  The latter gentleman closed by nominating Mr. Foster for Member of Congress.  Mr. Foster replied that he was getting too old to take an active part in politics, and desired that some younger man be selected.[xxxvii]

The Final Years

Toward the end of his life Foster endured many hardships, both financially and emotionally.

A considerable amount of money in spent in various litigations.  A rather large case involving a $50,000 mortgage settlement with creditors of the glass company took years to resolve and ended in an 1882 judgment against him totally $20,000.[xxxviii]

At this period, however, misfortunes began to lay a heavy hand upon him. The Midland Railroad proved a colossal failure and under the stress of the panic of 1873 swept away the greater part of the fruit of his industry. The Union Class Works which had been operated by an agent, either through gross mismanagement or lack of management went to the wall, and the tanning business which at one time had been so profitable and which was now in charge of his son William, was running behind.

Added to this, Mr. Farmer, his copartner in a number of his enterprises, died and he first saw not only that the family of the deceased partner was relieved of the accumulating responsibilities, but that it had sufficient to put then beyond want. Blow after blow succeeded, with years of litigation that weighed down his later life with many cares and anxieties.[xxxix]

With his children grown and his wife aging, the couple moved in with their daughter, Ellen, living in Camden at the time.  After his wife’s death in April of 1883, William migrated between his children’s homes in Camden, Cleveland and Washington D.C.[xl] On July 26, 1893, William passed after a sudden worsening of an existing illness.[xli]

St. James Episcopal Church

Figure X - Episcopal Church Postcard (Cleveland Historical Society)
Figure X – Episcopal Church Postcard (Cleveland Historical Society)

The Foster family were very much active members of the community.  In addition to their business and political contributions, they had strong spiritual roots.

[William’s] mother was evidently of a thoroughly religious nature, and no doubt trained her children in the Church of England, of which she was a member. His wife also was deeply religious, and all together it is not strange that the Episcopal Church of this country appealed to him. Originally there was none in the village of Cleveland, but services were occasionally conducted there, and when in 1867 a parish organization was effected, William was in charge of the meeting. He was elected its first senior Warden and continued in that office for many years. In time St. James Church was erected on a lot given by him. He was a constant attendant at Church services to the time of his death, and as a lay-reader conducted the services at St. James Church whenever there was no clergyman present.[xlii]

Interior of St. James Church (Postcard)
Interior of St. James Church (Postcard)

Today this church serves as the home of the Cleveland Historical Society.

In 2002, the [Cleveland Historical] society was offered the former St. James Church as its new home. The 1867 building, an entry on the New York State Registry of Historic Places and the National Register of Historic Places, was in desperate need of repairs and through the society’s efforts, on December 30, 2003, after a service of secularizing the parish church, performed by Bishop Gladstone Adamas, ownership was transferred. Spearheaded by former President Patricia Cerro-Reehil, the Cleveland Historical Society’s charter was issued on September 12, 2003 by the New York State Education Department.

Today, the society contains 95 paid members. It is the home of the Children’s Glassworks Theater, directed by Marge Thomas. It sponsors a summer camp of local youths that produces two productions a year. Additionally, the society holds monthly business meetings, separate guest speaking events, a free ice cream social and an open house. Assistance with historic or genealogical research is provided year round.[xliii]

End Notes

[i] John Salmon, Lenham St Mary Kent, photograph, July 19, 2006, Lenham, Kent,, Creative Commons.

[ii] William H. McElroy and Alex McBridge, Life Sketches of Executive Officers and Members of the Legislature of the State of New York for 1873 (Albany, NY: Weed, Parsons and Company, 1873), 67.

[iii] Rice University, comp., Genealogical information regarding the Foster and Cramp families of New York, 1740s-1890s, Americas Collection, 1811-1920 ms 518 (Houston, TX: Woodson Research Center, Rice University, 2010), 2-3, accessed April 9, 2014,

[iv], Lenham, Kent, [Page #], accessed April 6, 2014,,_Kent.

[v] Rice University, comp., Genealogical information regarding the Foster and Cramp families of New York, 1740s-1890s, Americas Collection, 1811-1920 ms 518 (Houston, TX: Woodson Research Center, Rice University, 2010), 15, accessed April 9, 2014,

[vi] Rice University, Genealogical information regarding the Foster, 21.

[vii] Village of Cleveland, Village of Cleveland Comprehensive Plan, by Charlene Weed, Introduction: Historic Overview (Cleveland, NY: n.p., 2006),

[viii] Rice University, Genealogical information regarding the Foster, 22.

[ix] Rice University, Genealogical information regarding the Foster, 25.

[x] Gary M. Comins, Shocke Hill – 9722, photograph, December 1, 2013.

[xi] Rice University, Genealogical information regarding the Foster, 22.

[xii] Rice University, Genealogical information regarding the Foster, 23.

[xiii] Rice University, Genealogical information regarding the Foster, 27.

[xiv] Rice University, Genealogical information regarding the Foster, 30.

[xv] Rice University, Genealogical information regarding the Foster, 31.

[xvi] Oswego Daily News, “Hon. William Foster,” Oswego Daily News (Oswego, NY), July 28, 1893, Obituaries, 5.

[xvii] Rice University, Genealogical information regarding the Foster, 31-32.

[xviii] Village of Cleveland, Village of Cleveland Comprehensive Plan, by Charlene Weed, Introduction: Historic Overview (Cleveland, NY: n.p., 2006),

[xix] Rice University, Genealogical information regarding the Foster, 33.

[xx] Lakeside Press (Cleveland, NY), May 11, 1878, n.p.

[xxi] Lakeside Press (Cleveland, NY), June 15, 1878, n.p.

[xxii] Lakeside Press (Cleveland, NY), June 30, 1883, n.p.

[xxiii] Oswego Daily News, “Hon. William Foster,” Oswego Daily News (Oswego, NY), July 28, 1893, Obituaries, 5.

[xxiv] Village of Cleveland, Village of Cleveland Comprehensive Plan, by Charlene Weed, Introduction: Historic Overview (Cleveland, NY: n.p., 2006),

[xxv] Rice University, Genealogical information regarding the Foster, 33.

[xxvi] Rice University, Genealogical information regarding the Foster, 37.

[xxvii] Oswego Daily News, “Hon. William Foster,” Oswego Daily News (Oswego, NY), July 28, 1893, Obituaries, 5.

[xxviii][xxviii] Rice University, Genealogical information regarding the Foster, 36.

[xxix] William H. McElroy and Alex McBridge, Life Sketches of Executive Officers and Members of the Legislature of the State of New York for 1873 (Albany, NY: Weed, Parsons and Company, 1873), 68.

[xxx] Crisfield Johnson, History of Oswego County New York with Illustrations and Biographical Sketches (Philadelphia, PA: L.H. Everts & Company, 1877), 291.

[xxxi] William H. McElroy and Alex McBridge, Life Sketches of Executive Officers and Members of the Legislature of the State of New York for 1873 (Albany, NY: Weed, Parsons and Company, 1873), 68.

[xxxii] Lakeside Press (Cleveland, NY), August 4, 1877, n.p.

[xxxiii] Lakeside Press (Cleveland, NY), September 15, 1877, n.p.

[xxxiv] Lakeside Press (Cleveland, NY), September 29, 1877, n.p.

[xxxv] Lakeside Press, “Greenback Union,” Lakeside Press (Cleveland, NY), April 13, 1878, n.p.
Lakeside Press, “Greenback Notes,” Lakeside Press (Cleveland, NY), June 15, 1878, n.p.

[xxxvi] Lakeside Press, “Using Greenback Massing at Constantia,” Lakeside Press (Cleveland, NY), June 29, 1878, n.p.

[xxxvii] Lakeside Press, “Greenback-Laborer Congressional Convention,” Lakeside Press (Cleveland, NY), July 20, 1882, n.p.

[xxxviii] Lakeside Press (Cleveland, NY), July 3, 1880, n.p.
Lakeside Press, “Local Pickings,” Lakeside Press (Cleveland, NY), January 28, 1882, n.p.
Lakeside Press (Cleveland, NY), December 30, 1882, n.p.

[xxxix] Rice University, Genealogical information regarding the Foster, 36-37.

[xl] Rice University, Genealogical information regarding the Foster, 37.

[xli] Rice University, Genealogical information regarding the Foster, 38.

[xlii] Rice University, Genealogical information regarding the Foster, 35-36.

[xliii] “History,” Cleveland Historical Society, accessed April 27, 2014,


  1. Hi Gary
    William H. Foster 1813-1893.

    I have just found the Northshore Notes Web site, quite by chance when researching my own surname. What a wonderful and detailed study by the Cleveland Historical Society.
    My GG Grandfather was Edward Nowers (1781-1867) the youngest of six children all born at Brambles Farm House, Wye, Kent, to Thomas Nowers (1739-1804) and Elizabeth (Sutton) Nowers (1737-1811).
    One of Edwards sisters was Elizabeth born of the 4th of July 1772 and baptised at St. Gregory and St. Martin, Wye on the 27th of that month. As you know she married a John Foster on the 7th of February 1793 at Lenham, Kent. Their son William (1813-1893) was the 14th of their 15 children and is the subject of a wonderfully detailed study on the CHS Website under your name. Sometime ago I found some of the information you detail but I also have a record of both John and Elizabeth’s ancestors which I would be happy to pass on to you.
    If you are interested could you advise me of yours or the CHS E-mail address which I could use.

    Best wishes.

    Tony Nowers

    Anthony Derek Nowers
    1, Welcomes Cottages
    251, Hayes Lane
    Kenley, Surrey
    CR8 5HN
    United Kingdom.


  2. Was the town of Cleveland named for a Cleveland family? If so, when did that family live there, please? I have Information my GG grandfather Lewis Wales Cleveland’s family lived in Oneida county or near Onondaga Lake around 1880’s. Possibly they had a cigar business. I enjoyed your posted article on Mr. Foster. Thank you, Frances (Kay) McLaughlin great grand daughter of Lenna May Cleveland Britton

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