Some Foster family photos from early times (at least the 1960s)
Me as a newborn
A family group, maybe taken Grandpa and Evelyn’s (Foster) in Mt. Vernon, Illinois
A family group outside our house on Shannon Avenue, Athens, Ohio. I may have been wearing my white Go-Go boots, (a coveted item).
My mother dressed up for some occasion, in the late 1960s.
My sister Tracy and me (Stephanie), dressed up for the same occasion. I remember this seafoam dress, that I loved, and for being the little sister, I felt like I got the best of the deal that time, not liking my sister’s party dress as well as my own.
The first street my family lived on in Athens (Ohio) was Grosvenor. The house was on a hillside, and had underneath, where the structure was built to overhang—so the house would sit more or less level—soft loamy dirt, that was always dry and made a place to play.
Since my grandparents had worked in the Mount Vernon, Illinois, public school system, we had a lot of old schoolbooks around the house. By the time I was in first grade, where kids began learning to read, I’d had a head start; and a lot of the reading I did was Dick and Jane. My first grade class had a Dick and Jane workbook; the characters in those days still in use for teaching.
They way we played pretend games, we had to choose who to identify with. I don’t recall if we specifically played Dick and Jane. I know we played Star Trek, a cool show that came on after bedtime, that we had to beg to watch. (My sister liked Chekov, and I had to be Captain Kirk, though I liked Riley, who was barely a character—because we had childish rules that two of us couldn’t like the same actor…but, readers, Mark Goddard all the way on Lost in Space, even though my sister claimed him. She let me have Colonel Foster on UFO. And note, the women on sci-fi shows didn’t get to do much, so it’s unsurprising in imagination we would rather have been the crew members allowed to explore planets.)
At any rate, in this hierarchy, I was the little sister, Sally. One of our cats of those days was named Puff.
And, coming full circle, I can recall marveling that the name pronounced “Grovner” could be spelled the way it was—but I wasn’t school age during the year or two we lived on that street. I think my sister was the one who could read the sign, and that was how I got the information, though I remember looking up at it and seeing the name in letters.
Here’s a page from one of my favorite books from childhood, Piet Worm’s Three Little Horses, a somewhat odd story about an artist who befriends horses, and takes them into town dressed as women—but a story terrifically illustrated.
Books in the Athens Middle School library
Favorite books some of you may remember. The first grouping were my own discoveries, and the second, books my sister read first and recommended. They are all look-upable, so I’ve written very brief descriptions of the plots.
Why Not Join the Giraffes, Hope Campbell, 1970
Girl tries to impress boy by adopting rebellious look.
The Whirling Shapes, Joan North, 1968
Girl has power to stop mysterious force.
The Apple Stone, Nicholas Stuart Gray, 1965
Siblings find magic object, adventures ensue.
The Power of Stars, Louise Lawrence, 1972
Visit by alien force causes havoc for teenage friends.
The Ghost of Opalina, Peggy Bacon, 1967
Family is aided through generations by cat’s ghost.
Campion Towers, John and Patricia Beatty, 1965
During English Civil War, girl on Roundhead side has cavalier adventures.
A Candle in Her Room, Ruth M. Arthur, 1966
Haunted doll causes trouble for newly arrived family.
My Darling My Hamburger, Paul Zindel, 1969
Pregnant teen gets abortion.
Knee-Deep in Thunder, Sheila Moon, 1967
Girl travels to tiny world, where her friends are insects.
This is an easy snack, just two cups of raw almonds, one tablespoon of mayonnaise, and 1/4 teaspoon of black pepper. Put the nuts in a bowl, stir in the mayonnaise and pepper until they’re all well-coated, then spread them on a baking sheet, and bake at 350 degrees. When they begin to brown, and smell a little like french fries, they’re done.
Today’s story is about TV movies, back when the movie-of-the-week was a big deal.
My sister Tracy and her friends were older, so they always had something they were into that came to me, the little sister trailing along, as sort of mysterious, since I was never there at the first discovery of it. Tracy was in middle school two years before I was, and in high school two years before I was.
So her gang knew this movie was going to be on TV, or they had all read that particular book. They were involved in Ohio University theater for a few years, as something like junior groupies. I don’t know who it was that opened the door for them; probably one of the sisters of her best friend from those days. One year the musical Carousel was a fascination, and the “older” man playing Billy Bigelow (a college student in his twenties) was a big crush. I think I saw him once (I picture him looking like Hugh Laurie with the hair of Art Garfunkel), but I don’t remember if I saw the show.
We were all singing “If I Loved You” and “What’s the Use of Wondering”, around the house.
A TV movie we were excited about seeing was called “A Howling in the Woods”. It aired in 1971, and starred Barbara Eden and Larry Hagman, also John Rubenstein, who I thought was very cute (look up his youthful pictures and you’ll agree), when he was in the TV show “Family”. I think, as to “Howling”, I never saw the whole thing, probably due to bedtime, but I remember the ads for this one, with Barbara Eden getting out of a car wearing a red hat, very glamorous.
“Brian’s Song”, also 1971, the football/cancer story starring Billy Dee Williams and James Caan. Truly a weeper, and we girls loved all the poignant things of the era, like the song “Honey” by Bobby Goldsboro, (1968), or “Seasons in the Sun”, Terry Jacks (1974).
Below are two of my grandmother’s Brownie snapshots from the 1920s, taken on the back streets of Mount Vernon, Illinois. I don’t know who the subjects are, but both compositions have a sort of existential quality.
My G3 grandfather [Ramsey line], Silas Thomas Gaither (1832-1862) was married to Mary Marinda Clark (1842-?), who was the daughter of James Jordan Clark (1818-1897). James Jordan’s wife was Elizabeth Brewer. His own father was Edmond Clark, whose wife was Catherine Crane. The family at that time lived in Rutherford Co., NC.
From Lineage Book, The National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution, 1906
Under listing for Mrs. Florence D. Foster Crowell, of Indianapolis, Indiana:
(Mrs. Crowell would be a connection, not in the direct line, but the common ancestor, William Foster II, was my direct ancestor.)
William Foster II, 1746-1809, served as corporal and sergeant of minutemen in Capt. Josiah Wood’s company, which marched on the Lexington Alarm. He was born in Walpole, died in Worcester County, Mass. [married to Abigail Chapin 1748-1786]
William was the father of Jonathan Foster, who was the father of Jared Foster, who was my G3 grandfather.
And, a few announcements from the year 1820, transcriptions I make to give family tree aficionados a taste of what their ancestors might have been influenced by, or talking about.
The Hillsborough Recorder (NC) August 16, 1820
The governor of Virginia offers a reward of $500.00 for George Hamblet, who committed a deliberate murder on a negro man, his slave, accompanied by circumstances of the most savage cruelty.
It is said, that the following gives the respective ages of the surviving political patriarchs who signed the Declaration of Independence:
William Floyd, of New York….87
John Adams, of Massachusetts….85
Thomas Jefferson, of Virginia….83
Charles Carroll, of Maryland….82
Gentlemen are requested not to kill a belled buzzard, which is ranging about this neighbourhood. It was belled at Yankee Hall in May last.
William W. Hall
Alexandria Gazette and Daily Advertiser, July 22, 1820
RETURNS her sincerest thanks to the public for the liberal encouragement her late deceased husband received in the above business for this twenty years, and informs his friends and the public in general, that she still continues the above business at the former stand, where every attention will be paid that formerly was, to render ample satisfaction to those Ladies and Gentlemen that will honor me with their custom, as she has a large family to support, and through no other means.
PROPOSALS will be received at Fort Washington until June 20th for supplying the troops and laborers with FRESH BEEF twice a week for one year.
R. B. Lee, Lt. U.S.A.
Those ladies and gentlemen who witnessed the great exertions of Mr. and Master Napey to entertain them by the ascension of their balloon, and who were prevented by the crowd from approaching the old gentleman to contribute their mite to remunerate him, are respectfully invited to call at his place of abode, at the corner of Prince and Fairfax, to enable him to proceed to his friends at New York.
Mr. Napey takes this occasion to return his thanks to the citizens of Alexandria for their great kindness and liberality to him during his stay in town, and regrets that some untoward circumstances prevented him from fully executing his plan as it regarded his balloons yesterday.
Most of my growing-up years, my family lived on Shannon Avenue in Athens, Ohio. Early on, when my parents first bought the house, a little cache of some former owner’s WWII souvenirs was found in the attic. My sister got to add to her things an “Aussie” hat, a cool article to play dress-up with. I got to keep these two items, the soldier’s campaign medal and a 1945 franc—a significant issue, after the country got its own government back. I would agree with anyone who feels we should not have had these things to play with, but seventy-four years on, I don’t know if the rightful descendants can ever be located.
Above, my cats at play, and a little accompanying music.
This is my latest book of poetry, which you can get on Kindle or as a paperback.
My Foster ancestors settled in Massachusetts, some in the town of Salem. I don’t know that I have any direct descendancy from those involved in this famous event. But the Foster name comes up. As the story below relates, Mary Osgood was charged with tormenting a Rose Foster; also among the victims of this early hysteria was an Ann Foster, who died in jail. I feel the topic is worth a few analytical paragraphs. After all, the victims are often casually referred to as the “Salem witches”.
There is a strange sort of transmogrification, where feminism and political correctness join to color the story. Witches somehow, within our culture, much fueled by TV shows and books, are used to represent a kind of female power. The idea of the witch becomes iconic. At the same time, the notion of a protected class, a marginalized minority (and American history is rich in the marginalizing of minorities), gets woven in.
And what happens to justice?
An important lesson, for the times we live in, falls by the wayside. These people were not witches, a thing that doesn’t exist (while we make allowance for adopted religious practices). So we can’t “champion” their cause, by superimposing onto it pop culture and political creeds, resulting in an odd presumption of guilt. Our ancestors would not have wished to be told, “You’re a witch, and that’s okay!” They would have asked that their innocence be shouted from the rooftops.
Thus, the salient point, about application of the legal process: the case was not prosecutable. It would have been necessary to determine the validity of the charges first, before undertaking to bring them. The trials preceded on a circular basis: People made accusations against individuals; due to those accusations, the accused were brought to trial, to have the charges “proven” by the testimony of the accusers. There is a present danger of the same sorts of proceedings; and a bandying about, lately, of the term “witch hunt”. The fantasies the Salem accusers indulged were a product of those things culturally available to them; nothing unimaginable occurred, even in their heads.
So let’s bear this in mind—in the world of fiction, witches can be admirable characters, and carry the role of empowered feminist icon, or beleaguered minority, or both. The accused of Salem were ordinary people, innocent of the charges made against them, and murdered by the system.
The examination and confession (September 8, 1692) of Mary Osgood, wife of Capt. Osgood, of Andover, taken before John Hawthorne and Majesties’ justices. She confesses, that about eleven years ago, when she was in a melancholy state and condition, she used to walk abroad in her orchard; and upon a certain time she saw the appearance of a cat at the end of the house, which she yet thought was a real cat. However, at that time it diverted her from praying to God, and instead thereof she prayed to the devil, about which time she made covenant with the devil, who, as a black man, came to her and presented her with a book, upon which she laid her finger, and that left a red spot; and that upon her sinning the devil told her he was her god and that she should serve and worship him; and she believes she consented to it. She says further, that about two years ago she was carried through the air in company with Deacon Frye’s wife, Ebenezer Barker’s wife, and Goody Tyler, to Five Mile Pond, where she was baptized by the devil, who dipped her face in water, made her renounce her former baptism, and told her she must be his, soul and body, forever, and that she must serve him, which she promised to do.
She says the renouncing of her first baptism was after her dipping, and that she was transported again through the air in company with the aforenamed persons, in the same manner as she went, and believes they were carried upon a pole.
Q. How many persons were on the pole?
A. As I have said before; viz.: four persons and no more, but whom she had named above. She confesses she has afflicted three persons: John Sawdy, Martha Sprague and Rose Foster; and that she did it by pinching her bedclothes and giving consent, the devil should do it in her shape, and that the devil could not do it without her consent. She confesses the afflicting persons in the court by the glance of the eye. She says, as she was coming down to Salem to be examined, she and the rest of the company stopped at Mr. Phillip’s to refresh themselves up, and the afflicted persons, being behind them on the road, came just as she was mounting again, and were then afflicted and cried out upon her, so that she was forced to stay until they were all passed, and said she only looked that way towards them.
Q. Do you know the devil can take the shape of an innocent person and afflict?
A. I believe he cannot.
Q. Who taught you this way of witchcraft?
A. Satan; and that he taught her abundance of satisfaction and quietness in her future state, but never performed anything, and that she has lived more miserably and more discontented than ever before. She confesses further that she herself, in company with Goody Parker, Goody Tyler and Goody Dean, had a meeting at Moses Tyler’s house last Monday night, to afflict, and that she and Goody Dean carried the shape of Mr. Dean, the minister, between them, to make persons believe that Mr. Dean was afflicted.
Q. What hindered you from accomplishing what you intended?
A. The Lord would not suffer it so to be; that the devil should afflict in an innocent person’s shape.
Q. Have you been at any other witch meetings?
A. I know nothing thereof, and I shall answer in the presence of God and his people, but said that the black man stood before her and told her that what she had confessed was a lie; notwithstanding she said that what she had confessed was true, and thereto put her hand. Her husband, being present, was asked if he judged his wife to be any way discomposed. He answered that, having lived with her so long, he doth not judge her to be any way discomposed, but has cause to believe what she has said is true. When Mistress Osgood was first called, she afflicted Martha Sprague and Rose Foster by the glance of her eyes, and recovered them out of their fits by the touch of her hand. Mary (Foster) Lacey and Betty Johnson and Hannah Part [probably Post] saw Mistress Osgood afflicting Sprague and Foster. The said Hannah Post and Mary Lacey and Betty Johnson, Jun., and Rose Foster and Mary Richardson were afflicted by Mistress Osgood in the time of their examination and recovered by her touching of their hands.
‘I’ underwritten, being appointed by authority to take this examination, do testify upon oath, taken in court, that this is a true copy of, the substance of it, to the best of my knowledge, January 5, 1692-3. The above Mary Osgood was examined before their majesty’s justices of the peace in Salem.
John Higginson, Just. Pac.
Source: Foster Genealogy, Frederick Clifton Pierce, 1899.
(Mary Osgood was released, and died in 1710; the John Hawthorne mentioned, was the G2 grandfather of author Nathaniel Hawthorne.)