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Ancestral Heroes, Your Ancestors, Fathers, Mothers, Grandfathers, Grandmothers, Uncles, Aunts, Friends, Who Served in the Civil War, Revolutionary War, War of 1812, World War I, World War II, Korean Conflict, Vietnam War, Gulf War.... and defended our freedom.
Seymour Foster. Lansing and the state of Michigan will look in vain for a stronger or higher-minded representative than Seymour Foster. Aside from his personal worth and accomplishments, there is much of interest attached to his genealogy, which betokens lines of sterling worth and prominent identification with American history for many generations. He was born at Ann Arbor, Michigan. July 1, 1845. His father, Theodore Foster, was born at Foster, Rhode Island, in 1812. The grandfather, Theodore Foster, from whom the village took its name, was for many years closely identified with the colonial history of New England and held many honorable and responsible positions, among which was that of United States senator from Rhode Island, from 1791 to 1803. The father of Seymour Foster came to Michigan in 1829. From 1837 to 1845 he was editor of the Signal of Liberty, an Abolition paper, at Ann Arbor, and subsequently he became one of the editors of the Free Democrat, published in Detroit. In 1845 he removed with his family to Scio, Washtenaw county, and engaged in general merchandising. In 1855 he was appointed by Governor Bingham to the office of building commissioner for the state reform school at Lansing. Upon the completion of that institution in 1856-57 he was made its superintendent, and in September, 1856, brought his family to Lansing. This position he finally resigned after an effective administration. In 1864 he edited the State Republican of Lansing, but owing to gradually failing health he was obliged to give up all active work, having been a victim of tuberculosis for the previous six years. He was an active, earnest supporter of the Union cause throughout the Civil war. His eldest son, Charles T., having been killed at the Battle of Fair Oaks, Virginia, in 1862 and with his son Seymour still in the army, it was his daily prayer that his life might be prolonged to see the successful close of the war and the return of his son Seymour. His prayer was answered and he died December 27, 1865. Seymour Foster was eleven years old when the family came to Lansing, prior to which time his schooling advantages had been limited to that usually given in early days, in the "Little Red Schoolhouse." Upon coming to Lansing he entered the private school of Misses A. C. and D. C. Rogers, which was then located immediately west of where the Downey House now stands, in a two-story frame building which had formerly been a hotel, and known as the Ohio house. After three years of schooling he entered the drug store of 1. H. & H. D. Bartholomew as a clerk. The store was located on ground now occupied by the Prudden building. Lansing at this time had no railroad or telegraph nearer than Jackson, and obtained its daily news when the stage arrived from that city late in the afternoon, bringing the Detroit papers. It came to be a habit of our citizens during those stressful days of the Civil war to assemble in front of the bookstore of Wm. M. Carr, located where the State Savings Bank now stands, and await the arrival of the stage with the news. The gathering would then call for someone to read the news and the lot usually fell on Seymour Foster, who would mount a drygoods box and read the news aloud to the assembly. In 1863, having arrived at the age of eighteen years, he enlisted in Company B, Second United States Sharpshooters, commonly known as Berdan's Sharpshooters, which was attached to the First brigade, Third division, Second corps, Army of the Potomac. His initiation was the Battle of the Wilderness, and from that through to Lee's surrender at Appomattox he was never off duty for a day, having participated in thirty-seven general engagements and skirmishes. He was slightly wounded several times, never seriously, and on July 17, 1865, he, with the little remnant of his company, was mustered out and discharged at Detroit. In 1871 he married Mary L. Woodworth, daughter of George R. Woodworth, a pioneer shoe merchant of Lansing, founder of the business now conducted by his grandson, H. P. Woodworth. Seymour Foster has always taken a lively interest in all political and civil affairs and is one of the best-known men in Ingham county. Since 1871 his business has been dealing in real estate. In political matters he is a Republican and has served as chairman of the city and county committees several times. In 1873 he was elected city clerk and was re-elected in 1874. In 1876 he was elected city treasurer and he was re-elected in 1877. In 1888 he was appointed postmaster by President Harrison. In 1895 he was representative in the state legislature. In 1897 President McKinley appointed him postmaster, which position he held for seventeen years. He is an active member of Charles T. Foster Post, G. A. R., named after his brother, who was the first man to enlist and the first to be killed in action from Lansing. Four children were born to Mr. and Mrs. Foster: Charles W. and Walter S. are law partners; Mrs. Gertrude McEwing resides in Chicago, and Theodore G. is manager of the T. G. Foster Company, Lansing.