W. Foster and Enoch Foster, Jr.
Maine: A History (1919)
Enoch Foster, the third owner of the Society’s O’Neil Robinson House,
was born in Newry, Maine, 10 May 1839, the son of Enoch and Persis Swan
Foster. He was educated in Newry schools, Gould Academy, the
Maine State Seminary at Lewiston, and at Bowdoin College. He left
Bowdoin to enter the Civil War, becoming a second lieutenant in Company
H, Thirteenth Regiment of Maine Volunteer Infantry, mustered by Colonel
(later General) Neal Dow of Portland, the famed temperance
advocate. Foster gained rapid promotion, becoming a first
lieutenant, serving in the forces assigned to the Department of the
Gulf under General Benjamin F. Butler, and was later appointed provost
marshal by General N. P. Banks. In this capacity, he served for
two years, resigning later to take part in the Red River Expedition,
where he was recognized for his conspicuous gallantry. After
three years of active service, he was honorably discharged and returned
to resume his abandoned studies. By a vote taken in the academic
council at Bowdoin, he was permitted to graduate in the class of 1864,
his role in the service of his country being taken in lieu of the
scholastic work for that period of time. With his college
education secured, he began to prepare for a legal career by reading in
the law office of his cousin, Hon. Reuben Foster, of Waterville.
From there, he went to the Albany Law School, receiving the degree of
Bachelor of Law in 1865. That same year, he was admitted to the
New York bar, and subsequently that of Maine, but soon decided to
return to his native state and set up a practice in Bethel.
While he was in Waterville, he met and married there on 3 June 1864,
Adeline Owen Lowe, daughter of Ivory and Jane (Walker) Lowe of that
city. Rev. Dr. David N. Sheldon of Waterville performed the
ceremony. She died 12 June 1872 at the age of twenty-nine.
He married second on 3 June 1873, Sarah Walker Chapman, born in Bethel,
1 February 1844, the daughter of Hon. Robert A. and Frances (Carter)
Chapman of Bethel, who had grown up in the Society’s O’Neil Robinson
House. Rev. Charles Morse of Bethel officiated at this marriage
ceremony. She died on 28 March 1932 at the age of eighty-eight,
surviving her husband by nearly twenty years. By his first wife,
he had a son, John Dorr Foster, born in Bethel 15 August 1866 and died
there on 2 April 1872. With his second wife, he had a second son,
Robert Chapman Foster, who was born in Bethel on 19 April 1880.
No sooner had Enoch Foster settled in Bethel, but his promise and
ability, in addition to his powers of clear thinking and natural
eloquence, led to his election in 1867 as county attorney, and he was
re-elected to that post in 1870. Six years later he won a term in
the State Senate (1873-74). In 1884, he was appointed by Governor
Frederick Robie as an associate justice of the Maine Supreme and
Judicial Court for a seven year term, which was renewed in 1891 by
Governor Burleigh for a similar period. After the close of his
second term of office in 1898, Judge Foster retired from the bench and
returned to Bethel. The following year, he formed a partnership
with Hon. Oscar S. Hersey, opening an office in Portland which became
known as Foster & Hersey and later came to be recognized as a
leading firm throughout the State. After the retirement of his
partner, O. S. Hersey, he formed a partnership with his son, Robert C.
Foster, and was actively engaged in that practice until his death.
Although a lifelong Republican, Foster, who was present at the 1912
Republican National Convention in Chicago, became so enamored with
Theodore Roosevelt that he left the party to become a Progressive and
worked for the former President’s election. Foster was even
touted as a possible U.S. Senate candidate for the Progressive Party,
but that nomination eventually went to former Governor Edwin C.
Judge Foster took an active part in the social and fraternal life of
the community in which he made his home. He held membership in a
large number of organizations including the Bar Association of
Cumberland County, the Bowdoin Alumni Association, Loyal Legion of
Maine, and Brown Post: Grand Army of the Republic in Bethel.
Other organizations in which he had membership included the Masonic
Order, Knights Templar, Nobles of the Mythic Shrine, and the
Independent Order of Odd Fellows.
Enoch Foster, Jr., died on 15 November 1913 in Portland at the age of
seventy-four, and is buried there in Evergreen Cemetery alongside his