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William Lawrence Foster, a well-known lawyer of Concord, was born at Westminster, Vt., June 1, 1823, son of John and Sophia (Willard) Foster. His grandfather, Edmund Foster, a native of Reading, Mass., graduated from Yale College about the time of the breaking out of the Revolutionary War, and subsequently took part in the battles of Lexington and Bunker Hill. He was settled as minister over one parish in Littleton, Mass., for forty-seven years; and he died in that town in the seventy-sixth year of his age. He married Phebe, daughter of the Rev. William Lawrence, of Lincoln, Mass., and reared a family of thirteen children. Three or four of the older sons served in the War of 1812. John, the youngest son, who was born in Littleton, Mass., went subsequently to Westminster, Vt., and thence to Keene, N.H., when his son William was but two years old. He kept a store in Keene for many years, served as Sheriff of the county and as Register of Deeds, and died at the age of fifty-six. His wife, Sophia, a daughter of Josiah Willard, became the mother of three children: William L., the subject of this sketch; Sophia, who died in childhood; and Susan, who is the widow of Frank G. Littlefield, and resides at Exeter, N.H.
William L. Foster was educated in the district schools of Keene and at the academics of Walpole and Hancock, N.H. He began the study of law at Keene, and subsequently attended the Harvard Law School at Cambridge, Mass. He first opened an office in Keene, where he remained until 1853. For four years he served as Postmaster and for about five years as State Reporter. Since 1853 he has resided in Concord. From 1849 to 1853 he was Clerk of the New Hampshire Senate. He was a member of the legislature in 1862-63, and he also served on the staff of Governor Dinsmore. In 1869 he was appointed Judge of the Supreme Court, and held it until his resignation in 1881. He has been a Republican ever since the formation of that party, and he cast his first Presidential vote for James K. Polk in 1844. He is a member of the Episcopal church, is popular socially, and belongs to Blazing Star Lodge, F. & A. M., of Concord.
On January 13, 1853, Mr. Foster married Harriet M. Perkins, daughter of Hamilton Perkins, who was for many years Judge of the Probate Court of Merrimack County. By her he is the father of the following children: Elizabeth F., now the widow of Edgar H. Woodman, formerly Mayor of Concord; Mary Bartlett, who became the wife of Lieutenant William A. Marshall, United States Navy; William H., one of the masters of St. Paul’s School at Concord; and Roger Elliott, who resides in Webster, N.H., and is at the present time a member of the legislature. Mr. Foster takes a keen interest in all matters pertaining to the welfare of his adopted city, in which he is highly esteemed as a useful and high-minded citizen.