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Biography of Hull Foster
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Hull Foster, only surviving son of Zadoc Foster, was born in Sudbury, Rutland county, Vermont, January 23, 1796, and came to the northwestern territory, with his father’s family, when a few months old. His first visit to Athens was in 1804 or 1805. He came to visit Dr. Leonard Jewett’s family, and traveled on horseback from Belpre, there being no visible road, but only a horse path which crossed the river at the present site of Coolville. There was a sort of ferry at this point. At that time one Strickland kept public house in a log building, on the lot now occupied by Judge Barker, and Joseph B. Miles had a small lot of goods in a room of the same house. Timothy Wilkins had a cabin near where General John Brown now lives, and ran a little distillery in the hollow close by. Esquire Henry Bartlett lived in a cabin back of the college green, near the present site of Mr. J. L. Kessinger’s house. There was a horse mill on the point of the hill, a short distance northeast of town, on the Bingham farm. Mr. Foster, when a boy, drove the horse at this mill; the usual terms of grinding were, that parties should bring their own horse and pay onefourth of the corn as toll. In 1809 his father removed with his family to Athens. In the interval a few brick houses had been built; Dr. Eliphaz Perkins had built on the Ballard corner, and Esquire Henry Bartlett on Congress street, nearly opposite Dr. Wilson’s present residence; these, with Abbott’s tavern, the academy building, near Nelson Van Vorhes’ present residence, and a school house just east of where the Presbyterian church now stands, were, it is thought, all the brick buildings here in z 809. When about seventeen, Mr. Foster took up the trade of shoemaking-to use his own expression, “just as a cow does kicking-in her own head.” Between 1816 and i 8-20 he traveled with his kit on his back, through the west and southwest, visiting the present states of Indiana, Kentucky, Tennessee, etc. In 1821 he returned to Athens, resumed his trade, and built the house where Mr. Abner Cooley now lives. Soon after he married his first wife, a daughter of Mr. Ira Carpenter. Since then he has steadily adhered to his trade, at which he has worked for more than fifty years, and still works some, though under no necessity to do so. There is one family in the county for whom he has made shoes for five generations. He has been twice married-his second wife was a daughter of Mr. William Brown, of Lee township- and is now a widower. A man of strong sense, strict integrity, and marked force of character, his life and virtues are known and read of all his neighbors.
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