AMHERSTBURG FREEEDOM MUSEUM
The Foster Family Part 1 – The Entrepreneur
Among Amherstburg’s earliest Black residents is Levi Foster which is why this month’s family history will highlight the Foster Family. Levi Foster was born in Stark County, Ohio on March 29, 1811, and later moved to Perrsyburg, Ohio (a known stop on the Underground Railroad), before he and his family moved to Amherstburg in 1838. Levi worked as a plasterer and innkeeper until he opened his own business circa 1842. He owned several businesses in Amherstburg including a livery stable on Apsley Street (now Sandwich St.) and this business did so well that Foster started a stage coach business which was in operation during the 1850s. According to one advertisement in the Amherstburg Echo, its route began at Mr. Marie’s Tavern in Amherstburg at 8am on Monday and Saturday mornings and from Mr. Beeman’s Hotel in Windsor at 9pm on the same days. This was in addition to operating a hotel from 1848 to 1873 and also a tavern in Amherstburg, which closed for an interesting reason. Levi Foster attended a public debate that was held at the local Sons of Temperance Hall, which resolved that “the Slave Holder is better than a tavern keeper.” At the debate, Henry Botsford, son of Daniel Botsford, spoke to the affirmative side and succeeded in winning the debate. At the time, the temperance movement was very influential, encouraging people to moderate their drinking or stop altogether. As a result, Foster, who was previously enslaved, put a notice on his closed tavern that stated that he would not allow himself to be perceived as worse than a slaveholder. Clearly, Levi Foster was a man of integrity.
Following the closure of his tavern, Foster continued his livery business and accumulated valuable real estate, eventually owning several houses and farms in Amherstburg. By 1861 he also had livestock that was valued at $1,000, in addition to seven carriages worth $7,000 and forty-four acres of land. Foster also owned several houses and lots on south George Street.
Levi Foster was also involved in the community, as is evident in his participation in a General Convention that was held in Amherstburg in 1853. This convention brought together delegates from the US and Canada to Amherstburg to discuss issues such as agriculture, temperance and education. Among those in attendance were Josiah Henson, who was elected chairman, Henry Bibb, and Levi Foster. Levi was also active in anti-slavery debates and chaired at least one anti-slavery gathering in Amherstburg in 1846. He also assisted in the organization of the True Band Society in Amherstburg which was created to assist freedom seekers in Canada.
According to Levi’s obituary from the Amherstburg Echo “after farming for twenty-four years he learned the plastering trade, and came to Amherstburg in 1838. Here he followed his trade for ten years, and then started the first livery stable in town, and ran a daily line of stages between Amherstburg and Windsor. About eighteen months since two of his sons succeed him in the livery business and he moved to his farm where he died. His first wife, who was a daughter of David Waring of Coshocton, Ohio, died in 1855, and left him four sons and five daughters. All of the sons and two daughters survive him. Mr. Foster became a member of the Disciple Church, and has continued so ever since, and bore his last illness with meekness and resignation. He was a peaceable citizen and was respected by all who knew him. His funeral on Sunday last was largely attended.”
As mentioned in his obituary, Levi Foster married more than once. His first marriage was to Elizabeth Waring and his second marriage was to Lucy Harris. We’ll discuss his first marriage first. Levi and Elizabeth married on January 8, 1835 in Coshocton County, Ohio and had nine children, but sadly two (girls) passed at birth. Their remaining children include David Waring, George H., James W., M. Louisa, Elizabeth, Sarah and Levi Wellington.
According to documents from the Museum’s Foster family binder, David Waring was born on September 26, 1836 in Perrysburg, Ohio, and according to his January 1897 obituary “shortly after his parents moved to Amherstburg. He left here [Amherstburg] in 1882, for Natchez [, Mississippi], where he has since resided. He leaves a wife and two children to mourn his loss.” Unfortunately, there were no available documents that name his wife and children.
Waring’s brother, George H., was born on July 3, 1838 in Ohio and he married Sarah J. Smith, the daughter of Captain James A. Smith and Mary Underwood. George H. and his brother James W. also continued their father Levi’s livery stable business after he passed away. Advertisements for their business can be found in the Amherstburg Echo and one ad from April 30, 1875 says “FOSTER & BROTHER’S Livery Stables – Apsley Street, near Richmond, Amherstburg – All parties requiring horses for hire can obtain the best in town, with stylish Buggies or Cutters at their stables. Commercial travellers supplied with fast and reliable horses and good buggies or wagons on short notice. All visiting this town who require anything in this line will do well to call on FOSTER & BRO.”
George H. and Sarah had at least seven children: George H. Jr., Waring, Philo Smith/Smithie, Maud, Evelyn, Madeline and Sarah. Their children will be discussed shortly, but first a bit more about George H. and Sarah. George H. also worked as a porter on the Great Lakes fleet, and the Amherstburg Echo mentions that in April 1895, George H. worked as a steward on the steamer ‘State of Michigan,’ while in August 1898 “Mrs. George H. Foster left on Wednesday morning for Port Stanley to visit a week with Mr. Foster who is steward on the steamer Flora.” When his wife Sarah (Smith) sadly passed in 1899, George H. stopped working in this profession and was left to solely care for their children on their farm.
In Sarah’s 1899 obituary found in the Amherstburg Echo it says “This township suffered a keen and distinct loss on Thursday last, in the death of Mrs. George H. Foster. The deceased lady was widely known and her many estimable qualities endeared her to a large circle of friends … The funeral was held on Sunday, and was one of the largest seen for sometime. Services were conducted in the First Baptist church, by Rev. J.H. Holt, pastor assisted by Rev. W. T. Artis, pastor of the A.M.E. church, and Rev. W. Dickey, of Chicago. The church was crowded to the doors and many stood outside listening to the very impressive services … Mrs. Foster was born Jan. 12th, 1854, and so was 45 years 2 months of age at her death. She was one of a family of ten, being a daughter of Capt. James A. Smith, of Amherstburg. The other members of the family are John W., of Erie, Pa.: Joseph L., of South Dakota; Clarence E., of Amherstburg; Mary E. (Mrs. Samuel McDowell), of Windsor; Gertrude (Mrs. W.H. Bush), of Amherstburg; Roman J., of Cleveland, Ohio; Phylo G., of Wanesburg, Pa., and Annie M., of Shelbyville, Ky. Mrs. Foster was married to Geo. H. Foster, at Amherstburg, on May 6th, 1874. Seven children were born to them, all of whom are living – 3 sons and four daughters – George, aged 23, Waring, 16; Philo, 14, Maud, 13, Evelyne, 11; Madaline, 6, and Sarah, 4. The deceased was an earnest Christian and was a member of the Baptist church the past 31 years. Her Christian fortitude enabled her to bear her last illness without a murmur. She expressed herself as ready and willing to go at her Master’s bidding. She frequently told her husband not to grieve, for she was all right. Liberality and kindness were two great traits in her character and her home was open to all whom she could assist. The sorrowing family wish to return sincere thanks to their many friends who were so kind and attentive to their loved one in her last illness, some especially being particularly attentive, whose names it will be unnecessary to mention.”
What we publish is not a complete history of any family and is based on the documents that are available. We welcome photos and information to fill in the gaps. See you next week for part 2.
The Foster Family Part 2 – Continuing in the Family Business
A few years after Sarah passed, in 1902, George H. passed away which is recorded in the Amherstburg Echo. The article says, “A very sudden death, of a citizen of this township, occurred Monday evening last, on the quarry road, when George H. Foster passed away without, so far as is known, a moment’s warning. Mr. Foster had been in Amherstburg that day and on returning home went about his chores. Later he was driving a hog along the quarry road and it is supposed that he became worried following the animal, bringing on a sudden attack of heart failure, he having been troubled for some time with heart disease, and he dropped on the road, never apparently having moved again. When the children came from school they found the house locked and the neighbors became alarmed at Mr. Foster’s absence for the man was always very punctual, and a number of them went out to search for him. In the meantime the body had been found by the Powers’ boys, who reported same to coroner Hobley. An order was given for its removal and it was taken to the house. The death has caused a profound sensation amon[g] the people of the section and in Amherstburg where deceased was well known. He was a most kind hearted man and was always showing little kindnesses to his friends. He was born in the State of Ohio, July 3rd, 1838, so was 64 years of age last July. With his parents he came to Amherstburg, when he was but an infant. His father, the late Levi Foster, kept livery stable in Amherstburg on Apsley street for many years. There was a large family, five of whom are left. They are: – Levi, of Wisconsin; Elizabeth, of Los Angeles, Cal.; Mrs. Jacobs, of the same place; besides two half brother, John, of Amherstburg; Thos. Of Biggar City, Oregon, and a half sister, Mrs. Annie Hyatt, of Windsor.”
The obituary continues saying, “On May 6th, 1875 the deceased was married to MISS SARAH J. SMITH, in Amherstburg. They lived there for a few years and then moved to Malden, on the farm next to the cemetery. They had eight children, seven of whom are living. They are: George H. of Cleveland; Waring, Smith, Maud, Evelyn, Madeline and Sarah, at home. Mrs. Foster died three years ago last March. Since that time Mr. Foster had remained at home and attended to the farm. Previous to that he had been a steward on some of the larger liners. He was a member of a Masonic Lodge in Cleveland and a member of the First Baptist Church, Amherstburg.”
After George H.’s passing several of his children were sent to live with their Aunt Gertrude Smith Bush, wife of William H. Bush and sister of Sarah Smith Foster (George H.’s wife). Gertrude and William married circa 1888 and the couple had no children. Additionally, Gertrude was active in the community, particularly as a member of the First Baptist Church for more than sixty years, a member of the Ladies Sewing Circle and the Ladies Missionary Society.
George H. and Sarah’s sons followed in the footsteps of their father and worked as cooks in the shipping industry. The August 3, 1900 edition of the Amherstburg Echo states that George and Sarah’s son, George H. Jr. worked on the steamer ‘Iron Chief’ while in the December 21, 1900 edition it says Waring Foster, was “among the arrivals home from sailing this week.” Within the Great Lakes Fleet, there were few jobs available to Black Canadians, but some members of the Foster family rose to the level of 1st Steward.
George H. Jr. married Florence Isabelle Dunjill and the Amherstburg Echo describes their wedding which took place on Christmas night in 1901, adding that “The decorations were appropriate to the Christmas season. After the ceremony a reception was held at the bride’s home and the happy couple left that night for their wedding trip to Canada. They expect to make Cleveland their future home. The bride’s maids were Miss Addie Hackley and Miss Florence Wilson. The groomsmen were J.E. Dunjill and J.G. Robinson.”
Next is George H. Jr.’s sister, Maud. She married Charles L. Jones who was the son of Leander Jones of Anderdon. On December 22, 1911, the Amherstburg Echo printed a brief account of their wedding which says “A very quiet and pretty wedding was solemnized last Tuesday afternoon, when Rev. Allan Peavy using the ring service, united in marriage Miss Maud Foster, eldest daughter of the late Geo. H. Foster, and Charles L. Jones, son of the late Leander Jones, of Anderdon. The bride was daintily attired in white … and was attended by her sister, Mrs. Evelyn Foster McCurdy, who was also in white. H.W. Foster served as best man. Those present were the immediate relatives of both families, the out-of-town guests being Mrs. Louisa F. Jacobs, of Los Angeles, Cal.; Mrs. George H. Foster, of Cleveland, Ohio; Mrs. Leroy N. McCurdy and son Foster, of Conneaut, Ohio, and Philo G. Smith, of Waynesburg, Pa. The bride was the recipient of many handsome and useful presents. Mr. and Mrs. Jones will be at home to their friends at his mother’s home in Anderdon for the present.”
Maud’s sister Madeline married Dr. John E. Murrell and the couple had a daughter named Marilyn. Madeline and John’s marriage is recounted in the September 22, 1922 edition of the Amherstburg Echo and says “The residence of Mr. and Mrs. P.W. Lemon, 2330 E. 55th street, Cleveland, was the scene of a quiet but very pretty wedding on the evening of September 2nd, when Mrs. Madeline E. Lightfoot, third daughter of the late George H. Foster, of Malden, and John E. Murrell were united in marriage by Rev. E.A. Clarke of St. John’s A.M.E. church. ‘O Promise Me’ was sweetly rendered by Madame Grace Willis Thompson, followed by the Mendelssohn wedding march, played by Miss Marguerite Sanford. The bride was beautifully attired in white crepe romaine trimmed with satin and lace and carried a shower bouquet of white rosebuds. A string of pearls and lilies of the valley in her hair were the only ornaments. The ceremony was performed amid a profusion of gladioli and palms and Philo S. Foster, brother of the bride gave her in marriage. During the reception, Harry Thompson sang several selections. Mr. and [Mrs.] Murrell were the recipients of many lovely gifts in silver, cut glass, china, linen and mahogany.”
According to her 1946 obituary, Madeline received her degree in education at Western Reserve University and retired from the Cleveland Public School Board after dedicating over thirty years to the profession. It adds that she was a member of the St. John’s A.M.E. Church, Alpha Kappa Alpha National Sorority and was also a long-time and active member of the League of Women Voters.
Madeline’s husband is also praised in the September 5, 1930 edition of the Amherstburg Echo which writes “Graduate of Our High School” – “The Editor of The Echo was glad to meet on the grounds of the Canadian National Exhibition, at Toronto, on Press Day, Friday last, Mr. and Mrs. Charles Jones and to learn how well Mr. Jones is getting along. He will be remembered as a native of Anderdon, who after graduating from the public and high schools here passed through the normal school and taught for a few years in Ontario. He then entered Queen’s university and graduated from that institution after a very creditable course, and is now mathematical teacher on the staff of one of the largest high schools in Toronto. Mrs. Jones is the eldest daughter of the late George Foster. Mr. and Mrs. Jones are a frugal pair, have saved their money, and are just completing a nice new home in Toronto. The products of this district certainly do make good out in the world in competition with the best of them.”
Madeline’s obituary mentions that her sister Sarah Maria Foster married into the Lee family and lived in Cleveland, Ohio. With further research, we discovered Sarah’s marriage certificate which says that she married James Reynolds Lee of Cleveland, Ohio, on October 19, 1914 in Amherstburg. James was the son of John L. Lee and Susan Reynolds. Their marriage record also reveals that Sarah worked as a stenographer, while James Reynolds Lee was a dentist.
What we publish is not a complete history of any family and is based on the documents that are available. We welcome photos and information to fill in the gaps. See you next week for part 3.
The Foster Family Part 3 – From Amherstburg to Ohio
Thanks to documents at the Amherstburg Freedom Museum and the Merle McCurdy Collection at Kent State University, there is a wealth of information on George H. Foster’s daughter Evelyn and her family. Evelyn Gertrude Foster, the daughter of George H. Foster and Sarah J. Smith Foster, married LeRoy Nelson McCurdy on July 20, 1907 (NOTE: Evelyn later married Clarence Cowan). The Foster-McCurdy wedding was a merging of two very historic families, as Evelyn was the granddaughter of Amherstburg entrepreneur, Levi Foster, while LeRoy McCurdy was the son of Mary Almede Thomas (daughter of George Thomas and Mariah Buckner) and George Douglass McCurdy (the son of Nasa McCurdy and Permelia Bailey). LeRoy or Roy was also the great grandson of Nasa McCurdy Sr. who was manumitted from enslavement by Rachel Kennedy in Greene County, Pennsylvania in the 1790s. Nasa’s son Nasa McCurdy Jr. (Roy’s grandfather) acquired land near Zanesville, Ohio in the 1840s and was known as a conductor on the Underground Railroad, making several trips to Amherstburg which is where he eventually made his home. It was in Amherstburg that Nasa assisted in the establishment of the Nazrey A.M.E. Church that is on the Amherstburg Freedom Museum grounds. This Church was a terminus in the Underground Railroad and provided a safe location for incoming freedom seekers. His connection to the Underground Railroad did not end there as Nasa McCurdy Jr. would also name his son, George Douglass (Roy’s father), after family friend and abolitionist Frederick Douglass.
Roy worked on a Great Lakes ore freighter as a cook, and it was this job that caused Evelyn and Roy to move from Amherstburg to Conneaut, Ohio (a port city) in roughly 1909. Evelyn and Roy had three children: a girl who tragically was still born in 1909, Foster (1910-1978) and Merle (1912-1968). Foster and Merle attended Dean Avenue School in Conneaut, Ohio with Merle graduating from Conneaut High School in 1931. Merle was active in high school, participating in Glee Club, the football team, Senior Boys Club and track.
Foster went on to serve in the Army during WWII, but also became politically active, pushing for labour rights and protesting racism. In 1949, he picketed outside of Judge James C. Connell’s house during a labour dispute and also tried to bring Paul Robeson to Cleveland to perform and give a talk. Robeson was a strong supporter of integrating the armed forces and ending lynching in the South, in addition to a critic of President Truman who did not push for either action.
Evelyn and Roy’s second son Merle McCurdy’s dream was to be a police officer, but he was stricken with tuberculosis and had to spend a significant amount of time recovering at a sanitarium. Sadly, this ended his dream of working in law enforcement, but Merle worked in several occupations. Following in his father’s footsteps, Merle briefly worked as a cook on the ore boats that served the dock-to-rail steel production centres of U.S. Steel. In the early 1940s he worked in real estate and operated an electric streetcar.
Merle also graduated from Western Reserve’s College of Law and was admitted to the Ohio Bar on July 31, 1947. Following graduation, Merle worked briefly for Myron Huff, a friend he met while recovering from tuberculosis, but also worked for five years as a partner for Norman Shelby Minor, a well-known criminal defense lawyer in Cleveland. In 1952, Merle was appointed as an Assistant Cuyahoga County Prosecutor and was the first African American to work at the Legal Aid Society of Cleveland. Impressively, he was also the first African American appointed by John F. Kennedy to serve as United States Attorney for the Northern District of Ohio and on October 6, 1961, he was sworn in, making him the second African American in the entire country to hold this position. While working as the U.S. Attorney, Merle also addressed the audience of a NAACP convention held in Atlanta, Georgia, which was attended by high-profile figures such as Martin Luther King Jr. and Ralph D. Abernathy. His speech discussed the significant accomplishments of African Americans and the importance of the ballot and not backing down.
In 1967, Merle McCurdy was appointed by President Lyndon B. Johnson to serve as General Counsel to National Advisory Commission on Civil Disorders (the Kerner Commission), which investigated racial violence and its causes during the 1960s, in addition to being appointed as the United States’ first Consumer Council. Sadly, Merle passed away unexpectedly on May 6, 1968, before he could take on this role.
It was at the Hollenden Hotel that Merle met and fell in love with his wife Rosetta ‘Rosie’ Scott, who was operating the hotel’s elevator. According to the Merle McCurdy Collection at Kent State University, it took some time for him to talk to Rosie because each time he would approach the elevator, Rosie would always disappear from sight while operating the elevator. His persistence paid off and the couple was married in 1937. The couple also had two daughters, Myrna and Brenda. In January 1964, Merle and Rosie celebrated their 27th wedding anniversary and Merle gave his wife an incredibly thoughtful gift: the elevator control from the Hollenden Hotel, where they first met and fell in love. The hotel was scheduled for demolition, but Merle was able to save the elevator control from destruction.
What we publish is not a complete history of any family and is based on the documents that are available. We welcome photos and information to fill in the gaps. See you next week for part 4.
The Foster Family Part 4 – “The Soul of Honour and the Acme of Industry”
Now that we’ve discussed George H. and his wife and children, we’ll return to discussing his remaining siblings (James W., M. Louisa, Elizabeth, Sarah and Levi). James W. Foster was born circa 1842 in Amherstburg and he married Elizabeth Alice Butler, who was the daughter of William H. Butler, who fled to Canada in the early 1830’s, and Anne Calvert who was from England. James W. and Elizabeth were married on August 20, 1867 in Detroit, Michigan. According to a letter found in the Museum’s Foster family binder, it says that James, Elizabeth and their children moved from Amherstburg to Monroe, Michigan in 1878. Of their children, we know of two children: J. Ernest who passed away on August 1, 1896 and is buried in Rose Hill Cemetery in Amherstburg and Maria H.
James’ sister, M. Louisa, was born circa 1844 in Amherstburg. She married the Reverend Henry Jacobs. According to her obituary, she had a son named Roland. Louisa’s sister Elizabeth is the next child of Levi and Elizabeth Foster, but there was no information available for her. Elizabeth’s sister Sarah was born circa 1852 and passed away on November 5, 1863. She is buried at Rose Hill Cemetery in Amherstburg.
The last child of Levi and Elizabeth is Levi Wellington Foster who was born on May 18, 1855 in Amherstburg. Sadly, Levi Jr.’s mother Elizabeth passed away shortly after he was born. As a result, Levi Jr. was raised by his father’s brother John Henry Foster and his wife Emma Collins. He married Lilian Belle James on July 15, 1888 at Elysian, Minnesota. The couple had five children: Henry Oliver (July 16, 1891 – December 14, 1891); Edmund James (August 7, 1892 – November 22, 1970) who married Ellen Ralston and had two daughters, Mary and Geraldine; Hazel Louella (b. June 12, 1894) who married George Hedglin on June 25, 1917 and had four children; Joseph Henry Foster (August 10, 1904 – November 18, 1958) who married Stella M. Smith on October 16, 1929 and had three children, Rose Ellen, Joseph Wayne and Steven Donald; and George Robert (January 4, 1906 – January 29, 1906).
Levi Foster Sr., as mentioned, married a second time to Lucy Harris. In addition to Lucy’s daughter, Julia, from a previous marriage, the couple had three children: Annie Elizabeth; John and Thomas. There was no information available for Thomas, but we have several things to share about Annie and John.
Levi and Lucy’s daughter Annie Elizabeth Foster was born circa 1858 in Amherstburg and married James L. Hyatt, the son of Mary Ann Sims. James Hyatt was born in Martinsville, Ohio and came to Canada with his mother in 1861. Annie Elizabeth and James were married in Colchester Baptist Church on May 3, 1875 and soon after moved to Windsor. The couple had ten children: Marion Everett (1877-1878); James Cary (1880-1882); Foster Llewellyn (1882-1887); George Hewitt (1884-1934) who, according to his draft registration card for WWI, worked for Lincoln Motor Co.; Annie Louise (1887-1933) who married 1. Boiseau 2. John Wilkinson in 1908 (son of Isaac Wilkinson and Mary Steel) and 3. John Shreve in 1925 (son of Felix Shreve and Matilda Hatter); Gladys Mabel (1890-1972) who married a Mason named Charles Washington (son of Charles A. Washington and Emily Westsell) and had three children named LeRoy, Chad and Hyatt; J. Lyle (born 1892) who married Velma Mosbey and had a daughter named Margaret Louise; Violet Alice (born 1894) who married Edward Mobbs and had four children of which we know three named Marguerite, Victoria and Edward; Eunice Beatrice (1897-1966) who married George Kersey, son of George Kersey and Effie Davis, and had four children named Effie Ann, George H., Wanda and Lyle) and Guy (1898) who was a pilot in the RCAF during WWI.
According to records from the Museum’s Hyatt Family binder, James L. Hyatt was a deacon at the First Baptist Church in Windsor for over 50 years. This was in addition to working as a Foreman for Alex Cameron and John Curry – banking and real estate. James’ wife Annie loved flowers and plants so he built her a large greenhouse at the side of their home which became Annie’s business called Hyatt Green House. Their sons ran the flower shop and made funeral and wedding flower arrangements for several years. This helped them pay their way through college.
Sadly, Annie Elizabeth Foster passed away on February 19, 1911. The Museum’s Hyatt Family binder includes details on the sudden passing of Annie Hyatt, as written by her son George H. Hyatt. He writes “Mother died very suddenly last night. She left home in company with Aunt Louise & Violet to go to church but she did not get far from home when she took sick but insisted on going on so when she got to the ferry deck she thought that she was feeling much better but when within about a block of the church she felt worse & Auntie had to almost carry her to get her to the church & then sent for a Doctor but when he got there he said that she was very sick & before anything could be done she had passed to the Great Beyond. She seemed to be in the best of spirits yesterday & in fact she remarked just a short while before she … was feeling fine.”
Annie’s brother John Arthur Foster (a marine chef) was married to Annie Elizabeth Stevens and they had several children including Theodore, Annie, John, Ella, Elenore, and Bessie. Theodore (1883-1927) became a marine chef, while his sister Annie (born 1887) married Joseph Paulson. Annie’s brother John, according to his marriage record, worked as a decorator and married Marjorie Katherine Laura Alexander (a stenographer and daughter of John Henry Alexander and Annie Louise Crawford) on February 7, 1921. John and Marjorie had at least two children: Jack and Pat. John’s sister Ella married John Bell and had two sons named Robert and Floyd. Ella’s sister, Elenore Foster, was born in September 1885, while Bessie Eileen Foster was born on September 30, 1897. Bessie married Willard Maier, and had at least three children named Zeke, Dwight and Betty. It should also be added that in the 1920s, Bessie was appointed an “industrial nurse in the town for the Metropolitan Life Insurance Co.”
According to Annie Stevens Foster’s obituary, she was a “highly respected, hardworking and thrifty citizen. The manner of her death was totally unexpected. She had spent a short time with her daughter, Mrs. Mayer, who lives across the street from her, and was just going out the door to return to her own home when she collapsed on Mrs. Mayer’s steps and expired before her horror-stricken family could remove her. Heart failure was the cause of death. Mrs. Foster’s maiden name was Annie Stevens. She was a daughter and the last of the family of the late Ezekiel Stevens, a prominent and highly influential citizen of Amherstburg in his day. She had two brothers, Lincoln and Malachi, both of whom predeceased her. She was married about forty years ago to John Foster, a lake cook. He died ten years ago, leaving her with a family of five – Ella, Mrs. A.M. Bell, of Windsor; Theodore, who lives at home; Annie, married in Winnipeg; John and Bessie, Mrs. Mayer of Amherstburg. Mrs. Foster was the soul of honour and the acme of industry. Following her husband’s death she engaged to do the work of many families in Amherstburg, and by her thrift and economy improved her home so that it is one of the neatest, most comfortable and attractive in that part of the town. She acquired considerable means and other property. Of late years she gave up a good deal of her work, but retained the janitorship of the Bell Telephone office and the Imperial Bank. She performed these duties as usual Saturday and returning home, looked well to her own house as befitted a good housewife, not complaining either of being unduly weary or of any illness. The sudden cutting off of her life has caused widespread sorrow.”
What we publish is not a complete history of any family and is based on the documents that are available. We welcome photos and information to fill in the gaps. See you next week where we will celebrate another amazing family.