Oswego County's: Guide To Government

William Foster

William Foster of Cleveland, Oswego County, represents the 21st Senatorial District, composed of the Counties of Oswego and Madison. For many years, this district was one of the Gibraltars of the Democracy - "Old Oswego" being one of the most reliable strongholds. But this state of things has been changed, and now the 21st District under ordinary circumstances is conceded to the Republicans. The subject of the present sketch was born in Lenham, Kent County, England on the 27th day of December, 1813. He received a good substantial education, attending the academy at Maidstone in his native County, and also one at Herstmonceux in Sussex, which bounds Kent on the south. At the age of seventeen he emigrated from "merrie old England," and sailed for this country. The year 1830 found him settled on Oneida Lake, getting his living by clerking it. As a clerk he remained for 5 years, and at the end of that time left the Empire State and traveled in the Old Dominion. A little later, the mood for travel still in him, he visited Louisiana and Texas. In 1837 leaving the South he took up his quarters in the great north-west and spent the next two succeeding years in farming. In 1839 he returned to New York State and took up his residence at Cleveland, Oswego County, where he has since resided.

Mr. Foster has been actively engaged for many years as a manufacturer of window glass. He also carries on the business of tanning. In 1867 he became identified with the construction of the Midland Railroad, as director and active agent, positions which he still holds.

The Senator has always taken a deep interest in politics. He was formerly a Whig, and gave his first vote, in 1840, for William Henry Harrison, for President. Subsequently he sympathized strongly with the anti-slavery movement and became what was known as an Abolitionist. Since the formation of the Republican party he has been prominently indentified with that organization.

He was elected to the Senate by a majority of 4,130 over his Democratic opponent, He holds the Chairmanship of two Committees - Division of Towns and Counties and Poor Laws. He is also a member of the Committee on Railroads.

Senator Foster very seldom addresses the Senate, but he appreciates the wants and wishes of his constituents, and by deed, if not by word, is potent for the interest of the 21st District.

Life Sketches of Government Officers and Members of the Legislature of the State of New York


Pages 67-68