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Jabez Foster

Jabez Foster was one of Watertown's early settlers, and was a successful businessman and judge. Foster was born in Lebanon, Connecticut in 1777. Sometime in the late 1790's, Foster settled in Oneida County, where he married Hanna Hungerford, sister of Orville Hungerford, in 1800. Soon after his marriage, Foster moved his family to Turin in Lewis County, where he successfully manufactured and sold potash.

In 1805, Foster and his family settled in Burr Mills (Burrville), where he opened a store with Thomas Converse. Foster sold his share of the store in 1807 and moved to Watertown. He operated a gristmill on the Black River and built a general store.

Foster's successful businesses enabled him to acquire much real estate. He acquired land on Washington Street from Hart Massey, including Massey's timber frame dwelling. Foster moved Massey's homestead to the corner of Washington and Sterling Streets and built a large stone mansion for himself, along with other buildings. Foster's mansion was later acquired by the Paddock family. Edwin Paddock demolished Foster's mansion in 1876 to build the current Paddock Mansion.

Foster, deeply religious and civic minded, was an active member of the community. He was one of the founding members of the First Presbyterian Church. In 1813, he became a judge for the Court of Common Pleas. He served on the Watertown Board of Supervisors in 1827 and for several years served as president of the Jefferson County Bank.

Foster later moved to Michigan after the death of his wife, Hannah. He died while traveling in Monroe, Michigan in 1847, where he is buried.


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  • Last modified: 2018/12/06 17:16
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