From A Biographical
History of Central Kansas, Vol. I, p. 73
published by The Lewis Publishing Co, Chicago & New York, 1902
Frank H. Foster
Mr. Foster was born in Allen county, Indiana, June 19, 1858, his parents being Asher W and Prudence (Thrasher) Foster, both of whom were natives of Virginia, where their marriage was celebrated. The paternal grandfather of our subject was one of three brothers who came from Ireland to America, landing in Boston, whence he made his way southward to Virginia. He was a tailor by trade and died during the early boyhood of his son Asher. The latter served an apprenticeship to the cabinet-maker's trade, and in 1857 removed to Indiana, where he engaged in carpentering, following that pursuit until his enlistment for service in the Union Army, in April, 1861. He was with the Army of the Potomac, and after serving for three years veteranized and remained with his command until the close of hostilities, receiving an honorable discharge in August, 1865. He joined the army as a private but was later detailed as hospital steward, which position he continued to fill until the war was ended. Much of his service was near his old home in Virginia, and he obtained permission to go through the picket lines to visit his old home. He found that all of his relatives were espousing the Rebel cause. He was taken in by his brothers and mother, and they gave him protection for three days, but his mother felt greatly hurt over, as she expressed it, his going back on his state and the interests of his home. He remained at home until his command went north, when he left with them. He never visited his home again and was cut off from the estate. Asher Foster had but one furlough during his entire army service, and that was when he veteranized. He participated in the battles of Antietam, the Wilderness, the seven days' fight at Atlanta and Lookout Mountain, and was in the detail that sailed to New York to enforce army regulations. He was also in the fight at Pea Ridge.
After the war Mr. Foster returned to his family in Allen county, Indiana, and engaged in carpentering, which he followed until 1885, when he joined his son Frank in Kansas, locating in Alden, Rice county. There he worked at his trade until his death, which occurred July 27, 1893, when he was sixty-four years of age. He was a man of medium size, had acquired a fair education and had a good memory. His wife died in Alden, in January, 1898. She was the daughter of a Mr. Thrasher, a prominent farmer and slave owner of Virginia, who died in that state. His children were Mrs. Margaret Lipse; John P., who served in the Confederate army and died in Virginia; George, a Baptist minister, who died in the Old Dominion; Prudence, the mother of our subject; Maria; Kate; Adeline; and Henry. Unto the grandfather Foster were born four children: Asher W; John, who removed to Missouri and afterward to Iowa, where he died; George, who spent his last days in Missouri; and Harriet. Unto the parents of our subject were born five children: Frank H; John, who died at the age of eleven years; Dora, the wife of Lee W Arnold, of Burdett, Kansas; Maggie, of Indiana; and Nettie, who is attending school in Emporia. The mother was a member of the Evangelical church, and her Christian life and teachings had much influence over her children.
Frank H Foster remained under the parental roof until ten years of age, after which he spent three years in the home of the Rev W Y B Pierce, a Baptist minister of New York. He then returned home and later was employed as a farm hand. Subsequently he took charge of a livery barn, which he conducted for a time, when he accepted a clerkship in a store. He followed different lines of business until 1883, when he went to Nebraska, where he worked on a cattle ranch until the spring of 1884, when he removed to Colorado, being there employed on a ranch until the following July. In that month he came to Rice county, Kansas, and was first employed in connection with the operation of a threshing machine. Subsequently he secured a situation as a salesman in a store, and in March, 1888, he was made a deputy sheriff, occupying that position for four years, after which he was elected sheriff for a term of two years and re-elected for the same period, so that he was connected with the office for eight consecutive years, filling the position with credit to himself and satisfaction to his constituents. During their long service no complaint was ever made and no prisoners escaped. While filling the position Mr. Foster purchased a farm of one hundred and sixty acres, and in 1896 took up his abode thereon. There were only a few improvements and after a time his barn was destroyed by fire. He then erected a very large barn, remodeled his house and has placed his farm in excellent condition, his fields being under a high state of cultivation. He also purchased another quarter section of land and is now giving much attention to the growing of stock of all kinds, including short-horn cattle and Percheron horses. He has a fine Percheron stallion, also a saddle-bred stallion and roadsters. The stock produced on his farm is among the best to be found in Kansas, and in this direction he has gained a very enviable reputation.
Mr. Foster was united in marriage at Chase, to Miss Minnie M Smith, who was born in Madison county, Iowa, the wedding taking place January 20, 1892. The lady is a daughter of O F and Nettie (Compton) Smith, the former a native of Virginia (Illinois) and the latter of Iowa, in which state their marriage was celebrated. During the civil war her father joined the army and was in many hotly contested battles. He received what was supposed to be a mortal wound, the top of his head being torn away. He was left to die, but his strong constitution enabled him to recover. A portion of his skull was torn off and he lost the sight of one eye. He has always been a sufferer since the war, but life was spared to him. Later he received an honorable discharge and is now granted a small pension. He afterward engaged in the meat market business and in buying and selling stock. In 1880 he removed to Chase, Kansas, where he conducted a meat market until his retirement to private life. He and his wife are now living in Chase, where they are held in warm regard. In politics he is a strong Republican, has served as township trustee and in other positions. He was the eldest of seven children, the others being James, Thomas, Howard (Hardin), William, N M (Nathaniel) a physician, and Mary, who married Rev A Hestwood, a Methodist minister. He also had a half-brother and sister(s) by his mother's first (second) marriage, namely, Rufus (Walker) and Mrs. Martha (Walker) Rowe (and Mrs. Etta (Walker) Howe). Unto O F Smith and his wife were born eight (fourteen) children. Charles O is a resident of Hutchinson. Minnie M is now Mrs. Foster. C E was in Colorado when the Spanish-American war broke out. He there enlisted, was sent to the Philippines and ultimately was discharged as quartermaster, being now a merchant at Chase. Ernest is proprietor of a meat market at Iola. Carrie is at home. George W served with the Twentieth Kansas Regiment in the Philippines. Flora and Albert are still at home. (Six other children died in childhood or at birth, namely: William O, Eva May, Addie E, an unnamed infant twin of Flora, and twins Earl and Pearl.) The parents are loyal and devoted members of the Methodist Episcopal church. Mr. and Mrs. Foster also belong to the same church and he is identified with the Masonic fraternity, the Knights of Pythias lodge and the Sons of Veterans. He was reared in the Republican party and has frequently attended the county, state and congressional conventions and is a most ardent advocate of the party principles.