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Foster (Forster), Richard

by Mattie Erma E. Parker, 1986

b. ca. 1622

Richard Foster (Forster), Council member and a leader in Culpeper's Rebellion, settled in the North Carolina colony, then called Albemarle, before 7 Sept. 1669. He may have been the Captain Richard Foster who lived in Lower Norfolk County, Va., in the 1640s and 1650s and served as member of the House of Burgesses in 1655–56. However, there were other Richard Fosters in Virginia and elsewhere who might have moved to Albemarle.

Foster first appears in North Carolina records as a member of the Albemarle Council on 7 Sept. 1669, when Samuel Stephens was governor. He remained on the Council under Governor Peter Carteret, serving at least through April 1672. In the early 1670s he also was lieutenant colonel of the Albemarle militia.

In the fall of 1676, Sir George Carteret, a Proprietor, commissioned Foster to serve on the Albemarle Council as his deputy. When the commission reached Albemarle in the summer of 1677, Foster at first rejected it, for acceptance would require him to serve under Thomas Miller, whose pretensions to the governorship Foster and others deemed invalid. Later Foster accepted the commission and served several months in Miller's government, but in the fall he joined those planning Miller's overthrow and took a leading part in the uprising called Culpeper's Rebellion. During the revolt, Foster performed the valuable service of restraining the colonists from actions that would have been treasonable and guiding them in procedures that had a show of legality. He was made a member of the "rebel" Council, which governed the colony from December 1677, when Miller was imprisoned, until the fall of 1679, when the Proprietors established a legitimate government under John Harvey. Foster, like several other participants in the uprising, was named to Harvey's Council. After Harvey's death he served under John Jenkins at least through November 1681. He was again a Council member in May and November 1684 when Seth Sothel was governor. His tenure under Sothel probably was longer than in indicated by the few surviving records of Sothel's administration.

Little is known of Foster's private life. About 1682 he made a deposition in which he gave his age as "sixty yeares and upwards." He appears to have lived in Currituck Precinct. His name disappears from North Carolina records about the middle of the 1680s, but there is no record of his death.

References:

Noel Currer-Briggs, ed., Virginia Settlers and English Adventurers (1970).

J. R. B. Hathaway, ed., North Carolina Historical and Genealogical Register, 3 vols. (1900–1903).

William Waller Hening, ed., Virginia Statutes at Large (1823).

John C. Hotten, ed., Our Early Emigrant Ancestors (1962).

Edward W. James, ed., Lower Norfolk County, Virginia, Antiquary, vol. 1, pt. 1 (1895).

North Carolina State Archives, Raleigh: Albemarle Book of Warrants and Surveys, 1681–1706.

Timothy Biggs, A Narrative of the Transactions Past in the County of Albemarle in Carolina since Mr. Tho. Miller his Arrivall there (January 1678 [photocopy, autograph MS]).

Council Minutes, Wills, Inventories, 1677–1701.

Nell M. Nugent, ed., Cavaliers and Pioneers (1934).

Mattie Erma E. Parker, ed., Colonial Records of North Carolina, Higher-Court Records, 1670–1696, vol. 2 (1968), and "Legal Aspects of 'Culpeper's Rebellion,'" North Carolina Historical Review 45 (1968).

William S. Powell, ed., Ye Countie of Albemarle in Carolina (1958).

Hugh F. Rankin, Upheaval in Albemarle (1962).

William L. Saunders, ed., Colonial Records of North Carolina, vol. 1 (1886).

William G. and Mary S. Stanard, comps., The Colonial Virginia Register (1902).

Clayton Torrence, comp., Virginia Wills and Administrations, 1632–1800 (1972).

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This article is from the Dictionary of North Carolina Biography, 6 volumes, edited by William S. Powell. Copyright ©1979-1996 by the University of North Carolina Press. Used by permission of the publisher. For personal use and not for further distribution. Please submit permission requests for other use directly to the publisher.

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