Martha Ballard's Story
Chapter 6

Foster haggles with the town

Martha tells us that three days after Foster's dismissal, when Mr. Ballard went to "the house of worship," he and Rev. Foster and others were "not Suferd to Enter." So the group moved on to the house Rev. Foster was renting from Mr. Thwing, and there they listened to Foster preach on Genesis Chapter 3, Verse 8. It is not clear from Martha's diary whether Foster continued to preach from his home, but it is clear that Isaac Foster and his family did not leave town after his dismissal. In March of 1789, Martha wrote, "I was Calld to Revd Fosters to See Isaac, put a Cattaplasm made of honey, flower & the yolk of an Egg, on the Soar." And on April 6 she noted, "mr. Ballard went to Town meeting. I went to Colo Norths. Calld at Revd mr Fosters. Isaac is recoverd of his Soar." But all was not well with the Foster family.

The Rev. Mr. Foster remained in Hallowell for most of 1789, wrangling over the terms of his settlement with the town. Martha's diary shows that the Rev. Foster stopped in at the Ballards' house, or she stopped in at theirs, quite frequently. Take a look at the diary entries for: February 15, March 6, March 9, March 27, April 6, July 2, and August 10.

See the town record to learn about the committee appointed to settle the issue.

A committee was appointed to resolve the dispute with Foster -- including Martha's husband Ephraim and Judge Joseph North (also known as "Colo. North" because of his role in the militia).

In her diary Martha reported several of their meetings: "mr Ballard & the other Gentlemen who are the meeting house Committee mett at Colo Norths to Settle that Business" (Martha's diary December 22, 1788), and "mr Ballard at Colo Norths Settling with the meeting house Committee." (Martha's diary January 10, 1789)

Find out about the last ditch effort by Foster's supporters to open a re-hearing of his case before the church council.

Martha tells us that in June the Fosters were forced to move again: "Revd mr Foster is removd from mr Thwings to the house where Joseph Williams formerly livd."

Four months later, in October of 1789, Martha wrote in her diary that a settlement agreement was finally reached between the Reverend Mr. Foster and the town. Always a careful keeper of accounts, Martha noted the exact amount: "he Should have 112 pounds,10 shillings & Colo Howard as Treasurer has given his note on Demand for the Same, with interest till paid."

Foster's dismissal is debated
Foster's position was increasingly insecure.

Table of Contents

Martha Ballard's Diary

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February 15, 1789 (Sunday)

15 D


Clear & Cold. I was at Revd Fosters. mr Ballard is Better, the Soar on his nose is Broke. Dagt Town & Dolly at mr Hamlins. Polly Savage here. Parthena at home. at Revd Fosters & Nr Savages.

March 6, 1789 (Friday)

6 6


Clear & not so Cold. mr Town & mrss Stackpool Left here at 9 ysm. I went to Revd Fosters, his Childs Soar is Broke & is in a good way. Broth Moore was here, it raind at ye 9th hour ys Evn, was a stormy night. at Revd Fosters.

March 9, 1789 (Monday)

9 2


Clear & pleasant. I have been at home. mr Ballard to Pitts town for Lining & triming for Jona a Coat. he bougt me 18 Sewing needles & himself a pair of Silver Sleave Buttuns which wd 5 penny wt 47 gs. Cost 3/4. Revd Foster here ys morn. Robert Fletcher a Daft Born ys morn. at home. Birth Robert Fletchers 3d dagtr at the 6th H Morn.

March 27, 1789 (Friday)

27 6


Clear & pleast. mr Ballard been to Capt Enoch Pages. Jona halling loggs to ye mill. Robbins workt here. I have been Combing flax. Revd mr Foster here. have bn at home.

April 6, 1789 (Monday)

6 2


Cloudy. mr Ballard went to Town meeting. I went to Colo Norths. Calld at Revd mr Fosters. Isaac is recoverd of his Soar. Daniel Robbins Came here. welch drest 9 lb 3 oz flax. I was at Revd mr Fosters & Colo Norths. mr Curtis here.

July 2, 1789 (Thursday)

2 5


Clear & hott till Evn, when it began to rain at 10. Agustus Ballard & his mamy here ys Day, mr Foster & Lady allso. I have been at home. Jesse Bullin & Debe Black Sleep here.

August 10, 1789 (Monday)

10 2


Clear Except a sprineling of rain about noon. I went with mrs Emerson as far as mr Crages, Drank Tea there. was Calld by James Moore to See mrs Shearborn who was very unwell. I tarried all night, gave the Lady Some medisin. Shee Seemd mutch more Comfortable. I left her at 2 h pm & returnd home, find I had a Call to go Elswhere. at mr Crages & mr Sherborns. Calld at Revd mr Fosters. Levy Moore & wife here.