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.

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Martha Ballard's Diary

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January 10, 1789 (Saturday)

Diary entry for Jan. 10, 1789. View Text (link at top) to see text version.