The Official Story
Chapter 6

Foster haggles with the town

For most of the following year, Foster remained in town, haggling over the terms of his dismissal. A committee was appointed by the town to settle the issue. (Note that Judge North and Ephraim Ballard were both on the committee - in item #5, p. 173.) It seems, however, that this committee was unable to resolve Foster's settlement.

Did Martha keep track of the town's financial wrangling with Foster?

Ten months after Foster's dismissal, a group of Foster's friends proposed the town re-hear his case. Looking at the agenda for the town meeting in early October 1789 (item #2), we can see that the town refused to re-open the case. In the same meeting (items #3 & 4), the town appointed another committee to handle the "demands relative to the civil contract between the town and the said Mr. Foster." This committee included Henry Sewall. He and the others were empowered to consider Foster's request and "the letters from the ministers of Boston and Judge Sullivan." The letters, unfortunately, haven't survived.

The business at hand was clearly pressing. The meeting adjourned, and those present agreed to meet again six days later. At that point, the town accepted the report of the committee, and then appointed another committee to "carry the report into Execution." Those present on October 12 agreed to meet again several weeks later, when the financial terms of the settlement were finally agreed upon. The minutes of the meeting, however, don't tell us what the terms were.

Martha, a meticulous accounts keeper, did record the amount finally paid to the Rev. Mr. Foster.

We do, however, find the town meeting voting the following April to "raise 150 pounds" for the purpose of satisfying the obligation given to Mr. Isaac Foster, and for defraying other necessary Town charges."

Foster is dismissed
Meanwhile, however, Isaac Foster's debts were mounting...

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Hallowell Town Records (Original)
Town of Hallowell Officials
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 175 (Oct 6, 1789 mtg)   176 (Oct 6, 1789 mtg)   177 (Oct 12, 1789 mtg) 



folio 175 (October 6, 1789 meeting)

  To Thomas Fillebrown Constable of the Town of Hallowell
25 In the Name of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts you are required forthwith to notify & warn the Inhabitants of said town Qualified by law to vote in Town affairs to meet at the meeting-house in said Town on Tuesday the sixth of October near at two o Clock afternoon for the purpose of considering & acting on the following articles Viz.
1st To choos a moderator for said meeting.
2d-- To see if the Town will join with the Church & Mr. Isaac Foster in calling an Ecclesiastical Council in order for a rehearing of the growth of controversy betwin this Town & Mr.Foster.


To see if the Town will agree to submit all Demands relative to the civil contract between the Town & the said Mr. Foster to referance mutualy chosen for that Purpose

4th To see if the Town will choos a Committee or an agent to manage said Business in behalf of the Town.
5 To act on any other matter relative to Mr.Foster that the Town may think proper.