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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 172 (May 4, 1789 mtg)   173 (May 4, 1789 mtg)   174 (May 4, 1789 mtg) 



folio 172 (May 4, 1789 meeting)


Hallowell Viz. To Thomas Fillebrown, Constable of said town,


In the name of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, you are hereby required forthwith to notify and warn the inhabitants of said town, qualified to vote for a Representative to meet at the Meeting House in said town, on Monday the fourth day of May next, at one o' clock, afternoon, To choose a person to represent the town in the General Court to be holden at Boston, the last Wednesday of May next -- also

To choose a Moderator,

2d To choose a Agent, if the Town thinks proper.
3d To see if theTown will limit the time in which the Collectors of taxes shall application for any abatements thereof.
4th To see if the Town will pass any vote respecting the assessment of the settlement that was granted Mr. Foster.
5th To see if the Town will choose a Committee to confer with Mr. Foster on his proposals for a final settlement with the Town , and act thereon as the Town shall think proper. Hereof fail not & make return hereon to us, or either of us at or before the time said meeting. Given under our hands & seal this fourteenth day of April in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred & eighty nine.
Joseph North } Selectmen of Hallowell.
James Carr
D. Cony
  Lincoln Ss. Hallowell, May 2d 1789.

By virtue of this Warrant, I have notified the inhabitants of the said town of Hallowell qualified as mentioned in said to meet at the time & place directed in said Warrant Viz. at the Meeting house in said town by posting a true copy of the warrant at the said Meeting house door fifteen days at least before the Time set forth in said Warrant agreeable to a vote of the Town.
Thomas Fillebrown, Constable of Hallowell.

Thomas Fillebrown } Constable of Hallowell.