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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 179 (Apr 5, 1790 mtg)     181 (Apr 5, 1790 mtg) 



folio 179 (April 5, 1790 meeting)

  Lincoln Ss. To Capt. Thomas Fillebrown, Constable of the Town of Hallowell,
L.S. Greeting.

Warrant for annual meeting

In the name of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, you are hereby required forthwith to notify and warn the Inhabitants of said Town qualified by law to vote in Town affairs, to meet at the Meetinghouse in said Town, on Monday the fifth day of April next, at nine of the Clock in the morning, then and there to act on the following articles, Viz.

  1. 1. To choose a Moderator.
  2. To choose all such Town Officers, as the Law directs shall be chosen in the months of March or April annually.
  3. To grant such sums of money as the Town shall think proper, for to hire preaching, for the support of schools, for the repairing of the roads and highways, and for the other necessary charges of the Town.
  4. To determine what the Town will deem sufficient security to be given by the Collectors of Taxes in future.
  5. To determine what premium shall be given for collecting Taxes.
  6. To choose a Committee to procure preaching in this Town the ensuing year.
  7. To choose some person as an Agent for the Town.
  8. To hear the report of the Committee that were appointed to look out suitable places for Burying-yards.
  9. To see if the Town will take any measures to obtain an alteration of the road on the west side the river from Lot No. 8, to Lot No. 12; and to choose a Committee to apply to the Court of General Sessions of the Peace; for that purpose, if the Town think proper.
  10. To hear the report of the Committee that was appointed to look out a Ministerial lot.
  11. To see if the Town will allow the Swine to go at large the ensuing year, being yoked and ringed according to law.

And you are in like manner required to warn the Inhabitants of said Town, qualified by the Constitution to vote for a Governor, to meet at said Meeting house on the first Monday of April next at one o'clock afternoon, to give in their votes to the Selectmen for a Governor, Lieutenant Governor, and a Senator for the County of Lincoln, for the year ensuing.
Hereof fail not; and make return of this Warrant with your doings herein unto us, or either of us, at or before the time of said Meetings. Given under our hands and seat, this third day of March, in the year of our Lord, One thousand seven hundred and ninety.

  Joseph North } Selectmen
  James Carr of
  Daniel Cony Hallowell