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 181 (April 5, 1790 meeting)


181. Amos Pollard, Sexton. } Hog reeves { Seth Williams Pound-keeper. }
  Thaddeus Snell James Burton
  Samuel Hussey Ebenezer Perkins
  Jeremiah White
Elvin Nye
  William Hewins Levi Page
  Theophilus Hamlen Benjamin Brown
    Jason Livermore

After choosing Joseph North, William Lithgow, & Lazarus Goodwin, Esquires, a Committee to consider the 4. article in the Warrant, and report- adjourned half an hour to this place.
D. Cony, Moderator.

Met again agreeable to adjournment.

3. The Town taking into consideration the low state of their finances, Voted, Not to raise any money for the purpose of having preaching the ensuing year.

100£ granted
for schools.
Voted, To raise one hundred pounds for the purpose of supporting schools the present year.
Booth for
Voted, To raise three hundred pounds for the purpose of repairing the Highways; and that the same price be allowed for labour as was affixed the last year; viz. four shillings per day for a man, and the same for a yoke of oxen properly equipped; and that one half the work be done on or before the first day of July next, and the other half, on or before the first day of October next.
100 £ for
Town taxes
Voted, That one hundred and fifty pounds be raised for the purpose of satisfying the obligation given to Mr. Isaac Foster, and for defraying other necessary Town charges, the present year.
  4. Upon the report of the Committee appointed for the purpose,
Collector to
give Bonds.
  Voted, That the Collector for the time being shall become bound to the Town, with two sufficient sureties to the acceptances of the Assessors for the time being, in double the sums which may be committed to him to collect, for the faithful performances of the duties incumbent on him by law as Collector; which Bond or Bonds when executed, shall be delivered to the Town-Treasurer for the time being, for the use of the Town. And if any such Collector shall neglect or refuse to enter into such Bonds previous to the delivery of the Bills of assessment to him, the office of Collector shall thenceforth be vacated, and the Town may proceed to a new choice.
to have
6pence in the
£ for collecting
5. Voted, That the Collectors of Taxes be entitled in future, to receive six pence in the pound upon the amount of the Bills which may be committed to them to collect, to be paid them upon their producing receipts in full from the respective Treasurers to whom the said Bills are payable.
Voted, and chose David Jackson Collector of Taxes for the year ensuing.
6. Dismissed.
7. Chose General Wm. Lithgow, Town Agent.
8. Upon the report of the Committee appointed to look out suitable places for Burying yards, Voted, That the Selectmen be empowered to contract for the places mentioned in the said report, or any other grounds proper for Burying places- and report at the next May-Meeting.
9. Chose Ephraim Ballard, Amos Pollard, and Isaac Savage 2d a Committee to petition the