The Official Story
Chapter 7

Foster's creditors line up to collect

The court records suggest that Foster's creditors attempted to retrieve what he owed them.

In the Lincoln County Court records for 1788, there are records of a Boston merchant attempting to collect a sizeable debt from Foster. Henry Sewall kept tabs on the case in his diary. He records his correspondence with the Boston merchant's attorney, his attendance at the trial in Pownalborough, and his attendance at the appeal, which Foster lost. (Notice that Henry Sewall was in Pownalborough for other reasons, too. His defamation case with Foster was still brewing.)

Looking through the town's property deeds, we find records showing Isaac Foster sold some unimproved property in 1790 for 60 pounds. He'd acquired the same property a couple of years earlier for 200 pounds, but the town treasurer held a mortgage on the property. It seems Foster was being forced to hand over the land because he was unable to raise the funds required to pay off a 30 pound debt.

Martha's diary entries suggest that the local townsfolk were lining up to make their claims against Isaac Foster.

Foster haggles with the town
The evidence suggests that Foster began looking for another job.

Table of Contents

Henry Sewall's Diary
Sewall, Henry
1776 - 1842
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May 24 through May 31, 1788


  May, 1788         Hallowell.
  to Thomas Rice, Jedediah Jewel and George Thatcher esquires. I concluded to stand on legal ground.
Sunday 25. Met at my house.
Monday 26. Fair weather -- which is very agreeable after a long spell of wet --.
  Selectmen, Constable &c. met at the meetghouse & chose two grand jurors, & drew two petit jurors for the Supreme Court.
Tuesday 27. Sent a list of the Marriages solemnized by Mr. Foster (as his return to me) to Esq. Bowman -- as the law directs -- and 1/8 for his fee for recording the same.
Wedsday 28.  
Thursday 29. Recd. a line from Mr. Bridge. Attorney for Lewis Walder in his action against Mr. Foster concerning a note -- enclosing subpenas to sundry persons in this town. Delivered them.
Friday 30. Mr. Blake returned with the deposition of two of the Committee for procuring preaching in the town of Mendon, respecting Mr. Foster's preaching there.
Saturday 31. One Dr. Emerson came here last night to board.
  John Sewall here.