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Charles A. Foster misc. collection

Creator: Foster, Charles A. (Charles Amos), 1827-1900

Date: 1855-1896

Level of Description: Coll./Record Group

Material Type: Manuscripts

Call Number: Misc.: Foster, Charles A.

Unit ID: 41581

Biographical sketch: Kansas antislavery activist, customs inspector. Of Osawatomie, Kan.; Boston.

Abstract: The collection contains information on the Osawatomie, Kan., area and early Kansas history. Included is a copy of a call to arms for the "Wakarusa war" of 1855; James Henry Lane's comments on political support during the Kansas territorial period, the 1858 election, the Lecompton Constitution, & his canvass as a U.S. senator; a circular from the Kansas Union Club; information on the donation of a lot for the monument to John Brown in Osawatomie; and Charles A. Foster's comments on histories of Kansas. Correspondents include F. G. Adams, S. J. Crawford, James Henry Lane, William A. Phillips, S. C. Pomeroy, and Augustus Wattles.

Space Required/Quantity: 1 folder

Title (Main title): Charles A. Foster misc. collection

Titles (Other):

  • Foster, Charles A.
  • Charles A. Foster papers


Biog. Sketch (Full):

Charles Amos Foster was born on August 25, 1827, in Boston, Massachusetts. He attended public school, and in 1841 he joined the U.S. Navy. In 1845 he left the navy and joined the Mercantile Marine, where he served until 1847. He then worked as the head of the mail and distribution department of the Boston weekly journal known as the Carpet-bag. In 1851 Foster attended the “Dane Law School” at Harvard University, graduating in 1853, and two years later he was admitted to the bar. In March 1855 he married and shortly thereafter moved to Kansas Territory.

While in Kansas he made his home at Osawatomie. It was there that he helped to organize the Free State Party, his political goal being to create a prosperous state free of the institution of slavery. As an influential free-state supporter, he was appointed in October 1855 as the assistant secretary to the Topeka Constitutional Convention. In early 1856, a proslavery grand jury indicted him and other free-state men on the charge of conspiring against the peace and dignity of the territory of Kansas. He and the others managed to evade capture, however, and Foster continued to serve as a member of the Topeka-based legislature until July 4, 1856, when U.S. military forces under the command of Colonel Edwin V. Sumner forcefully dispersed the assembly. Foster remained committed to the free-state cause throughout his remaining time in Kansas.

By the autumn of 1860 the free-state forces had a secure hold over political affairs in Kansas. This prompted Foster to move back to Massachusetts. Upon his return to Boston, he served for many years as inspector of customs at the port. He remained actively involved in political affairs, particularly those of the city of Boston. After a severe illness he died at his daughter’s home at East Walpole, Massachusetts, on March 19, 1900.

["Charles Amos Foster, 1827-1900," Territorial Kansas Online, 1854-1861, website: https://territorialkansasonline.ku.edu/index.php?SCREEN=bio_sketches/foster_charles (accessed 20 July 2021).

Scope and Content


Locator Contents
008-08-05-06  Charles A. Foster misc. collectionl 


Finding Aid Bibliography: ["Charles Amos Foster, 1827-1900," Territorial Kansas Online, 1854-1861, website: https://territorialkansasonline.ku.edu/index.php?SCREEN=bio_sketches/foster_charles (accessed 20 July 2021).

Index Terms


    Kansas. Constitutional Convention (1857)
    United States. Congress. Senate
    Kansas Union Club
    Kansas -- Historiography
    Kansas -- History -- 1854-1861
    Kansas Territory
    Kansas Territory -- Politics and government
    Miami County (Kan.)
    Osawatomie (Kan.)
    Brown, John, 1800-1859 -- Monuments -- Kansas -- Osawatomie
    Foster, Charles A. (Charles Amos), 1827-1900
    Lane, James Henry, 1814-1866
    Antislavery movements -- Kansas
    Elections -- Kansas Territory
    Borderlands -- Kansas
    Borderlands -- Missouri
    Legislators -- Kansas
    Legislators -- United States

Creators and Contributors

Additional Information for Researchers

Cite as: Charles A. Foster misc. ms. collection, State Archives, Kansas Historical Society.


General Note: Collection (Misc.: Foster, Charles A).