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Theodore Foster

In office
June 7, 1790 – March 3, 1803
Preceded by None
Succeeded by Samuel J. Potter

Born 29 April 1752(1752-04-29)
Brookfield, Massachusetts
Died 13 January 1828 (aged 75)
Providence, Rhode Island
Resting place Swan Point Cemetery, Providence, Rhode Island
Political party Federalist
Alma mater The College in the English Colony of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations

Theodore Foster (29 April 1752 – 13 January 1828) was an American politician. He was a member of the Federalist and, later, National Republican Parties. He served as one of the first two United States Senators from Rhode Island and, following John Langdon, served as dean of the Senate. He was the elder brother of Senator Dwight Foster.


Early life

Foster was born in Brookfield, Massachusetts in 1752. His father was Judge Jedediah Foster, who graduated from Harvard University in 1744. He engaged in classical studies at the College in the English Colony of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations (now known as Brown University), graduating in 1770. He then studied law and lived with fellow student Solomon Drowne. He was admitted to the bar association and remained in Rhode Island to practice law. Foster was a protege of Brown University's first chancellor, Chief Justice of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations and revolutionary patriot Stephen Hopkins. Foster married the sister of the future governor of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations Arthur Fenner.[1]

American Revolution

Theodore Foster played a role in the Gaspee Affair of 1775, along with John Brown and others, which helped catalyze events leading to up to the American Revolutionary War. Foster distinguished himself as a staunch supporter of General George Washington and the Federalist cause.

Later life

Until 1790 Foster held various positions in the government of Rhode Island. He was then appointed to the United States Senate, beginning his service on 7 June 1790. Rhode Island's state legislature reappointed him in 1791 and 1797, and he served until 3 March 1803 when he retired from public life to engage in writing and historical research. Foster became a passionate collector of numerous documents relating to colonial Providence. He helped found the Rhode Island Historical Society in 1822. Foster's heirs sold his extensive collection of historical documents to the Society in 1833. Many of these documents are unpublished.

During the latter period, Foster also served as a trustee of Brown University. Foster returned to public life to serve in the Rhode Island state legislature from 1812 to 1816. He lived in the town of Foster, Rhode Island, which was named after him. When Solomon Drowne moved back to Rhode Island he lived on a farm (Mt. Hygeia) next to Foster's. Foster died in 1828.


External links

United States Senate
Preceded by
United States Senator (Class 1) from Rhode Island
Served alongside: Joseph Stanton, Jr., William Bradford, Ray Greene, Christopher Ellery
Succeeded by
Samuel J. Potter

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