Flavel W. Foster Papers

Manuscript Collection #93
Foster, Flavel W., 1840-1902
Physical description
0.215 Cubic Feet, 35 items , correspondence, commissions, certificates, clippings, legal papers, and a scrapbook.
Preferred Citation
Flavel W. Foster Papers (#93), East Carolina Manuscript Collection, J. Y. Joyner Library, East Carolina University, Greenville, North Carolina, USA.
ECU Manuscript Collection
No restrictions

Papers (1752-1914) including correspondence, certificates, clippings, legal papers, scrapbook, postcard signed only "Ex Reb", passport, newspapers.

Biographical/historical information

Flavel W. Foster (1840-1902) was born in Canton, Pennsylvania, and was with the Union Army during its operations on the North Carolina coast, including the Battle of Fort Fisher in 1865. After the war he remained in North Carolina and became a prominent merchant of Bladen and New Hanover counties. Foster was a Republican member of the North Carolina legislature from Bladen County during Reconstruction and was active in the local affairs and politics of Wilmington. He was elected to the Wilmington board of aldermen in 1878 and chairman of the New Hanover County commissioners in 1896. He was a partner in a company that manufactured doors, sash blinds, staircases, moldings, etc., and had a heavy trade with the British West Indies and Bermuda. Foster died in 1902.

Scope and arrangement

The correspondence of Flavel W. Foster covers the period from 1868 to 1902 and includes a letter (1868) from Adjutant General A. M. Fisher informing Foster of his commission as Senior Captain of the North Carolina Volunteer Militia. A letter (1869) from Joseph William Holden, son of Governor William Holden and house speaker of the 1869 North Carolina General Assembly, expresses thanks to Generals Estes and Laflin and Messrs. John French and Flavel Foster for their testimonial. There are two notes (1870) from Robert H. Lyon demanding that Foster retract a statement he made about Lyon. A post card sent to Foster in 1896 and signed only "Ex Reb" speculates that a cannon ball found imbedded in a tree by Foster's sawmill employees was fired by a Yankee in 1865 while in pursuit of General Hoke and his Confederate Army.

A scrapbook contains additional correspondence including a letter written by Foster addressed only to "Dear Sir" and later referred to as "the representative of the business men" of Wilmington. In this letter Foster refers to the election of 1898 in Wilmington, urging that representative businessmen be nominated on the Republican ticket for the legislature. Also in the scrapbook is a letter (1879) of introduction of Foster from C.H. Robinson to the produce exchanges and boards of trade of Richmond, Petersburg, and Norfolk, Virginia. Foster was to make arrangements with those cities for the establishment of the American Union Telegraph Company lines there.

Additional material in the scrapbook includes Foster's passport (1894) to the Dominican Republic, a sample (1880) of a written agreement between a subscribing city and the American Union Telegraph Company, and a doctor's list (1752) of charges for the delivery of babies.

Miscellaneous items in the collection include a paper (undated) describing the arrangements under which F. W. Foster and Company would furnish white labor; Union Army enlistment papers (1862) of Foster; a special order (1864) from the Quartermaster Department of the Union Army concerning the issuing of forage for horses; a certification (1865) of Foster's appointment as a relief agent for the United States Sanitary Commission of the Union Army; a certificate (1868) of Foster's appointment as postmaster of Yorkville in Bladen County; and Foster's captain's and lt. colonel's commissions in the North Carolina Militia (1868, 1869). Additional miscellany includes a deed (1868) for land purchased in New Hanover County; a Superior Court brief (1871) in which Flavel Foster was charged by Daniel Connor with violating guardianship; a proposal for a new water works for the city of Wilmington (1880); a copy of Foster's will (1896); two photographs of male individuals, including one identified as being Flavel W. Foster in 1860; and a report listing bills paid by Foster for April 1870 - April 1871.

Newspaper clippings in the collection refer to Foster's activities in New Hanover County politics and to Foster's death.

The oversize folder contains an issue of the Wilmington, N.C., Morning Star for April 26, 1908.

Administrative information
Custodial History

May 31, 1969, 35 items; Papers (1752-1902), including correspondence, commissions, certificates, clippings, legal papers, and a scrapbook. Deposited by Mr. D. Russell Foster, Kinston, N.C.

July 10, 1975, 3 items; Papers include two photographs and a financial account (1870-1871). Deposited by Mr. D. Russell Foster, Kinston, N.C.

Source of acquisition

Gift of Mr. D. Russell Foster

Processing information

Processed by D. Lennon

Encoded by Apex Data Services

Copyright notice

Literary rights to specific documents are retained by the authors or their descendants in accordance with U.S. copyright law.

Key terms
Personal Names
Foster, Flavel W., 1840-1902
Corporate Names
United States. Army--History--Civil War, 1861-1865
Elections--North Carolina--Wilmington
Reconstruction (U.S. history, 1865-1877)
Bladen County (N.C.)--Politics and government--19th century
Wilmington (N.C.)--Politics and government--19th century

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