Patriot: Solomon Foster  and Henry Shew

Pilot of the United States, beheaded by a cannon-shot from the British steamer, Experiment, at Windmill Point, near Ogdensburg, N. Y.

Contact Les Lambert

Date: May 10, 2006

........Two of my ancestors (that I know of) were involved. Solomon Foster, my GGgranduncle, was killed by a cannonball while piloting the United States during the ferrying of men to the windmill......

Henry Shew, my GGGgranduncle, was captured and transported to Tasmania (Van Diemen's land).

I know virtually nothing of Solomon Foster, other than the circumstances of his death - not even his birthdate. Trying to remedy that, I have attempted to find where he is buried. Since his family was in Ogdensburgh in the 1830 census, and he is written up as a young man from Ogdenburgh in some accounts of the action, I presume he's buried there. But I haven't found any headstone for him in published lists for local cemeteries. (Cemeteries that I have searched on-line are those indexed by Ann Cady, at the St Lawrence County website hosted by Ancestry.com)

I am wondering if anyone in your area knows where Solomon Foster is buried??

Thanks, Les Lambert, Bend, OR


A second letter from Mr. Lambert follows, in part:

“........Solomon Foster is not on your casualties page, but he IS mentioned in the write-up here:

Chapter 11: Patriots Land On Canadian Soil, Excitement At Ogdensburg   The circumstances of his death are mentioned in the 12th paragraph of that page.

“I would agree that Mrs. Cady has done a terrific job with her cemetery listings - the amount of time and effort she must have spent appears staggering. But there are still some smaller cemeteries around Oswegatchie that apparently haven't had headstone inventories put online. I was hoping someone would know of an old paper-based inventory that hasn't been put online yet.....

“In a similar write-up "Reminiscences of Ogdensburgh", there's a bit more detail - see attached pages 68 & 69. Unfortunately, I didn't save the frontispiece of this to enable a proper citation, but it could probably be found again, if necessary. There's also an account of this in Mason's "History of St. Lawrence County" (1894), on page 184.

“In any case, the "Reminiscences" piece told me that the casualty was the younger Solomon Foster, born roughly between 1810-1816, and not his father the elder Solomon Foster (b. abt 1780-1784??), who also became untraceable at about the same time.”

Responding to sitehost’s statement that there was an Edmund Foster on the List of Participants of the Patriot War, Mr. Lambert continued:

“As to Edmund Foster "of Alexandria", I don't think he's related, unless he was Solomon's brother Cyrus (and going by a middle name I've never known). Sophie Dunham Moore wrote up the Foster family (pages 54-57) and did not mention an Edmund. The Fosters were near Fish House (Providence township of Saratoga Co NY) in 1810, near Johnstown (Florida twp of Montgomery Co NY) in 1820, and in Oswegatchie in 1830. Whether they ever lived in Alexandria, I have no idea. Cyrus was born between 1810-1820, so he might have been age 22 in November 1838. But I've found no trace of Cyrus, except in S. D. Moore's write-up, and as inscrutable numbers in the census.

I think the incident might have soured the Foster family on Oswegatchie; the next place I find them is in Hartland, Livingston Co, MI in the 1840 census, with Evalyn (Shew) Foster as head of household, and no Cyrus.....”

Mr. Lambert continued:

“I'd welcome contact with other researchers looking for information on Fosters. (One of my quests is to see if Solomon Foster senior is related to the Nathaniel Foster made famous by James Fennimore Cooper as Natty Bumppo!).....”

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