Muscatine County, Iowa
Muscatine Journal & News-Tribune
Centennial Edition
31 May 1940

Section 2 - Page 23, Submitted by Charlene Nichols Hixon, April 3, 2012


Photos of Suel Foster and Mrs. Foster
To Suel Foster, who came to Muscatine in 1836, belongs much of the credit for the establishment of the Iowa State College of Agriculture.

Mr. Foster was the first in the state to take action in favor of such a college and for years urged the matter singlehanded. In 1858 he was pleased to see the Iowa legislature pass a bill setting up the college, this state being the second in the union to provide an institution of this kind.

For six years he was elected director of the institution, five of which he was president of the board. In Muscatine he was owner of the Foster Nursery grounds and performed a worthy service in directing planting of trees and plants in all parts of the state. He was a voluminous writer for horticultural and agricultural papers, besides devoting considerable time to weather statistics, making a regular record of the atmosphere and its phenomena.

He was born at Hillsboro, N. H., Aug. 26, 1811. The family was of English origin, the great grandfather of Mr. Foster, accompanied by two brothers, emigrating to Massachusetts prior to the revolutionary war.

At 20 years of age, Mr. Foster left his parents and started out in life for himself. After living for six years at Rochester, N. Y., he removed to Muscatine county and continued to be of its prominent citizens until his death, Jan. 1, 1886. Mr. Foster’s reputation as a kind-hearted, generous and benevolent man extended throughout the state, and on the day of his death the Old Settlers’ Society of Muscatine convened to honor him. The oldest resident at the time of his death of the city and county, he was eulogized at the meeting as a man “equally distinguished for the virtues and honors of his citizenship.

Mr. Foster’s wife was Sarah J. Hastings of St. Lawrence county, N. Y., whom he married Oct. 8, 1847. She was the sister of S. C. Hastings, who, early in 1849, soon after the discovery of gold in California, made an overland trip to the Pacific coast. During the winter following, at his request, Mr. Foster accompanied the wife and three children of Mr. Hastings to San Francisco. They went by water to the Isthmus of Panama, rode horses across the isthmus, and then re-embarked for San Francisco, arriving in that city in April, 1850, after an arduous journey of three months Mr. Foster spent the summer of that year as clerk in the Sacramento post office, and the following autumn was appointed census taker. In the winter of 1850-51 he returned home. His journey to and from the Pacific slope, together with seven months’ stay in California, formed one of the most interesting periods of his life.

Mr. and Mrs. Foster had two children: Charles, who died in infancy, and Adelle, who died at the age of 17 in December 1870. Mrs. Foster also was the sister of Judge S. C. Hastings. She died Oct. 3, 1907.

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Came West In 1839

Photos of Sheldon N. Candee and Mrs. Sheldon Candee
Sheldon N. Candee, plow and wagon manufacturer nearly a century gone-bye, was associated in the firm of Candee, McMurry & company. Born Oct. 26, 1812, in Connecticut, he married Lucy Starr in Licking county, Ohio, Feb. 27, 1837. Two years later they settled here.

The death of both occurred at Beatrice, Neb., Mrs. Candee died May 14, 1893, and her husband, April 19, 1892.

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Early Druggist, Wife

Photos of Pliny Fay and Mrs. Pliny Fay
Back in the era of 1856 the firm of Fay & Stone was a thriving business establishment in Muscatine, dealing both wholesale and retail in drugs, medicines and chemicals, dye-woods and dye-stuffs, window glass, glassware, perfumery and other sundry articles.

One of the partners was Pliny Fay, born March 4, 1812 in Farmington, Mass. He came here in the year 1837 and on April 1, 1840 married Adelia St. John, a sister of William and Hamilton St. John. She was born in Ludlow, N. Y., on Dec. 22, 1814.

Mr. Fay left Muscatine in the year 1873 and died at Santa Cruz, Calif., Aug. 14, 1886. Mrs. Fay preceded him in death two years.

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Page created April 8, 2012 by Lynn McCleary