Emanuel Baptist Church of San Jose

 Bio-Pen Pictures

residing upon the San Francisco road, about three and a half miles west of Santa Clara, in the Milliken District, is the owner of twenty-five acres of productive land, ten acres of which are devoted to the culture of fruit, consisting principally of peaches, although the orchard also furnishes apricots, apples, pears, and plums. Fifteen acres are planted with vines, which produce different varieties of table grapes, such as the Tokay, Muscat, Cornichon, Black Ferrara, and Black Morocco. This fertile soil is a light adobe, mixed with gravel.

        The subject of this sketch was born in 1822, at Dunham Park, Yorkshire, England. His father, Abraham Foster, was a native of the above-mentioned place, and his mother, Mary (Kay) Foster, was born in Todmerden, Yorkshire County. Joseph's boyhood was spent in acquiring an education, and in mercantile work. He graduated at the Baptist College at his birthplace, and, while yet a youth, became a strong believer in the Christian religion. At the early age of sixteen years he commenced his labor in its cause as a volunteer preacher, and so earnest and successful did he become in this work that he was known far and wide as the "Boy Preacher." At the age of nineteen years he was regularly ordained as a minister of the Baptist Church, and, although still engaged in other pursuits, he officiated regularly in the pulpit.

        In 1843 he was united in marriage with Miss Eliza Crowther, daughter of Richard Crowther, of Yorkshire County, and granddaughter of the Rev. James Aston, of Lockwood, Yorkshire, England: In the same year he left his mercantile business, and engaged in clerical and statistical work for railroad companies and other corporations. This work he continued until 1845, when he came to the United States. Landing at New York, he proceeded to Illinois, and took up his residence on a farm about ten miles from Elgin. Here he commenced a career as a pioneer farmer and preacher, ever being a most active and earnest worker in the cause of Christianity, as well as in the establishment of schools and in all enterprises that tended to elevate the moral standard of that pioneer day.

        During the five years that he spent here he preached the gospel nearly every Sunday, being compelled to hold his services in log school-houses, barns, and often in the open air. In 1850 he removed to Clinton County, Iowa, where he continued his labors, both temporal and spiritual, ever to the front with open hand and ready assistance for the sick, needy, and distressed. Always in the advance guard of civilization, he changed his residence, in 1879, to Cherokee County, Kansas, where he continued his work as a farmer and a minister. In the year following his removal to Kansas, he suffered a severe misfortune in the visitation of a cyclone, which destroyed all his buildings, including his house, and all his farm implements and machinery, the family barely escaping from the wreck with their lives. This severe loss was met with the fortitude and patience of the Christian. Soon afterward Mr. Foster came to California, and established his residence upon the farm which he now occupies, and which he intends to make his home during his declining years. Since his coming to this county, he has manifested a deep interest in all that pertains to the growth and development of the section in which he lives, as well as in the education and morals of the community. He was one of the organizers and founders of the Emanuel Baptist Church of San Jose, serving as a pulpit supply until the regular pastor was installed. It is a fact to be noted as indicative of the man's unselfish character and disinterested motives, that through all his ministerial life and labors he has received for his services no compensation save that of the consciousness of good deeds performed. That by his devoted labor much good was effected, cannot be doubted when one remembers the great need of Christian services, and the great difficulty in procuring them in the pioneer settlements of forty years ago. He may well be content to spend his remaining years in his pleasant home, feeling sure of his Master's "well done " at the close of a life devoted to that Master's cause.

        Four children have been born to Mr. and Mrs. Foster: Richard C., aged (in 1888) forty years; William A., married and residing at Laporte, Iowa; Mary Jane, the wife of Dell C. Scott, of Delaware County, Iowa; and Arthur, who married Miss Ella Hamilton, of Indiana.

Pen Pictures From The Garden of the World or Santa Clara County, California, Illustrated. - Edited by H. S. Foote.- Chicago:  The Lewis Publishing Company, 1888.

Pg. 559-560


SANTA CLARA COUNTY The Valley of Heart's Delight