Copyright notice

This article is from the Dictionary of North Carolina Biography, 6 volumes, edited by William S. Powell. Copyright ©1979-1996 by the University of North Carolina Press. Used by permission of the publisher. For personal use and not for further distribution. Please submit permission requests for other use directly to the publisher.

Printer-friendly page
Average: 3.6 (7 votes)

Foster, Francis

by J. Marshall Bullock, 1986

d. after 1735

Francis Foster, colonial Council member, was the son of William and Margaret Foster of Accomack, Va. The earliest record of Foster in North Carolina occurs in January 1689, when one Anthony Dawson successfully brought suit against him in the Perquimans Precinct court to recover a carpenter's adz. Foster served as a justice on the Perquimans Precinct court from January to October 1700 and again in 1702 and 1703. He is recorded as being a member of the Council from 1705 until 1710, but it was not until 10 Aug. 1714 that he presented to the Council his appointment as deputy for Lord Proprietor John Dawson. Foster served on the Council or upper house of the Assembly as Dawson's deputy from 1714 until 1725. When Dawson died in 1724, leaving his proprietorship entangled in legal affairs, the other Lords Proprietors appointed Foster to the Council where he served until 1731. While on the Council, he was involved in such issues as the "Six Confirmed Laws," which codified all statutes prior to 1715 not deemed obsolete; legislation in 1715 for establishing the Anglican church in the colony; and the proceedings concerning the running of the dividing line between North Carolina and Virginia in 1728.

Perquimans Precinct court records reveal that in January 1697 Foster proved headrights for William Foster, Frances Foster, Jane Swetman, and a Negro woman, but the relation between them and Foster is not known. On 14 Aug. 1694 Foster married Mrs. Hannah Gosby, widow of John Gosby. In 1699 Thomas Hallon, an orphan, was bound to Foster and his wife until he came of age. Foster was an Anglican, being appointed a vestryman in Perquimans Parish in 1715. The last reference to Foster was made in June 1735, when he was listed as being in arrears of his quitrent from September 1729 to March 1732 on 186 acres in Perquimans Precinct.


John L. Cheney, Jr., ed., North Carolina Government, 1585–1974 (1975).

Walter Clark, ed., State Records of North Carolina, vols. 22–23 (1907, 1904).

J. Bryan Grimes, ed., Abstract of North Carolina Wills (1910).

J. R. B. Hathaway, ed., North Carolina Historical and Genealogical Register, vol. 3 (1903).

Mattie Erma E. Parker, ed., Colonial Records of North Carolina, Higher-Court Records, 1697–1701, vol. 3 (1971).

William S. Price, Jr., ed., Colonial Records of North Carolina, Higher-Court Records, 1702–1708, vol. 4 (1974), and 1709–1723, vol. 5 (1977).

William L. Saunders, ed., Colonial Records of North Carolina, vols. 1–3 (1886).

Mrs. Watson Winslow, History of Perquimans County (1931).

Additional Resources:

Foster, Francis. "Deposition of Francis Foster concerning the election of North Carolina General Assembly representatives, April 14, 1749." Colonial and State Records of North Carolina volume 4. 1169-1170. Documenting the American South, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. (accessed August 8, 2013).

Minutes of the Perquimans Precinct Court January 11, 1704 - January 12, 1704." Colonial and State Records of North Carolina volume 01. 604-607. Documenting the American South, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. (accessed August 8, 2013).

Origin - location: 

Add a comment

PLEASE NOTE: NCpedia provides the comments feature as a way for viewers to engage with the resources. Comments are not published until reviewed by NCpedia editors at the State Library of NC, and the editors reserve the right to not publish any comment submitted that is considered inappropriate for this resource. NCpedia will not publish personal contact information in comments, questions, or responses. If you would like a reply by email, note that some email servers, such as public school accounts, are blocked from accepting messages from outside email servers or domains. If you prefer not to leave an email address, check back at your NCpedia comment for a reply. Please allow one business day for replies from NCpedia. Complete guidelines are available at