Bio: Foster, Nathaniel C. (1914)


Surnames: Foster, Pickering, Poster, Stearn, Wilson, Winslow, Duncan, Thomas, Hollenberg

----Source: History of Eau Claire County Wisconsin (1914) pages 712-713

Nathaniel C. Foster, one of the well-known business men of northwestern Wisconsin, a resident of Fairchild, Eau Claire county, was born in Owego, Tioga county, N. Y., June 6, 1834, and is descended from prominent New England ancestors, the son of Willard and Lovicea (Pickering) Poster. He attended the common schools of his native county and in 1854 came to Wisconsin and located at Fort Howard, now Green Bay. After his arrival there he worked for a short time in a saw mill, then purchased an interest in the mill and engaged in the lumber business on his own account, remaining there for some twenty-five years. In 1876 he moved to Fairchild and purchased large tracts of timber land in Eau Claire and Clarke counties, the timber from this land furnishing the supply for his large mills at Fairchild, which were erected in 1877 at an outlay of $100,000. The plant had a capacity of 125,000 feet of timber daily, besides 14,000,000 shingles and 6,000,000 lath per season, and employed a force of 250 men. In July, 1891, his various interests were incorporated under the name of the N. C. Foster Lumber Company, with a fully paid-up capital of $500,000, N. C. Foster, president, and his two sons, E. J. Foster and G. A. Foster, vice-president, secretary and treasurer, and continued in this business until 1906. The company also carried on a general merchandise business, which was later sold to the Farmers' Mutual Trading Company and which was incorporated in 1903 with Mr. Foster president. He is also president of the Farmers' Co-operative Supply Company, located at Greenwood, Clark county, which has been in operation since 1898. He is also president of the First National Bank of Fairchild, of which he is the founder. This institution was established with a capital of $25,000; its assets are now $227,000 and its deposits $183,455, surplus $5,000.

Mr. Foster is one of few if not the only man in the United States who ever built a railroad without mortgaging it for a single dollar. In 1882 he built forty-five miles of railroad from Fairchild to Mondovi, which he used for hauling logs, and was the first road devoted to that purpose built in Wisconsin; it was chartered in 1886 and afterwards sold, and is now known as the Mondovi branch of the St. Paul, Minneapolis & Omaha railroad. His original log railroad, consisting of thirty-eight miles from Fairchild to Owen, where it connects with the Soo railroad, put in operation in 1905, was built by Mr. Foster for the N. C. Foster Lumber Company. In 1913 Mr. Foster began the building of an extension of the Fairchild & Northeastern railroad from Fairchild to Cleghorn, a distance of twenty-eight miles. In addition to his many other enterprises Mr. Foster is largely interested in the real estate, selling lands to actual settlers for the N. C. Foster Company, which are mostly located in Clark county, Wisconsin. These lands are principally sold to a thrifty class of Slavic people. Mr. Foster is a man of excellent character, pleasing personality, and readily wins the good will and holds the confidence of those who come within the range of his influence. He is a man of genial, social temperament, loyal to his friends and true to whatever is noble and best in life, and to this, as well as his fair and honorable business methods and sound business principles, is due his success. He was married in 1859 at Green Bay, Wis., to Miss Esther Stearn, and to them were born seven children, viz: Gilbert A.; Edward J.; Sarah, who married Cassaius Wilson; Carrie and Clara, twins; Willard, and Grace M. Carrie married George Winslow; Clara married Duncan, and Grace M. married Henry Thomas, second husband Hollenberg, now living in Los Angeles, Cal., a widow.



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