The Bethel Journals

Enoch Foster, Jr.

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In April 7, 1880, Enoch Foster’s father-in-law, Robert A. Chapman, died.  Robert Chapman lived in the Broad Street house built by O’Neil W. Robinson.  Less than two weeks later,  Sarah Chapman Foster gave birth to the couple’s only child, a son, Robert Chapman Foster, born April 19, 1880. In July 1881, the Fosters sold their home on Main Street to Josiah U. Purington and moved to the Robinson/Chapman house on Broad Street.  For the time being, Enoch Foster’s law office building remained on its Main Street lot.  Foster had an agreement with Purington that he had one year to move the building.

In 1883, Bethel’s Grand Army of the Republic veterans made a second attempt to establish a GAR post for Bethel.  Brown Post No. 84 was chartered on August 23rd that year. Enoch Foster was elected Commander of the new post which was named for the memory of Harlan Page Brown who was killed at the battle of Antietam and for his brother, William H.H. Brown, who had died while serving in the department of the Gulf (Page 407, William Lapham’s History of Bethel).

Maine Supreme Court Appointment

On March 24, 1884 Governor Robie appointed Enoch Foster, 45, to a seven year term on the Maine Supreme Judicial Court as an Associate Justice.  (Maine’s highest court is also known as a Law Court when  sitting as an appellate court.)  Foster’s out of town court duties were often in the Bethel weekly news reported by the Democrat and Advertiser.  Some examples are:  January 1887, Judge Foster and his family leave Bethel for Saco where the judge holds the January term of court for York County.   March 1890, Judge Foster is at court in Skowhegan.  July 1891, Judge Foster is attending Law Court in Portland; his family is with him.  Judge Foster met with the full bench of Supreme Justices of Maine at Augusta this week, December 1891.

Now that he was a Judge on the state’s highest court, Bethel correspondents probably followed his activities closely.  In May of 1891 it was reported that Judge Enoch Foster received a large Penobscot River salmon by express from Messrs F.H.C. Reynolds and Co., bankers in Bangor.  On July 24, 1891 at a meeting of the Maine Historical Society at Brunswick, Judge Enoch Foster was  elected a Resident member. 

After the judge’s law office building had been moved from Main Street to Broad Street, the Bethel Savings Bank moved with the law office.  In  July 1886 the Oxford County Democrat’s Bethel correspondent, probably Abial Chandler, Jr., reported the following:

The treasurer of the Bethel Savings Bank showed us the “true inwardness” of the new thousand dollar safe recently. We think any honorable burglar would hesitate in front of this technological marvel.  The new safe manufactured by the Damon Safe and Iron Works Company. The safe weighs six tons and was hauled from the depot and landed on the foundation in the building by Jason S. Bartlett.  The vault is locked by one of Sargent and Greenleaf’s time locks.




Judge Enoch Foster’s Law Office and Bethel Savings Bank circa 1890.  (Notice that a fence encircled the Common at that time and the Foster lawn along Broad Street is also fenced. )   The photograph of the above building is a cropped photograph of the book cover of Bethel, Maine: An Illustrated History by Randall Bennett, 1991, The Bethel Historical Society.

Public Water Supply for Bethel

In July 1888, Enoch Foster, William Skillings and Samuel Philbrook sought the advice of Albert Stanwood of Waterford about securing a public water supply for Bethel Hill village. In 1887, Mr. Stanwood had retired after thirty-six years with the Water Department of Boston, had built the Chestnut Hill Reservoir (Boston) and had been superintendent of the Eastern and Western Division of the water works.  As a result of this consultation, the Chapman Brook water source was selected.  Judge Foster and Addison Herrick were corporators of the water company at the time of its incorporation, February 16, 1889.  Enoch Foster was elected President of the Bethel Water Company at its first meeting, February 18, 1890; he was re-elected annually through 1903.

Bethel Savings Bank Moves to Cole Block—December 1891

By the first week of December, the new Cole Bros. building (Main St.) was sufficiently completed that the Bethel Savings Bank could move in.  News for the second week of December reported that Judge Foster was thoroughly renovating his offices since the Bethel Savings Bank had moved into their newly rented office in the Cole Block.  Fred and Scott Robinson have painted and papered the judge’s office.






1 Judge Foster  Robert C Foster  3  Mrs. Robert A (Frances C.) Chapman

     4  Addison Herrick   5 Mrs. Sarah Foster   6  Mary C (Mrs. Addison) Herrick

Click Photo to Enlarge

Photograph was copied from one printed in Bethel, Maine  An Illustrated History by Randall Bennett.  It has been cropped from the original that is shown in the book and reference numbers were added.  Enoch and Sarah Foster owned the building at the time this photo was taken. The house is now the Bethel Historical Society’s headquarters on Broad Street.  Date of the photo was given in Bennett’s book as 1884—the year Foster was appointed to a seat on Maine’s Supreme Judicial Court.  Robert C. Foster, the boy, was four years old.

Hon. Enoch Foster

Associate Justice

Maine Supreme Judicial Court





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