John N. Foster

John N. Foster was born in January of 1843 in Wayne County, Michigan, the son of Moses (1817-1888) and Joanna (Starrow or Slarrow, 1819-1857).

Moses immigrated to America from England and in 1838 and married New York native Joanna in Detroit, Wayne County, Michigan. They resided in Wayne County for some years and by 1845 were living in Plymouth but by 1850 had settled in Phelpstown, Ingham County where Moses worked as a shoemaker. Sometime between 1850 and 1857 when Joanna died Moses took his family and settled in Corunna, Shiawassee County where Moses continued to work as a shoemaker. Shortly after Joanna died in June of 1857, Moses married his housekeeper Sarah Miller (b. 1839); they had five children. (According to one family source, while she was on her deathbed Joanna had asked Sarah to marry her husband after she died.)

John was 18 years old and living in Ingham or Shiawassee County when he enlisted in Company B on May 13, 1861. He was wounded in the arm on May 31, 1862, at Fair Oaks, Virginia, and subsequently hospitalized.

One source reported that he died of typhoid fever in the hospital at Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, but according to his “Record of Death and Interment,” in his military service record, John died in Knight military hospital in New Haven, Connecticut on June 15, and was buried the same day in grave no. 4, “old cemetery” (Evergreen Cemetery) in New Haven, listed under “Company B Fifth Michigan infantry.” His headstone notes he was 19 years old when he died and that he was in Company B, Third Michigan infantry. His marker is part of a large collection of headstones surrounding a monument to those soldiers who died in Knight Hospital in New Haven during the war.

In 1870 his father was working as a shoemaker and living in Corunna. In 1887 his father applied for a pension (no. 349748) but the certificate was never granted.

Interestingly, in 1895, Richard Herrington, formerly of Company B and then living in Otisville, Genesee County, printed an inquiry in the Grand Army of the Republic Journal of the 1895 Encampment, seeking the address of one John Foster, Company B, Third infantry, apparently unaware that John had perished during the war.