Foster Preservation Society

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The Foster Preservation Society maintains a large collection of documents and artifacts related to the history of Foster including:


Nearly one thousand (1000) documents and photographs.


A growing collection of audio and video interviews with current and past residents (see below).


A large slide collection available for presentation to community groups (see below).


Copies of maps dating from 1799.  Maps are on sale through our Online Gift Shop.


Tax lists dating from 1870.  Scrapbooks dating from the early 20th century to the present.


Complete collection of implements used/displayed in our Winsor Blacksmith Shop.


Genealogical records of Foster families.



The Society has recently added some audio files recorded in the past with some older residents.  We will continue to add more of these as they are converted from old tapes to a digital format.
We are also embarking on some interviews of current residents who will speak of events in their lives here in Foster.  These are intended to provide background for anyone who might be interested in Foster's evolution and the circumstances that shaped the town into what it is today.  These are both audio and video.
The links below will connect to the appropriate files which can be played on line or downloaded to your computers for later viewing or listening.  We hope that you will find these interesting and in some cases educational.


PLEASE NOTE:  The opinions expressed in the audio and video recordings below are solely the opinion of the person speaking and do not reflect the opinions or positions of the Foster Preservation Society.


Audio recordings



Video Recordings



The Flora Young Scrapbook

One important item in our collection is an old scrapbook kept by Flora (Place) Young, mother of Willoughby Young.  Flora Belle Place was born April 11, 1866 to Aaron and Hannah (Wood) Place.  Flora assembled one of the earliest records of cemetery inscriptions in the Town of Foster and a few of the adjoining communities.  She had to get around using horse and buggy which was slow going on the roads of the time.  This scrapbook contains extensive genealogical data recorded by Flora.  You can see the scrapbook by clicking on the link above.




The Marilyn Labbe Transcripts

As all of you are aware, being a small rural community, Foster didn't have a newspaper of its own, and so lacked any organized documented history. The Society has, for a number of years, been fortunate to have members willing to clip news articles pertaining to Foster from local and regional publications and paste them into scrapbooks.  However, in the last few years, no specific person hasbeen dedicated to saving these items although we do have had a number of scrapbooks donated with old articles as well as some complete newspapers.

Enter Marilyn Labbe.  We first became acquainted with Marilyn as a member of the Killingly Historical Society where she had been very active for many years.  Killingly has a larger facility and a much larger library than we do here in Foster.  Marilyn researches old newspapers, such as the Windham County Transcript, and when she finds articles regarding Foster she transcribes them and sends them to the Society.  There are many articles that are fascinating and some that are mundane however thay are all interesting and spark our natural curiosity to research some more. of our history.  We have recently compiled the articles that Marilyn transcribed from 1935 and 1936 into a document that is now being made available on this website.  To view the Marilyn Labbe by clicking on the link shown above.                             

Historical Written Correspondence

The Civil war letter - A. A. Winsor

Albert A. Winsor was born in 1843 and died December 13, 1862.  He was a member of the 7th RI Volunteers, Company K.  He was killed at the battle of Fredericksburg a scant 2 months after writing this letter.  There is a memorial stone in the Winsor cemetery on Winsor Road.  His father was Ira Winsor who lived in the house at the sharp bend by the Winsor Brook bridge.  You can click on the link above to see the letter in its entirety.

The Ram Tail Mill 


One version of the story of the haunted Ram Tail Mill can be found at the following link:

A Haunted Mill, a Freemason, and a Ghost


Photo Galleries


We have thousands of current and historical photos available to you here on this website.  We invite you to view our various photo galleries.  Please click the appropriate link listed below:



Foster Center          Moosup Valley          Hopkins Mills          Clayville



Foster School Houses          Cindy Mellor-Neale Photograph Collection



A Collection of Foster Barn Photographs - This collection of barn photos was taken by Ernie Ross, Janet White and Ed Robinson in June 2010



Walter Drown(e) Photo Collection - On Wednesday, July 26, 2017, the Society received 44 glass negatives that were from the collection of Walter Drown(e).  These images which are all circa 1910, are digitized and are available by clicking on the above link.  These images, which were saved when the Drown(e) Estate was auctioned off, were a gift from Susan Sweetland who is a member of the Ross/Paine family.  We hope you will take a few minutes to view these images of Foster's past.



Mt. Vernon Tavern Barn - Two of the images located in FPS Collection box #7 are of the old Mount Vernon Tavern on Plainfield Pike and the huge barn formerly located across the road to the south.  The Scoiety had made note of the barn's original foundation while documenting a nearby cemetery, but never knew what had become of the building.  It was assumed that it had burned or been torn down.  Originally this barn was used to house horses for stages and wagons traveling this highway between Providence and Plainfield Connecticut, a place to swap out for fresh teams.  From the size of the foundation, it had have been one of the largest barns in Foster.  You can imagine our surprise when we found a notation that the barn had been MOVED!!!  The barn is now located on the grounds of the Coventry Pines Golf Course on Harkney Hill Road in Coventry.  A check on Google Earth revealed that it was there and still standing.  And so on Thursday, July 7, 2017 unnamed curiosity seeking members took a field trip to the Golf Course and there it was.  The barn, unfortunately, is in generally poor condition.  Structurally it appears sound but the exterior has been allowed to deteriorate.  The GPS coordinates for the building for any who may be interested are 41.671318 N and -71.635115 W, it can be viewed on Google Earth.  The barn appears to have been built in two sections.  The current overall dimensions are 112 ft. long by 43 ft. deep at its widest point.  What we guess is the original structure, with the double doors opening in a gable end, 42 ft. wide by 43 ft. deep and the additional long side is 65 ft. long by 30 ft. deep.  The foundation upon which it is sitting is poured concrete.  When looking at the foundation from the inside it is apparent that the foundation was poured in many small batches.  Moving this barn must have been quite a project when it was undertaken.  We have seen houses jacked up and moved but nothing approaching the size of this structure.   We suppose it could have been disassembled and reconstructed at the current site, but can't imagine how it was more economical moving this structure as opposed to building a new barn at the site.


Slide Collections


The Foster Preservation Society currently has fourteen separate slide collections posted online.  These collections contain thousands of photos from Foster's past.  To access our collections please click on the link shown below.


Access to Slide Collections


Post Card Collections

See an historical collection of over 100 postcards from Foster's past.  It just might surprise you to see what you recognize.


Post Card Collection #1




Foster Preservation Society

P.O. Box 51

Foster, RI 02825

Phone (401) 397-5687