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Judge Foster was a conspicuous figure in the legal circles of Kansas, being for twenty-five years United States judge for the district of Kansas. He was perhaps the youngest man ever appointed to the federal bench, having attained only his thirty-seventh year when he received his commission from President Grant.

Judge Foster was born in 1837, in Webster, Monroe county, New York, and in May, 1859, was admitted to the bar at Batavia, New York, whence he moved soon afterward to Atchison, Kansas. There he was first associated with the firm of Foster Glenn, but in a short time this partnership was dissolved and he started out by himself. He built up a lucrative practice and by 1873 was recognized as one of the leaders of the bar of Kansas. The people of Atchison appreciated his ability and elected him a member of the state senate and afterward the mayor of the city. In March, 1874, he was named for the Kansas federal judgship by President U. S. Grant, who was then serving his second term.

In 1878 he was married to Miss Angie V. Ludington, of Lawrence, Kansas, who was born in Massachusetts. Of this union two daughters were born. In March, 1879, the family removed to Topeka, where the death of Judge Foster took place June 21, 1899, after several years of failing health. Although almost continually an invalid for some time previous to his death, he persisted in attending to his official duties until a special act of congress was passed, in January, 1898, retiring him on full pay. In February, of that year, he resigned and was succeeded by Judge Hoch.

Judge Foster had an eventful career in Kansas, a prominent episode in which was the contest between himself and Joseph K. Hudson, the editor of the Topeka Capital, which covered a period of several years and involved many stanch friends of both combatants. The cause of the trouble was the difference of views on the liquor question, Judge Foster being an anti-Prohibitionist and Mr. Hudson a champion of the liquor law. Both the men wielded pens that were masterly and personalities and invectives were not spared. In political and legal lines the controversy was carried on until after 1895, when it came to an end by Mr. Hudson retiring from the control of the Capital and Judge Foster going abroad for his health.

The independence of thought and action which was a striking characteristic of Judge Foster was shown in an impressive manner when he stumped the state against the Republican party in 1890-91. Although always affiliating with that party he opposed the mixing of prohibition and politics, and when this question was made a state issue by inserting it as a plank in the platform he took the stump against the ticket.

Judge Foster was known as a fair and upright judge and a lawyer of rare attainments. As the interpreter of the complex laws of this country involved in the tedious litigations which appear in the federal court, he attained an enviable reputation in the United States. His decisions were seldom reversed by the United States courts superior to the one over which he presided. He was the judge of the trial of some of the most famous cases in the history of American jurisprudence and at all times was noted for his fairness and integrity. He was conscientious and honorable and a sympathizer with the unfortunate. Of all things he most despised the tricks of the profession and mercilessly scored the lawyer who departed from the prescribed rules of practice and decorum. He was firm in his convictions and undaunted in their defense. An ardent student and a hard worker, he took the utmost pains in every case before him, to ransack the authorities, to weigh the evidence and to rise above prejudices and environments in his decisions. No man in his position ever was more respected and honored than he.

Judge Foster left a fortune of a quarter of a million dollars to his wife and daughters, who occupy a handsome home in Topeka.