Tuesday, April 19, 2011

E. Junius Foster - Editor of the Sherman Patriot

E. Junius Foster, Esq. was founder and owner of the Sherman Patriot newspaper until his death in 1863.  Foster died at the hands of James D Young, in revenge for an editorial Foster published applauding the death of Young's father and condemning the Confederacy.

Foster was born about 1812 in North Carolina.  Not much can be found concerning Foster's personal life.  No record has been found of his parents or siblings and it does not appear that he ever married.

In the 1850 Federal Census, Foster is listed as a single man living in Avoyelles, Louisiana.  "Editor" is listed as his occupation.  Avoyelles county is on the Mississippi River.


Source Citation: Year: 1850 United States Federal Census; Census Place:  , Avoyelles, Louisiana; Roll: M432_229; Page: 116A


By 1853, Foster had moved to Texas.  On the 29th of March 1853, the Nacogaches Chronicle newspaper reported, "The Star State Patriot, published at Marshall [Texas], has changed hands, J. Marshall, Esq. retires, and is succeeded by S. H. Parsons, and E. Junius Foster."  At the time, the Patriot was one the only Whig newspapers in Texas.

Foster bought out his partner, Parsons, and in 1856, he acquired a newspaper in Paris, Lamar County, Texas, which was called the "Frontier Patriot."

Texas State Gazette Newspaper, 15 Mar 1856
Foster then moved his press to Sherman and founded the Sherman Patriot in 1858.  He remained a Whig and Unionist in his political views and opposed secession.

Texas State Gazette, 3 Jul 1858
Foster is again listed as a single man in the Grayson County, Texas 1860 Federal Census.  His occupation is Editor.
Source Citation: Year: 1860 United States Federal Census; Census Place: , Grayson, Texas; Roll: M653_1295; Page: 148; Family History Library Film: 805295.  Note: The census taker mistakenly listed Foster as a female.


Starting in 1861, there was increased vigilantism against those who would not support secession, conscription and the Confederacy.  McCaslin states that "During May, 1861, to silence Unionist editor Foster, vandals ruined his press."   After the hangings in Gainesville, Foster published editorials that condemned the hangings of the Unionists and claimed that the murder of Col. William C. Young by Union men was one of the best things that could have happened.  In an act of revenge, Young's son, James, shot and killed Foster.  Young had two other men with him at the time of the murder.


The Handbook of Texas Online, describes the events leading to Foster's death.
"In the first years of the Civil War, Foster's loyalty to the Union cause resulted in an increasingly "radical" reputation for the Sherman Patriot. Using the Patriot as a platform for his views, Foster's paper was derided as "submissionist" for the proposal to demarcate a new state in North Texas for supporters of the Union. In 1862, after an editorial in which he praised the murder of Col. William C. Young by Union men, Foster was confronted by the victim's son, Jim Young, and two other men. When he refused to recant his criticism of Colonel Young and the Confederacy in general, Foster was shot and killed. Although Jim Young confessed twenty-two years later, none of the assassins were jailed."
Randolph Lewis, "SHERMAN PATRIOT," Handbook of Texas Online (http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/ees25), accessed April 15, 2011. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.


See the post about the trial for Foster's murder.

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