Henry True Foster, the well-known first settler of Beardstown yet living, was born on February 3, 1815, in Lincoln county, Maine. He grew up and acquired a practical education at Warren and Newcastle, and when seventeen years of age went to Bangor, Maine, and spent three years in the clothing store of Thomas Furber, the first store of that kind in the city. When twenty years of age he came with his father to Illinois, where they had landed interests. After landing at Meredosia, on the Illinois river, he came to Beardstown, where Mr. Foster has since resided. He has engaged in a variety of occupations, having been a farmer, merchant, manufacturer, grain buyer, packer, and dealer in grain. He was an active business man and was very successful in his many business ventures. He is generous to a fault, and never paused to consider his personal gain or loss if an enterprise was started that was likely to prove a benefit to the city. It was through his personal efforts that the railroads were run to Beardstown. In 1861 he was appointed Postmaster of the place and held the office for seven years, and in 1868 was placed at the head of the municipality of Beardstown. He infused new life into the place by promoting the welfare of the city. He introduced new enterprises, and it is doubtful if there is another citizen of the city who has devoted so much time and energy to the development of that place as Mr. Foster. He has been a prominent Rupublican in politics since the organization of the party. He has been an active worker in that party in local matters. President Lincoln and he were personal friends, and he was a member of the State Central Committee during the second campaign of Mr. Lincoln. He is a member of the Congregational Church of which he is a Deacon and of which he was for years a Trustee. Mr. Foster was one of those who voted for William H. Harrison in 1836 and 1840.
Mr. Foster was married in Beardstown, 1839, to Mary De Haven, of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. She was born, reared and educated in that city and came west when a young woman. She died at her home January 11, 1888, at the age of seventy-seven. She ever proved herself a true and noble wife and mother, and her death was deeply felt by those she left behind her. She left two sons: Edwin C., who married Isabel Dale and who now resides in Waterloo, Iowa; and Robert Harry, who married Emma Logan and they live in Minneapolis, Minnesota. They are both properous young men.
CHARLES E. FULKS, cashier of the Cass County Bank, Beardstown; was born in Beardstown, Feb. 10, 1856, and received a good education in the schools of that place. At the age of twelve years, he entered the office of the Central Illinoisan, where he worked six years. He then engaged as clerk for R. B. Fulks, seven years. In October, 1881, he was elected cashier of the Cass County Bank, which position he has since filled. He was also elected City Clerk of Beardstown, in November, 1881.
COL. JOHN B. FULKS, deceased, was born in Westmoreland County, Virginia, in 1805. His mother died when he was an infant; his father married again, and John B., at the age of eleven years, went to live in Kentucky. He received a good education in Frankfort, Ky., where he learned the printer's trade; he was U.S. Marshal, and a member of the Kentucky Legislature. He came to Beardstown, April 4, 1834, where he worked at his trade; he afterward started a paper in Jacksonville, Ills., thence removed to Rushville, Ills., where he published a paper four or five years, and in 1841, returned to Beardstown. In 1851 he was elected Sheriff of this county; he was the first City Clerk of Beardstown. He married Feb. 26, 1835, Sarah Crewdson, a native of Logan County, Ky., daughter of James and Elizabeth (Bell) Crewdson, natives of Westmoreland county, Va., who came to this county in 1831 from Logan County, Ky.
Mr. Fulks died Nov. 1, 1866, leaving a widow and seven children: Timoleon C., editor of the Marion Co. (Ills.) Enquirer; Richard B., merchant, of this place; Samuel, U.S. Express Messenger in Wright City, Mo.,; Mary, Emma, at home; Charles C., cashier of Cass Co. Bank; and Frank M., clerk in a store. Mrs. Fulks came to Beardstown with her parents in 1831, where she received her education. Richard B. Fulks, second son of Col. John B. and Sarah (Crewdson) Fulks, was born at Rushville, Ills., Feb. 6, 1840. At the commencement of the late war he enlisted in Co. "K," 33d Illinois Infantry, and after serving two and one-half years in the ranks, was commissioned Quartermaster, and served in that capacity till the close of the war. In July, 1872, he opened the Great Western grocery store in Beardstown, but after two months it burned out; entailing a loss to him of $1,000; he then started business in another store, which was also consumed by fire, Nov. 27, 1875; he again started in business, and was again burned out. In August, 1876, he moved to the Opera House Block, where he has since carried on an extensive grocery and dry goods business.
Richard B. Fulks is a retired merchant, living at his pleasant home at Beardstown. He was born at Rushville, Schuyler County, New York, February 6, 1840. This boy grew up under the name of Dick, and has borne that title ever since, being scarcely known by any other title. He is a man who has made his own fortune and carved his own history. His early life was a struggle to acquire book knowledge. During his boyhood days he studied hard and served as clerk as early as fourteen. He was with the firm of Shew & Merriman of Beardstown for some time, and in 1857 he became a clerk for Charse, Rich & Parker, of this city, and was thus engaged until the breaking out of the war. He enlisted August 21, 1861, as private in Company K, Thirty-third Illinois Volunteer Infantry, Captain Lippincott and Colonel Charles Hovey, of Normal, Illinois, in command. In 1862, while encamped at Ironton, Missouri, Mr. Fulks issued for three months a camp journal called the Camp Cricket. This knowledge of newspaper work he had acquired when but yet a boy; and later, in 1860, by working at night and at odd times in the offices of Thompson & Irwin as assistant in publishing The Central Illinoian of Beardstown. After a service of two and a half years as a private Mr. Fulks was commissioned as Quartermaster Sergeant and in that capacity served till the close of the war on the staff of General Lippincott. After serving as a brave soldier he was mustered out and discharged properly and honorably at Springfield, in December, 1865. During the war he was in many engagements, including the burning of the big bridge on the Iron mountain railroad in 1861, later at Frederickstown, Missouri, and afterward did guard work on the Mississippi river, and he saw much active service, but escaped without a scratch. He went through the battles of Vicksburg, Jackson, Mobile and Spanish Point and at Placeo, Texas. While at Meridian, Mississippi, he received a severe sunstroke, from which he has never recovered. The Government remembers him with a pension. When the war closed he laid aside the soldierís habiliments and resumed citizenís dress and returned to Beardstown. He then resumed his mercantile pursuits. The qualities for which Mr. Fulks is noted are grit and push, and as he put them in his business he has made a success of it. He has added to the general welfare of the city, which gives him credit for making it the thriving place it has become. No misfortune ever shocked or worried Dick. He has had three disastrous fires, which in each case represented heavy losses to his stock and his business, but he has pulled through and managed to have a surplus at the bankers, to supply all demands. Hard work and years finally told upon him, he lost his health, and had to retire from active labors in 1887. He has owned and dealt, sometimes quite extensively, in city property.
He was married first, in this city, to Lydia M. McClure, who was born and reared in Cass county and died in Denver, Colorado, April 10, 1878. Her body was brought to this city and interred in Oakland cemetery. She was then in the prime of life, being born about 1843, and was a well educated woman, having been second principal of the school in this city. She was a member of the Congregational Church, and left one daughter, now a well educated young lady, named Inas. He was a second time married, in this city, to Miss Mattie, of Louisville, Kentucky, a bright young woman, who died two years after, and was buried at her old home. He was married a third and last time to Miss Etta Brown, who was born and reared here, but died at the birth of her first child, in 1885. The child is a bright little girl of seven years, named Anna D. He has been a member of I. O. O. F. for some twenty-five years, a member of the Knights of Honor, and one of the promoters and charter members of the G. A. R. order. He has served the city as an Alderman for some time, and has been a member of the Board of Education. He has always been a strong Republican.