|United States Senator
from Rhode Island
June 7, 1790 – March 4, 1803
|Succeeded by||Samuel J. Potter|
April 29, 1752|
Brookfield, Province of Massachusetts Bay
|Died||January 13, 1828
Providence, Rhode Island, U.S.
|Resting place||Swan Point Cemetery, Providence, Rhode Island|
|Alma mater||The College in the English Colony of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations|
Theodore Foster (April 29, 1752 – January 13, 1828) was an American politician. He was a member of the Federalist Party and later the National Republican Party. He served as one of the first two United States Senators from Rhode Island and, following John Langdon, served as dean of the Senate. He was the elder brother of Senator Dwight Foster.
Foster was born in Brookfield, Massachusetts in 1752. His father was Judge Jedediah Foster, who graduated from Harvard University in 1744. He engaged in classical studies at the College in the English Colony of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations (now known as Brown University), graduating in 1770. He then studied law and lived with fellow student Solomon Drowne. He was admitted to the bar association and remained in Rhode Island to practice law. Foster was a protege of Brown University's first chancellor, Chief Justice of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations and revolutionary patriot Stephen Hopkins. Foster married the sister of the future governor of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations Arthur Fenner.
Theodore Foster played a role in the Gaspee Affair of 1772, along with John Brown and others, which helped catalyze events leading to up to the American Revolutionary War. Foster distinguished himself as a staunch supporter of General George Washington and the Federalist cause.
Until 1790 Foster held various positions in the government of Rhode Island. He was then appointed to the United States Senate, beginning his service on 7 June 1790. Rhode Island's state legislature reappointed him in 1791 and 1797, and he served until March 4, 1803 when he retired from public life to engage in writing and historical research. Foster became a passionate collector of numerous documents relating to colonial Providence. He helped found the Rhode Island Historical Society in 1822. Foster's heirs sold his extensive collection of historical documents to the Society in 1833. Many of these documents are unpublished.
During the latter period, Foster also served as a trustee of Brown University. Foster returned to public life to serve in the Rhode Island state legislature from 1812 to 1816. He lived in the town of Foster, Rhode Island, which was named after him. When Solomon Drowne moved back to Rhode Island he lived on a farm (Mt. Hygeia) next to Foster's. Foster died in 1828.
- Concannon, John. "US Senator Theodore Foster (1752-1828)". Gaspee Virtual Archives. Retrieved 27 January 2014.
- Gannett, Henry (1905). The Origin of Certain Place Names in the United States. Govt. Print. Off. p. 130.
- Theodore Foster at Find a Grave
- Theodore Foster's Minutes of the Convention Held at South Kingstown, Rhode Island, in March, 1790: Which Failed to Adopt the Constitution of the United States preview at Google books
- An article on his life from the Rhode Island histocial Society
- Theodore Foster in the Gaspee Affair
|United States Senate|
|U.S. Senator (Class 1) from Rhode Island
Served alongside: Joseph Stanton, Jr., William Bradford, Ray Greene, Christopher Ellery
Samuel J. Potter