George Clayton Foulk

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George Clayton Foulk
In office
Preceded by Lucius H. Foote, 1883-1885
Succeeded by William Harwar Parker, 1886
2nd United States Ambassador to Korea
In office
Personal details
Born October 30, 1856
Marietta, Pennsylvania, U.S.
Died 1893
Kyoto, Japan
Cause of death congestive heart failure
Resting place Nyakuoji Cemetery, Kyoto, Japan
Spouse(s) Masura Kane
Relations Clayton Foulk (father) and Caroline Foulk (mother)
Alma mater United States Naval Academy
Profession U.S. Navy officer, U.S. Ambassador, teacher
Military service
Allegiance  United States
Service/branch United States Navy
Years of service 1876–1886
Rank Ensign
Unit U.S. Naval Attache

George Clayton Foulk (October 30, 1856 – 1893) was United States Navy officer and U.S. Naval Attache to the Kingdom of Korea in 1876, U.S. Minister to the Kingdom of Korea, from 1885-1886 and again, from 1886-1887.

Early life[edit]

George Clayton Foulk was born in Marietta, Pennsylvania, son of Clayton and Caroline Foulk.

U.S. Naval Career[edit]

George Foulk graduated, from the United States Naval Academy. Foulk in 1876 and went to Asia, on the ship Alert. He made a 427-mile journey, through Japan, then returned to the United States, overland via Korea, Siberia, and Europe. Foulk became fluent, in Japanese and Korean; when a Korean mission arrived, in 1883, he was the only person in Washington, who could interpret, between the two countries. He was appointed U.S. Naval Attache to Korea and after arriving there embarked on two long journeys by sedan chair around the country. On the longer journey, 43 days, his visit included Gongju, Gwangju, Haeinsa, Busan, Daegu, and Mungyeong. A coup occurred in Seoul during the latter part of this journey and the Koreans' hospitality turned to hostility from those who took him to be a Japanese spy.

U.S. Ambassador to Kingdom of Korea[edit]

George Foulk served as the Minister to the Kingdom of Korea, from 1885-1886 and again, from 1886-1887. Soon after his relief by William Harwar Parker, Foulk was sent back to Korea after a report reached Washington, D.C. that Parker was a "chronic drunkard" who suffered from alcoholism. The United States government considered the situation so serious that a squadron of naval vessels was diverted to intercept Foulk's passenger liner and return him to Korea as soon as possible.

George Foulk was finally recalled several months later and relieved by Hugh A. Dinsmore, with the U.S. acting, at the behest of the Chinese government. The Chinese were unhappy, with Foulk's attempts, to build up Korea's ability, to counteract Chinese and Japanese influence.

Last years[edit]

After his recall, George Foulk became a teacher, at Doshisha College (now Doshisha University), in Kyoto, Japan. On September 7, 1887, he married Japanese national, Masura Kane, with whom he had corresponded while in Korea.


George Foulk died in 1893. He and wife, were buried together, in the Nyakuoji Cemetery, Kyoto.


External links[edit]

Preceded by
Lucius H. Foote
William Harwar Parker
Minister to the Kingdom of Korea
1885 - 1886 (first term)
1886 - 1887 (second term)
Succeeded by
William Harwar Parker
Hugh A. Dinsmore