Randolph Sinks Foster

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Randolph Sinks Foster
President of Northwestern University
In office
Preceded by Henry Sanborn Noyes
Succeeded by Henry Sanborn Noyes
Personal details
Born (1820-02-22)February 22, 1820
Williamsburg, Ohio
Died May 1, 1903(1903-05-01) (aged 83)
Newton, Massachusetts
Spouse(s) Sarah Miley Foster
Parents Israel Foster and Mary "Polly" Kain
Alma mater Augusta College (Kentucky)
Ohio Wesleyan University (honorary)
Northwestern University (honorary)
Profession Educator
Website [1]

Randolph Sinks Foster (February 22, 1820 – May 1, 1903) was an American Bishop of the Methodist Episcopal Church, elected in 1872.

Born on 22 February 1820 at Williamsburg, Ohio, U.S., the son of Israel Foster and Mary "Polly" Kain,[2] he attended Augusta College in Kentucky, but left to become a Preacher in the Ohio Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church when he was only seventeen. He was ordained to the Traveling Ministry by Bishops Waugh and Hedding. He went on to become the Pastor of the Mulberry Street M.E. Church in New York City, where he met Daniel Drew, the financier who provided the original funding for the Drew Theological Seminary in Madison, New Jersey.

Prior to his election to the Episcopacy, Foster served in pastoral appointments and in educational work. He was President of Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois, 1857-1860. He also accepted John McClintock's invitation to become Professor of Systematic Theology at Drew. After the death of Drew's first President in 1870, Foster was elected to that post, remaining there until becoming a Bishop in 1872, when he was assigned to the Cincinnati, Ohio area.

He died at Newton Centre, Massachusetts on 1 May 1903.[3][4] He was buried in Green-Wood Cemetery, Brooklyn, New York.


Foster wrote the book Objections to Calvinism as it is : in a series of letters addressed to N.L. Rice in 1849.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Northwestern University Biography of Randolph Foster". 
  2. ^ Byron Williams (1913). History of Clermont and Brown Counties, Ohio: From the Earliest ..., Volume 1. Brown County (Ohio): Hobart Publishing Company. p. 338. But during Raper's first four years as sheriff the jail residence was occupied by his friends, a young married couple, Israel and Polly Kain Foster. Israel was the youngest son of Thomas Foster, an English emigrant to Virginia, who had married Nancy Trigg. While viewing for land in Kentucky, sometime before Ohio was open for settlement, Foster was killed by Indians, after which the widow married James Laughlin, and came with the children of both husbands to Williamsburg about New Year's 1805. Mary, commonly called Polly, Kain was the only daughter of Daniel and Mary Hutchinson Kain. After the early death of his first wife, Daniel married Eleanor, an older sister of Israel Foster, thus establishing a double kinship for the families. The first son of Israel and Polly Foster was born February 22, 1820, while they were residing in the jail, and, after being named for a special friend of both parents, in the fullness of time, came to be known to the Christian world as the justly celebrated Bishop Randolph Sinks Foster, without whom the annals of the Methodist Episcopal church can not be written. An thus another illustrious name was added to the roll of Old Clermont. It is told that Bishop Foster sometimes astonished an ultra select audience by holding that there was hope for all, since he himself was born in a jail. The incident has been connected with the "Old Log Jail," for its picturesque effect, in several publications, but the fact is hereby correctly and exactly stated. 
  3. ^ "BISHOP FOSTER DEAD". Boston Daily Globe. Boston, Mass. May 2, 1903. p. 11. Well-Known Minister of Methodist Church. Ex-President of Northwestern University at Chicago. Died Last Evening at His Home in Newton Center. NEWTON, May 1-Bishop Randolph S. Foster of the Methodist Episcopal church died this evening at his home on Homer st, Newton Center, after a long sickness. The immediate cause of death was a paralytic stroke received last... 
  4. ^ "BISHOP FOSTER DEAD". Boston Post. Boston, MA. May 2, 1903. p. 2. The Rev. Randolph S. Foster, D. D., LL. D., bishop of the Methodist Episcopal Church, died yesterday at his home in Newton at the age of 83. Bishop Foster was retired from active service by the general conference of 18xx. His residence for several years prior to that time was In this city, although like all the general superintendents of that church, his jurisdiction was worldwide. and one of his last duties was to visit the conferences in India and China, previous to his election to the bishopric he was chancellor of the Drew Theological Seminary, Madison, N. J. Bishop Foster was the author of numerous theological works and was famous as a preacher, while his benevolence and his amiability endeared him to the entire church. He was a widower. 
  • Methodism: Ohio Area (1812–1962), edited by John M. Ver Steeg, Litt.D., D.D. (Ohio Area Sesquicentennial Committee, 1962).

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Edward Raymond Ames
Ohio United Methodist Bishops
Succeeded by
Stephen Mason Merrill