Monterey County California Genealogy and History

Monterey County: Biographies


Although a native of the east, Walter J. Foster is thoroughly western in spirit and interests, for his life has been spent in California, and for thirty years Watsonville has numbered him among its citizens. Diligence and determination have constituted the foundation upon which he has reared the superstructure of success and he is now recognized as one of the city's leading business men. He was born in Boston, Massachusetts, March 4, 1874, and when an infant was brought to the Golden state by his parents, who died shortly after reaching the Pacific coast. Mr. Foster was reared by his grandparents, who operated a small dairy in the redwood district of Mendocino county, California. They were poor people and had a hard struggle to secure a livelihood. Mr. Foster acquired his education in a little red schoolhouse, to which he walked barefooted a distance of five miles. As a boy he worked at odd jobbs and later went to San Francisco, obtaining a position in the stable of the Stone Draying & Livery Company. He came to Watsonville in 1894 and was first employed by C. Stowe, later working for Messrs. Tuttle and McGowan and George Leland. For eighteen years he was in the service of the White-De Hart Company, winning a high place in the esteem of that firm, and in 1921 established a business of his own, organizing the firm of W. J. Foster & Sons, of which he has since been the executive head. They are retail dealers in wood and also operate a gas and oil station in Watsonville. Mr. Foster's well directed efforts are ably supplemented by the labors of his wife and sons, and the business is a prosperous and growing one.

On February 25, 1902, Mr. Foster married Miss Gladys Gough, one of Watsonville's native daughters. Her father followed the occupation of farming and was one of the early settlers in the Pajaro valley, in which he located about the year 1865. Mrs. Gough was born in Monterey county, California, and was a member of the Plaskett family, one of the oldest in that section of the state. Her father crossed the plains in 1849 and was one of the first miners in the mother lode country in the high Sierras of California. Mr. and Mrs. Foster have become the parents of six children: Edna, Elwood, Herman, Hazel, Rush and Ila, aged respectively: twenty-three, nineteen, eighteen, sixteen, thirteen and ten years. During the period of his residence in Watsonville, Mr. Foster has always evinced a deep interest in matters pertaining to the welfare and progress of his community, and that he is a man of strict integrity and genuine worth is indicated by the place which he holds in the esteem of his fellow citizens.

Source: History of Monterey and Santa Cruz Counties, California : cradle of California's history and romance : dating from the planting of the cross of Christendom upon the shores of Monterey Bay by Fr. Junipero Serra, and those intrepid adventurers who accompanied him, down to the present day. Chicago: S.J. Clarke Pub. Co., 1925, 890 pgs.