Biography of Dr. Henry Foster

Dr. Henry Foster was born in the town of Norwich, Vermont, January 18, 1821. He was the son of Henry and Polly (Hubbard) Foster, who were the owners of a farm of six hundred acres of intervale land, and were apparently established for life in a beautiful home. As one of a family of seven children, Dr. Foster spent a happy and healthful childhood. When he was fourteen years of age financial reverses came to the family and they removed to western New York and from thence to Ohio, where the boys of the family made a home and cared for the others.

Dr. Foster was graduated from Milan Academy and the medical department of the Western Reserve College. After his graduation he went to a water cure with an invalid brother, and became so much interested in the system that, for three years, he was the physician in a similar establishment in New Graefenberg, New York. Dr. Foster was converted in childhood and his religious life deepened and became the center of his being and action. He asked : “Lord, what wilt Thou have me do?” The outcome of his prayerful waiting was his coming, in 1849, to Clifton Springs, where he had learned of a sulphur spring and a tract of land reserved by the purchasers of the “Holland Patent,” and Dr. Foster bought this tract and received the first deed for this plot after the original purchase by Messrs. Phelps and Gorham. He had come to a cross roads settlement, where everything was to be done if the work he proposed was to succeed. Dr. Foster felt that God had called him to build a house where help could be given to ministers, missionaries and teachers, and where God should be honored and the health of soul and body be given equal prominence. God enabled him to build a modest wooden structure, crude enough, but the best of its kind in the country then, and “The Clifton Springs Water Cure” was opened in September, 1850. The story of those early days is one of hard work, faith and prayer, and by God’s blessing, success. Dr. Foster rebuilt, of brick, and enlarged the sanatarium three different times, the work of the institution never ceasing. He finally rebuilt and enlarged the entire sanatarium, and in July, 1896, the new fireproof building was dedicated to the work of God in healing and ministering to the sick. Dr. Foster’s life motto had been: “This one thing I do,” and with the completion of this building, and fireproof reconstruction” of other portions, he felt that his work was done on earth. After two months’ illness, on January 15, 1901, he passed to his heavenly home. “The workers fall, but the work goes on.” and the Clifton Springs Sanatarium still performs its helpful mission and the name of Henry roster is loved and honored.

Dr. Foster married, June 19, 1872, Mary Edwards. a native of Brooklyn, New York, a daughter of William W. and Helen (Mann) Edwards.



Milliken, Charles F. The History of Ontario County, New York, and Its People Lewis Historical Publishing Co., New York. 1911.

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