"History of Lincoln, Oneida, and Vilas Counties Wisconsin"

Compiled by George O.Jones, Norman S. McVean and Others. Printed in 1924 by H.C.Cooper. Jr. & Co., Minneapoli-Winona MN. ill. 787 pages. The first two hundred pages are history of the three counties, the remainder of the book is biographies.


Foster, George A. president of the Citizen's National Bank of Merrill, is a man who has risen from an humble beginning to a position of eminence in the business community through hard and persistent work intelligently directed. He was born at Iron Ridge, Dodge County, Wis., Oct. 16, 1859, son of Gilman C. and Helen (GRAVES) FOSTER. The father was a native of Illinois and at Iron Ridge was engaged in the occupation of a wheat buyer. He is now deceased, as also is his wife, who was born in New York State. The family moved to Randolph, Dodge County, when George A. was a mere child, and there he grew up and attended school, being finally graduated from the high school. With the mental equipment thus gained he entered a printing-office in Randolph to learn the business, and after two years' experience he bought an interest in the Randolph Enterprise, the name of which he changed to the Lively Times. After operating it for a year, he moved his plant to Tomah and established the Monroe County Democrat there, which he conducted for awhile, finally selling out. His next move was to buy a printing plant at Sparta, Wis., in association with a partner, and it was operated by them for two years, though with but indifferent success. Mr. FOSTER then sold his interest to his partner, and going to Keokuk, Iowa, took a course in bookkeeping and telegraphy in a business college. Having graduated from the institution, he entered the employ of the Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul Railway at Randolph, Wis., and served the company for some time as relief operator at various stations along the line, his first permanent position with the Wisconsin Central Railway at Thiensville, near Milwaukee. When the Chicago Milwaukee & St. Paul tracks were built to Merrill in 1881, Mr. FOSTER transferred to this station as operator and express agent, in which position he remained for about two years. He then gave up railroad work and entered the employ of P. B. CHAMPAGNE, a merchant of Merrill, as bookkeeper, retaining, however, his position as express agent and transferring the express office to the Champagne store. After remaining with Mr. CHAMPAGNE for a year, he left him to enter the employ of S. HEINEMAN, another merchant, in whose store he worked as bookkeeper for five years. It was at the end of that period that he first became connected with the banking business, entering the bank of G. Haywood & Son, in Merrill, as cashier. He remained in that position but a short time, however, leaving it to become bookkeeper for the Champagne Lumber Co. His next move was to help organize the National Bank of Merrill, of which he was made cashier, serving in that capacity until the bank was merged into the Citizens National Bank in 1911, a reorganization taking place whereby he became vice-president. That position he held until the death of the president, S. HEINEMAN, in 1912 on which Mr. FOSTER was made president of the institution, in which position he still remains. He is also treasurer of the Grandfather Falls Pulp & Paper Co.; president of the Lincoln Canning Co. of Merrill, and one of the directors of the Security State Bank of Minocqua, Wis. Mr. FOSTER has taken a more or less active part in local affairs aside from his direct business interests, having served several terms as a member of the Merrill City Council and also as city comptroller. In politics he is practically independent. Since 1883 he has been strongly interested in Free Masonry. He served as Master in the Blue Lodge three terms and was for several terms High Priest of the Chapter, and took a prominent part in the building of the Masonic Temple in Merrill in 1903. He owns and occupies a substantial modern residence at 304 Center Avenue. Mr. FOSTER was first married Jan. 10, 1883, to Mary MILES of Tomah, Wis., who died in Merrill Dec. 3, 1910. She had borne her husband two children, Keith, who died at the age of two years, and Hal G., now of Pulaski, Tenn., who is married as has two children, George and Harold. On Aug. 22, 1917 Mr. FOSTER was married secondly to Grace D. HARPER, of St. Paul, Minn.

Transcribed by Susan Swanson, from pages 526, History of Lincoln, Oneida and Vilas Counties Wisconsin; Compiled by George O. Jones, Norman S. McVean and Others 1924, H. C. Cooper, Jr. & Co

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