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California Genealogy and History Archives

San Bernardino County and Riverside County


DR. HOLLIS J. FOSTER was one of the brilliant, interesting and vigorous personalities in the early history of the Cucamonga community of San Bernardino County. On account of his health he practiced medicine very little after coming to California, but he used his capital and business judgment in a way to advance the best interests of this section, and developed some of the land that is now contained in one of the greatest fruit growing districts in Southern California.  

He was born at Norwich, Vermont, July 3, 1843, and had many of the fine characteristics of the old New England stock. He acquired his early education in Vermont and later graduated from the Eclectic Medical Institute at Cincinnati, Ohio. For several years he enjoyed an extensive professional practice in several Middle West communities, but when his health failed he came to California and first settled on a ranch near Santa Ana, but six years later sold that and moved to Cucamonga. Here he bought forty acres on the old San Bernardino Road, including a portion of the old Orchard ranch. While developing this property he also owned and operated a drug store in Cucamonga, and was owner of that business when he died March 23, 1906.  

On November 12, 1872, in Iowa, Doctor Foster married Miss Isabel Lanning, who was born in Clinton, Iowa, April 30, 1852, daughter of Samuel and Sarah (Welch) Lanning, the former a native of Newark, New Jersey, and the latter of West Virginia. Mrs. Foster was educated in the public schools of Clinton, Iowa. Dr. and Mrs. Foster had three children. The oldest, M. H. Foster, who was born at Piano, Illinois, October 10, 1874, acquired his education in the Chaffey College, Ontario, California, and now has active charge of the home ranch of forty acres. He is a young business man noted for thoroughness in everything he undertakes, and has made the home ranch one of the notable properties in this vicinity. On May 8, 1901, he married Miss Susie Austin, a native of Kansas, and they are the proud parents of a son. Burton Foster, who was born at Cucamonga February 2, 1921. This heir of the Foster family is a particular idol of his grandmother, Mrs. Foster.  

The second of the children is Nell Foster, who was born in Near Clinton, Iowa, March 17, 1878, also finished her education in the old Chaffey College at Ontario, and on February 21, 1905, at Los Angeles, was married to Stanley M. Frew, an accountant who now lives in Los Angeles. The third child, Ethel, born in Melbourne, Iowa, March 29, 1885, was educated at Chaffey College, and on April 7, 1906, was married to F. C. Hillyard, who is in the government service at San Francisco. They have one daughter, Beth Loraine, born April 12, 1918.  

About six years after Doctor Foster's death, Mrs. Foster bought her present home on West Ninth Street in Upland, where she is living retired, her son operating the home ranch. Doctor Foster was a member of the Masonic Fraternity.

History of San Bernardino and Riverside Counties 
By: John Brown, Jr., Editor for San Bernardino County 
And James Boyd, Editor for Riverside County 
With selected biography of actors and witnesses of the period 
of growth and achievement.
Volume III, the Western Historical Association, 1922, 
The Lewis Publishing Company, Chicago, ILL

Transcribed by Peggy Hooper 2011