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Goodspeed's History of Southeast Missouri
Biographies of Scott County, 1888


John D. Foster

John D. Foster, ex-judge of the Tenth Judicial Circuit Court of Missouri, and a prominent attorney of Commerce, was born in Clark County, Ky., in 1828. His grandfather, William Foster, was born and reared in Virginia, and enlisted in the Revolutionary War, as a private soldier under Gen. Washington, but was afterward promoted to brigadier-general, and served six and one-half years. The colonial Government granted him a tract of land in Kentucky, to which he removed his family. He improved the land and made a home, at which he died at the age of eighty-two years. His son, Peyton Foster, father of the subject of this sketch, was born in Bourbon County, Ky., but was reared in Clark County. He was a captain in the War of 1812, and after the close of the war, engaged very extensively in stock-farming at which he was successful, being regarded as one of the most practical farmers of his section of the county. He married Mary Daniel, a native of Frankfort County, who was reared in Montgomery County, Ky. She was a niece of John Daniel, the first governor of Kentucky. To her and husband were born twelve children, of whom Jeannette, William H., George W., John D., Mary and Peyton lived to maturity. Jeannette, William H., John D. and Peyton are still living. Peyton Foster, the father, died in 1872, aged eighty-one years, and his wife, in 1871, aged seventy-eight years. When but a boy, in 1846, John D. Foster went as first lieutenant to Mexico, to serve in the war against that Nation. Thirty-seven days after he started, his captain died, and he was promoted to that rank, and later was promoted to major. Remaining in the service until the close of the war, almost twenty-three months, he returned home, after which he began the study of law which, from his youth, had been his chosen profession. He read law in the office and under the direction of John L. Steward, of Springfield, Ill., and was first admitted to the bar in that city. In 1851 he removed to Missouri and located at Kirksville, Adair County, and resided until 1861, when he entered the Federal army as colonel of the Twenty-second Missouri Volunteer Infantry. After three and one-half years' service, he was mustered out at St. Louis. In 1865 he came to Commerce, Mo., where he has since practiced his profession. In 1880 he was elected circuit judge for six years on the Republican ticket with a majority of 534 in a circuit of 3,800 Democratic majority. From 1852 to 1856 Judge Foster represented Adair County in the Legislature, and from 1856 to 1860 was in the State Senate. He was also a member, from 1861 to 1864, of the State convention which formed the Provisional Government. He was first married in 1831 to Euncy Miller, and after her death, married Losetta A. Knowles, a native of Mississippi County, MO., born in 1848. Her parents were natives of Ohio and Kentucky. She died in 1875, ages twenty-seven, leaving one child Addie Earl. Judge Foster afterward married Mary A. Williams, who was born in Mississippi County in 1853. Her parents were natives of Maryland and Kentucky. Her father died when she was seven years of age, and her mother now resides in Commerce. The Judge is a member of the A.F. & A.M. and of the A.O.U.W. He, his wife and daughter, Earle, are consistent members of the Methodist Episcopal Church South. Besides his other interests Judge Foster is one of the large land owners of Southeast Missouri.

Theo F. Frazer

Dr. Theo F. Frazer, a physician of Commerce, Mo., and present Representative of Scott County, was born in Warren County, Ky., in 1846, and is a son of Alexander and Zuriah (Atchison) Frazer, natives of Kentucky. Soon after the Revolutionary War the paternal grandfather came from Scotland and located in what is now Warren County, Ky., where he lived to be a very old man, engaged in farming and speculating. He and wife had four sons and two daughters, all of whom grew to maturity, but are now deceased. Alexander Frazer was born in 1797, and died in 1859. He was reared in his native State and was also a farmer. His wife is of Irish descent and was also reared in her native State. Seven children were born to them, of whom Thomas, Samuel, Nancy H. Julia and Theo F. are living. George went to California in 1861 and has not been heard from. Sarah is dead. Mrs. Frazer is still living in Hopkins County, Ky., with her son Samuel. She was born April 4, 1803. The subject of this sketch was but thirteen years of age when his father died, after which he remained with his mother until he reached his majority, when he was employed as a clerk in a mercantile house. The next year (1866) he began the study of medicine under the direction of Dr. W.L. Johnson, of Charleston, Ky., and in the fall of the same year studied under T.A. Atchison, now of the Vanderbilt University. In 1868 he came to Scott County, Mo., and began practicing his profession in Benton, which he continued until 1873, when he removed to Commerce, his present location. He graduated from the University of Nashville in 1882, and in 1885 from the Vanderbilt University. He is a member of the Southeast Missouri Medical Association, of the A.F. & A.M. and of the A.O.U.W. In 1886 Dr. Frazer was elected to represent Scott County in the Legislature. His marriage with Miss Ida V. McPheters, a native of Illinois was celebrated in 1879, and to their union were born two children, Roy and Nellie. Mrs. Frazer was a devoted member of the Methodist Episcopal Church. She died in 1885, aged twenty-nine years. Dr. Frazer Served as mayor of Commerce from 1882 to 1887.

James Friend

James Friend, the oldest native citizen of Scott County, was born on May 10, 1806, and is a son of John and Elizabeth (Robinson) Friend, natives of Bedford County, Va., and Ohio, respectively. When sixteen years of age, Elizabeth Robinson came to Southeast Missouri with her parents and located on land entered from the Spanish Government, near Morley, known as the Abram Hunter farm. The Robinson family are all dead. Elizabeth was born in 1786 and died on July 8, 1849. In 1796, John Friend came by water with his parents Charles and Nancy (Gough) Friend, to Southeast Missouri. Locating near Bird's Point, they soon after removed to 640 acres of land near Benton obtained from the Spanish Government. Here Charles Friend died about 1814, aged ninety-six years. He had a family of eleven children. John, the father of the subject of this sketch, obtained from Spain a tract of land one mile square near Morley, on which he and wife reared their family. They had eleven children, five of whom grew to maturity, viz: Andrew, James, Jacob (deceased), Margaret (deceased) and Catherine (the widow of Darius Mullen). John Friend was born on February 14, 1777, and after a very active and useful life, died in 1863. James Friend remained with his parents until 1832, when his father gave him the farm on which he now resides. He has been very energetic and industrious, and now had 220 of his 240 acres under cultivation with good improvements. In 1832 he married Catherine Cotterell, a native of the county. She died, and Mr. Friend, on July 7, 1884, was united in marriage with Malissa Ann (Wiley) Snyder, who was born in Kentucky and reared in Indiana. She came to Southeast Missouri in 1841, was the widow of Jacob Snyder and the mother of two children: James (who died in 1873, leaving one child, Charles Edward, living with the subject of this sketch) and Nancy (Mrs. John Friend). To James Friend and wife were born six children: Thomas B., Missouri (Mrs. James E. Harrison), Harden, Francis and William (twins), and Virginia (who died in infancy). Mrs. Friend died on January 17, 1884, in her sixty-seventh year. Francis lives on the home place with his father, and manages the farm. He married Amelia Rosenburg and has two children: Pearle and Presley. James Friend is a highly respected citizen of Scott County, and a zealous member of the Baptist Church.

John Friend

John Friend, a highly respected citizen and retired farmer of Scott County, Mo., is a native of the county, born in 1830. His grandfather, John Friend, came to Southeast Missouri about 1796, and accumulated considerable property. He was a very active man, and died at the age of eighty-six years, in 1863. He and wife had five children, who grew to maturity: Andrew, James, Jacob, Margaret, and Catherine. James and Catherine are still living, the former resides at Oran, and the latter in Scott County. Their mother was of German descent, a native of Pennsylvania, and died in 1840. Andrew Friend was the father of the subject of this sketch. He was born and reared in Southeast Missouri, and married Elizabeth Evans, also born and reared in the same district. He resided near his home place until 1854, when he removed his family to Ozark County, Mo., and remained until his death, in 1868. His wife died in 1854. Their children were John, Margaret, Elizabeth, James, Catherine, Isreal, Emily, Mary, Jane and Martha. Martha, Emily and John are living. Catherine was killed during the war while trying to protect her husband, who was a Union soldier. John lived with an older brother and grandfather, but worked for his parents until he reached his majority. In connection with farming he worked at the carpenter's trade until 1859, after which he turned his attention entirely to farming until 1861, when he enlisted in the army. After the war he was engaged in saw-milling, until 1867, when he began a contract with the Iron Mountain & Southern Railroad for building bridges and trestles, which, when he had completed, he acted as foreman of the track-laying force, until the road was completed in 1869. He was then engaged in saw-milling for several years, since which he engaged in farming. His wife, Nancy Snyder, is a daughter of Jacob and Malissa (Wiley) Snyder, natives of Germany and Kentucky, respectively. James Snyder was a stonemason, who came to Southeast Missouri from Kentucky and died soon after, leaving a wife and two children: James (now deceased) and Nancy. Mr. and Mrs. Friend have had three children: Virginia (deceased), James (deceased) and Nancy (the wife of Dr. W.E. Harris of Oran). Virginia was the wife of J.W. Clemson, now agent of the railroad at Oran. She left two children. In religious belief all the members of the family are Baptists.