Local History Collections

Collection ID: LH-83
Location: LH-83

(Description ID: 595679)

Rutherford B. Hayes Presidential Library & Museums

John Ralph Peter Foster


Biographical Sketch
Scope and Content

The John Ralph Peter Foster Collection contains 60 artifacts and documents collected by Foster, mostly relating to his military service between 1861 and 1899, and veterans’ organizations and events, mostly between 1890 and 1929. The collection was donated by Frank Foster of Dayton, Ohio.

Biographical Sketch
John Ralph Peter Foster was born April 4, 1845, in Fremont, Ohio, to Adolphus Green Foster and Harriet Beck Foster. He was a career soldier, first enlisting as a private in D Company, 3rd Ohio Volunteer Cavalry on September 10, 1861 at the age of 16. He fought in the Civil War, and he was at both Corinth and Murfreesboro. He joined the United States Infantry after the Civil War, and remained in the U. S. Army until 1899. He was sent West, where he fought in the plains wars. He was discharged at Delrio, Texas in 1882, having attained the rank of sergeant. He re-enlisted May 26, 1898 as a 2nd lieutenant in the 2nd West Virginia Volunteers. Following the Spanish American War, he was discharged April 10, 1899 as a lieutenant. He married for the first time in 1890, and his only son, John F. Foster, was born on January 17, 1892. He was married for a second time on September 16, 1926, to Eliza Ann Bowman. He was active in the Masons and various veteran groups. He died in 1933.

Scope and Content
This collection includes official documents relating to John R.P. Foster’s military service including pension papers, a certificate of service, a medical examination, and discharge certificates from the U.S. and the state of Ohio. There is also a memoir published in a set of booklets, describing his military service. In addition, it contains a genealogy. The memoir is titled Three Wars of the United States of America from 1861 to 1899.

A large portion of this collection relates to veterans groups and activities, mostly between 1890 and 1929. This includes ribbons, badges, and souvenir documents from G.A.R. Posts and encampments, Third Ohio Volunteer Cavalry reunions, and similar events and organizations. Other items include information about the Masonic Order, various clippings and cards, and some information and photographs relating to Fremont, Ohio. The badges and ribbons can be searched and viewed online in the Hayes Center Museum’s online object catalog.

Ac. 1617
60 items


  • G.A.R. medal and ribbon: Elbridge L. Hawk, Commander in Chief. Representative. 1964.12.2
  • 4 ea G.A.R. lapel buttons. 1964.12.19-22
  • G.A.R., Soldiers and Sailors. Annual reunion, Wood County and vicinity. 1964.12.40
  • G.A.R. Wiley Post, No. 46, Bowling Green, Ohio. 1964.12.8
  • G.A.R. Denver Tramway Co. Welcome. Ohio. 1964.12.1
  • G.A.R. Badge, U.S. 1964.12.6
  • G.A.R. Eugene Rawson Post No. 32, Fremont, Oh., Sept. 2, 1897. 1964.12.42
  • G.A.R. W.H. Lewis Post No. 17, Dept. of Texas. In Memoriam. 1964. 12.41
  • G.A.R. Ladies. Dept. of West Virginia, 2nd annual encampment, May 4-6, 1897, Wheeling, W.Va. 1964.12.39
  • G.A.R. 5th National Encampment, Delegate. Lakeside, O., Aug. 19-22, 1890. 1964.12.43
  • Third Ohio Volunteer Cavalry. 49th Annual Reunion, Perrysburg, O., Aug. 19, 1914. 1964.12.35
  • Third Ohio Volunteer Cavalry. 61st Annual Reunion, Perrysburg, O., Aug. 18, 1926. 1964.12.36
  • Third Ohio Volunteer Cavalry. 52nd Annual Reunion, Bellevue, O., Aug. 15, 1917. 1964.12.34
  • Third Ohio Volunteer Cavalry. 46th Annual Reunion, Norwalk, O., Aug. 16, 1911. 1964.12.33
  • Third Ohio Volunteer Cavalry. 62nd Annual Reunion, Fremont, O., Aug. 17, 1927. 1964.12.28
  • Union Veterans Union. Badge, 1861-65. 1964.12.5.
  • United Veterans Union. Delegate badge. Cleveland, O., Aug.25-28. 1964.12.9
  • United Veterans Union. S.A.J. Snyder Command, No. 34, Fremont, Ohio. 1964.12.10
  • United Veterans Union. S.A.J. Snyder Command, No. 34, Fremont, Ohio. 1964.12.12
  • United Veterans Union. 4th Ohio encampment, Kenton, O., Oct. 14-16, 1890. 1964.12.11
  • 30th O.V.V.I., 48th Annual Reunion, Coshocton, O., Sept. 19, 1919. 1964.12.32
  • 30th O.V.V.I., 47th Annual Reunion, New Philadelphia, O., Sept. 19-20, 1916. 1964.12.31
  • U.S.W.V. Dept. of Ohio. 1964.12.14
  • U.S.W.V., 29th annual encampment, Detroit, 1927. 1964.12.13
  • S.W.V., Nelson A. Miles Command No. 76. 1964.12.15
  • N.W.O.B.A. “We boost for Mathias.” 1964.12.17
  • Stokes Post, Findlay, O., 1929. 1964.12.29
  • Unveiling Fort Henry Tablet, Wheeling, W.Va., Feb. 22, 1900. 1964.12.16
  • Badge, “Ohio.” 1964.12.26
  • Badge, “William McKinley.” 1964.12.44
  • Badge, “Fremont Pleasure Club.” 1964.12.30
  • G.A.R., Cap insignia. 1964.12.24
  • G.A.R., John Reese, Commander in Chief. 1964.12.4
  • G.A.R., Medal. 1964.12.7
  • G.A.R., 62nd annual encampment Medal, Lancaster, O., June 17-22, 1926. 1964.12.3


  • Booklet, G.A.R. Roster, 29th annual encampment, Dept. of Ohio, Sandusky, O., June 12-14, 1895.
  • Foster family genealogy. 2pp.
  • Rhode Island Historical Society. Paid bill for annul dues, Sept. 17, 1929.
  • Circular letter, an urgent appeal from the United Masonic Temple, Washington D.C., June 5, 1922.
  • Examination Preliminary to muster-out of U.S. Service, for John R.P. Foster, March 6, 1899.
  • Discharge Certificate, State of Ohio, for John R.P. Foster, June 25, 1886.
  • Discharge Certificate, U.S. Service, for John R.P. Foster, Apr. 10, 1899.
  • Discharge Certificate, Army of the U.S., for John R.P. Foster, May 17, 1882.
  • Certificate of Service, for John R.P. Foster, Jan. 21, 1898.
  • Pension Papers, for John R.P. Foster.
  • Certificate of Discharge, National Home for Disabled Volunteer Soldiers, Dec. 23, 1912.
  • Military History for John R.P. Foster, March 31, 1908.
  • Shoulder and cap insignia, 2nd Regt., W. Va. Vols. 1964.12.25
  • Certificate, National Encampment United Spanish War Veterans, Jan. 4, 1927.
  • G.A.R. roll of the 63rd National Encampment, Portland, Me., Sept. 8, 1929.
  • “Three Wars of the U.S.A.,” compiled by John R.P. Foster, 1929. Pages 1-6.
  • G.A.R., appointment of John F.P. Foster as aide-de-camp, Boston, Mass., May 7, 1930.
  • Souvenir folder of pictures, National Soldiers Home, Virginia. L.M. Brown, Phoebus, Va.
  • Royal Arch Masons Certificate, Jan. 14, 1931.
  • Several clippings, cards and receipts.
  • F.A.A.M. constitution and by-laws, of Stransbury lodge No. 24, in District of Columbia, Oct. 1908.
  • By-laws of Oak-Wood Cemetery, Fremont, Ohio, 1898.


  • Julia Grant, Fremont, Ohio.
  • Grant Building, no place.
  • Grant Post No. 28, G.A.R., Chicago, Ill.