GEORGE J. FOSTER, who is Superintendent of the Bloomington (Phoenix) Nurseries in Bloomington Township, occupies a responsible position for which he has proved himself amply fitted by his large experience and natural adaptation to the business. The Bloomington (Phoenix) Nurseries embrace 600 acres of land and are probably the most extensive of any in the State, and by far the largest of any in the county.
The subject of this history is a native of Rhode Island, born near Providence on the 2d of January, 1846. His parents were natives of the same State, and traced the Foster ancestry back six generations of a line made worthy and honorable by lives of high moral principles and an upright course. The parental family of our subject included seven children, of whom George J. was the eldest born. His father owned a farm in his native State and followed that calling.
George J. Foster remained with his parents and attended school until eighteen years of age. He then went to Flushing, L. I [Long Island, New York], where he engaged with the well-known nursery firm of Parsons & Co. Of this his uncle, John B. Foster, was foreman, and under him our subject remained until 1868, obtaining a good knowledge of the different departments of the business. He then came West and engaged with F. K. Phoenix until 1877, a period of nine years. Then, for one season, he was employed by Augustine & Co., after which he returned to the Phoenix Nurseries which had changed hands, and in the fall of that same year became foreman of the business. Since then the nursery has again changed hands, Mr. Foster becoming a member of the firm.
The marriage of our subject with Miss Lydia B. Browning occurred in 1870. She is a native of Chatham, Columbia Co., N. Y., and by her union with our subject has become the mother of five children, of whom the eldest died in infancy. Those living are Alma, George K., Bernice L. and Esther B. They are pleasantly located in a handsome and attractive residence and are surrounded by all the comforts of life. In politics, Mr. Foster is a stanch Republican, is a gentleman highly respected in his community, a member of Grace Methodist Episcopal Church of Bloomington, and has held some of the minor offices of his township.
Portrait and biographical album of McLean County, Ill. : containing full page portraits and biographical sketches of prominent and representative citizens of the county, together with portraits and biographies of all the governors of Illinois, and of the presidents of the United States. (Chicago: Chapman Brothers, 1887), 200. Transcribed by Judy Rosella Edwards