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John Collier Foster papers

Identifier: MSS-0536

Scope and Contents

The John Collier Foster papers contain material from 1841 to 1892, the bulk ranging from 1889 to 1892. A large portion of the collection contains sermons from his tenure at Grant's Creek Baptist Church of Christ and New Hope Baptist Church. In addition to sermons, the collection includes other material relating to the Baptist denomination in late nineteenth century Alabama, including Foster's daily journals of pastoral activities, membership letters, and printed material about Baptist doctrine. The collection also includes material relating to John Collier Foster's wife Georgia Ann Maharrey Foster and the Foster family.

Note to researchers: John Collier Foster was the older brother of Joshua Hill Foster, whose papers are also housed in the W. S. Hoole Special Collections Library.


  • 1841 - 1892
  • Majority of material found within 1889 - 1892


Conditions Governing Access


Biographical / Historical

John Collier Foster was born 10 April 1813, in Columbia County, Georgia. He attended the University of Alabama from 1834-1837. On November 2, 1838, he was baptized at Grant's Creek Baptist Church of Christ in Fosters, Alabama. In 1839, he married Emma Toole Prince, who died later that year.

Foster was ordained a Baptist minister at Grant's Creek Baptist Church of Christ on March 3, 1844. In 1845 he became the pastor of the same church, serving there until his death 47 years later. He also served as pastor to New Hope Baptist Church from 1846 to 1850 and from 1871 to 1890. On September 22, 1866, he was elected Moderator of Union Baptist Association, and he remained in this position until 1883.

On February 1, 1889, his house in Fosters, Alabama, burned to the ground. Many of the church records were lost in his house along with most of his extensive library. He then moved to the Hester House in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. On July 23, 1892, he died in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, but was buried at Grant's Creek Baptist Church of Christ in Fosters.

In 1847 he married Georgia Ann Maharrey, the daughter of Joseph Pigott and Mary A. (Barron) Maharrey of Augusta, Georgia. The Fosters had eight children, of whom five married: Mary Ellen (married Dr. A.B.C. Nicholls,) G. Augusta, Mollie A. (married E.R. King), Fannie F., John Manly (married Kathleen Clark), James Henry (married Linda Van de Graff), Josephine (married Walter Patton) and Stella.

Sources: Foster, Henry Bacon. History of Tuscaloosa County Baptist Association 1834-1934. Tuscaloosa, Alabama: Weatherford Printing Co., 1934.

Foster, Joshua Hill. A Brief Record of One Branch of the Fosters in Alabama. The Joshua Hill Foster Papers, the W.S. Hoole Special Collections Library, The University of Alabama

Owen, Thomas McAdory. History of Alabama and Dictionary of Alabama Biography. V. 3. Chicago: S.J. Clarke, 1921.


0.4 Linear Feet

Language of Materials



A sizeable collection of church correspondence, sermons, and other religious materials, and family correspondence and other personal items of this farmer and Southern Baptist minister in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.


Gift of Fannie J. Foster, 1949; Juliette Foster, 1952

Related Materials

John Collier Foster was the older brother of Joshua Hill Foster, whose papers are also housed in the W. S. Hoole Special Collections Library.

Processed by

Richard Brown and Donnelly Lancaster, 2003; updated by Martha Bace, 2013
Guide to the John Collier Foster Papers
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
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Repository Details

Part of the The University of Alabama Libraries Special Collections Repository

Box 870266
Tuscaloosa AL 35487-0266