John J. Foster was born
on a farm in Ray County, Missouri, April 5, 1858. He remained on
the farm until 1875, doing the work of the life calls for and
attending at odd months the district school of the county.
After attending school at Richmond, Mo., for one year, Mr. Foster came
to Kansas City and entered the public schools. Three years
previous to this Mr. Foster's father had died, leaving him an interest
in coal mines situated on the homestead, and it was with the income
from this that he was securing an education. The administrator,
in leasing the mines, failed to provide for non-usance, and the lessee
shut down the mines in order to work others with shorter
lessees. Mr. Foster, at the age of eighteen years, was
consequently forced to leave school. He determined to learn
harness-making, and entered upon a three years' apprenticeship.
Soon after serving his time he went into partnership with A. J. De
Berry, the firm name being De Berry & Foster. they purchased
a business at 306 Main Street that had been operated by Smith &
McDonald since the early forties. After a partnership of a year
and a half Mr. Foster bought De Berry's interests, and conducted the
business at that location for ten years, moving after that time to 511
Main Street, his present location. Mr. Foster is a member of the
Manufacturers' Association, the Horse Show Association, the Cooley
Lake Hunting Club, and the local Driving Club. He was married
June 30, 1879, to Miss Elizabeth Mintun, of this city.