I’ve found many “Fosters” but few “Forsters” in cursory review of American colonies, though there were a number in Berwick. One of a landed family was known by historians of Northumberland (England) writing in 1880 or so to have resided at Upper Marlborough of Prince George in 1774.
It seems that Forster was from a landed family of Berwick. They are castle keepers for hundreds of years, often mayors of Berwick, and often involved as merchants or seamen.
Forster was Sheriff of Prince George County for a number of years and sold merchandise out of stores which he had at Pig’s Point and Indian Landing near Annapolis. Stringing items together, it seems that he arrived in Philadelphia and was soon working with Robert Morris (among the most prosperous merchants of the colonies at the time) of Willing and Morris doing privateering. His name appears as co-owner of one boat taken from French off New England, and another boat taken later (Nancy), a likely Willing and Morris slave ship which was lost to the French in the Caribbean. He was a lawyer and represented a number of the early planter families who had property temporarily confiscated from questions of their loyalty to an impending new nation.
Toward the end of his life, Forster married Theresa (various spellings) Digges of Warburton Manor (Fort Washington). The Digges and the George Washington’s were closest neighbors and involved socially. Forester himself gets mention as a visitor at Mt. Vernon in George Washington’s diary in 1786 though perhaps the two didn’t know one another well, as evidenced by George naming him (in error) as “Ralph Foster”.
I’ve not accessed land records, but Forster’s Sheriff’s pay seemed to involve rent allotments, and there are occasions where he’d advertised to call in debts before traveling abroad — so he may never have owned property. He died near Annapolis at a place which is now called Quiet Waters Park and the estate sale advertisement noted that the lease on the place was available.
There are risks in what I’ve done stringing the ‘pieces’ together, and you may have supplementary or far better information since I just might be conflating information relating to several individuals. I’m an old retired guy with limited means and have only accessed freely available web resources. Those with whom I’ve shared the ‘story’ have been interested, and if you are interested you may download my summary so far at http://www.imanfamily.net/Forster_of_Berwick.pdf.
I’d dearly treasure any comments, suggestions, or help. I’d love to hear from you. sciman at csupomona dot edu
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