Foster, Sarah Jane (1839-1868)

Sarah Jane Foster
Sarah Jane Foster

In Recognition For: Service to the Town of Gray

Sarah Jane Foster (12 Oct 1839 - 25 Jun 1868) grew up in Gray and was greatly influenced by the Civil War.  In November 1865, she went to West Virginia to assist the Free Baptists in educating the newly-freed people.  She was one of many Yankee women who traveled to the South to help rebuild post-Civil War society.  Sarah Jane first taught school in Martinsburg and in April 1866, was transferred to Harper's Ferry, West Virginia.  A year later, Sarah Jane obtained another commission with the American Missionary Association and was assigned to teach in rural Charleston, South Carolina.  She contracted yellow fever while there and died after soon returning home to Gray, at aged 28.  Sarah Jane was a diarist and a writer.  From 1865-1868, she regularly submitted articles from West Virginia and South Carolina to be printed in The Zion Advocate, a Portland Maine-based, Baptist missionary newspaper.  Two books, edited by Wayne E. Reilly, have been published showcasing Sarah Jane's work: Sarah Jane Foster: Teacher of the Freedmen, A Diary and Letters of a Maine Woman in the South after the Civil War (2001) and The Diaries of Sarah Jane and Emma Ann Foster: A Year in Maine During the Civil War (2002).

Sponsors: Elizabeth C. Bullen & Barbara J. Beckwith
Added: 12 Nov 2013