Foster was born on March 2, 1836, in Petersburg, Indiana, and raised in Evansville, Indiana. He was the son of Matthew Watson, an Indiana farmer, and the former Eleanor Foster (née Johnson). He graduated from the fledgling Indiana University in 1855 and then attended Harvard Law School. Foster moved to Cincinnati, passed the bar, and practiced law until 1861, when he joined the Union Army as a major. Foster rose to the rank of colonel in 1864.
Following his military duty, Foster returned to Indiana politics, was appointed Evansville Postmaster in 1869, and worked to build support for the re-election of Ulysses S. Grant in 1872.
In return for his campaign work, Foster served as Minister to Mexico between 1873 and 1880. He then served as Minister to Russia from 1880 to 1881. After a brief return to private practice, Foster assumed duties as Minister to Spain in 1883 and served until 1885, whereupon he again returned to private practice and served as counsel representing foreign diplomatic legations in the United States.
In 1892, President Harrison appointed Foster as Secretary of State.
From the Wikipedia article: John Watson Foster (March 2, 1836 – November 15, 1917) was an American diplomat and military officer, as well as lawyer and journalist. His highest public office was U.S. Secretary of State under Benjamin Harrison, although he also proved influential as a lawyer in technically private practice in the international relations sphere.
Have you taken a DNA test? If so, login to add it. If not, see our friends at Ancestry DNA.