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Lincoln Supporters Trash Copperhead Newspaper


Copperheads hate lincoln /

A New Hampshire Copperhead

It is still unclear what lay at the heart of Foster's strongly held political and racist views. He was born in Canterbury, NH in 1824 and grew up in Chichester. He became a successful architect, designing a number of local buildings. He was also a farmer, carpenter and builder. He bought an interest in his first newspaper, The Dover Gazette, in 1858 and moved to Portsmouth a few years later to start The States and Union.

It is easy, because of Foster's unpopular politics and racism, to shrug him off altogether. Yet this lone wolf sometimes howled the truth. He gave gleeful attention to reports of corruption at the shipyard and corrected the locally held myth that early New Englanders had never practiced slavery.

The late Portsmouth Herald editor and historian Raymond Brighton took special delight in continually noting that Joshua Foster went on to found Foster's Daily Democrat in 1873. One of the last independent daily newspapers in New England, The Democrat is still run today by the Foster family. Brighton failed to mention, however, that another of Foster’s newspapers was eventually purchased by the Herald.

More Myths Busted

According to legend, the mob threw Foster’s printing press into the river and put an end to The States and Union. Not true. Reports indicate that rioters did scale the wall of the building, entered the newspaper office, smashed the press and threw pieces from the window. Some reportedly carried the metal type letters down Daniel Street to the Piscataqua River, giving rise to the popular story.

In its coverage of the riot The Portsmouth Journal referred to editor Foster as "a skunk", but condemned the mob action. The Chronicle noted triumphantly that "The destruction of the office is, no doubt, the death of the paper -- which is no loss to anyone."

But the paper lived on. Nine days later, on April 19, Foster published a two-page special edition of The States and Union with help from the Manchester Union press. A rare tattered copy is archived at the Portsmouth Athenaeum. It contains the two biggest stories in Foster’s long career. On one side of the broadsheet Foster described in detail his version of the Daniel Street riot. The front side bears the headline: TERRIBLE TRAGEDY! PRESIDENT LINCOLN ASSASSINATED! Foster gave more ink to telling his side of the riot story than to coverage of the president’s murder.

According to Foster family history, Joshua successfully sued the Navy Yard for $2,000 and used the money to rebuild his newspaper. Joshua Foster remained defiant. Portsmouth would be better off, he wrote, if the "sneaking coward" editor of The Morning Chronicle committed suicide. The Chronicle, Foster said, was little more than "a hideous ulcer on the face of society".


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Tuesday, January 16, 2018 
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