Stephen Clark Foster

Stephen Clark Foster

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Stephen Clark Foster

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Stephen Clark Foster (1815 – January 27, 1898) was a politician, the first American mayor of Los Angeles under United States military rule. Foster served in the state constitutional convention, and was elected to the State Senate. He was elected as mayor of Los Angeles in 1856, and later elected for four terms to the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors.


Early life and education

Foster was born in Machias, Maine in 1815. He graduated from Yale College in 1840.


He taught at a private academy in the South. In 1845 at age 30, he headed for California, like many other young single men, via El Paso and Santa Fe. While in Santa Fe, Foster joined the Mormon Battalion of Missouri Volunteers, then on its way to California to fight in the Mexican-American War.

In the stormy period when California was under US military rule after the defeat of the Mexicans, Governor Mason appointed the 33-year-old Foster alcalde (mayor) of Los Angeles to replace the dissolved ayuntamiento (government) of the Mexicans. For this reason, Foster often has been referred to as the first American mayor of the city. He served as alcalde from Jan. 1, 1848 to May 21, 1849. For the remainder of that year, or until the city came under United States jurisdiction in 1850, Foster served as perfecto.

Mason appointed José del Carmen Lugo, a prominent and mature Californio, as mayor following Foster.

Marriage and family

During his early years in Los Angeles, Foster made a...
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