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10 STEPHEN COLLINS FOSTER
Part of the journey was accomplished through floating ice, but New Orleans was reached on the 5th of January, 1815, three days before the battle which saved Louisiana. Captain Shreve unloaded part of his cargo at the city and ran down the river to Fort Philip, passing the British batteries, returned again to the city and took part in the battle of the 8th of January, serving in one of the American batteries. Captain Shreve and the steamer "Enterprise" later made the trip from New Orleans to Louisville in twenty-five days, which was considered so remarkable a feat that the worthy Captain was publicly feted by the latter city.
During this troublesome time, the government was often indebted to William Foster for as much as $50,000. Upon the final adjudication of his accounts, it became necessary to refer the facts as to certain amounts to a jury. Upon the hearing of the case in the United States Court at Pittsburgh in 1823, the venerable Judge Walker, in his charge to the jury, paid this tribute to the patriot: "Terminate as this cause may, Mr. Foster has established for himself a character for zeal, patriotism, generosity and fidelity which cannot be forgotten, and has placed a laurel on his brow that will never fade."
A verdict in his favor was returned by the jury without leaving the court-room, but the judgment was never settled and still stands unpaid on the records of the United States Court at Pittsburgh.
His fortune at this time must have been considerable, for in spite of these difficulties and responsibilities, on April 5th, 1814, he paid $35,000 for a tract of 171 acres on a hillside overlooking the Alleghany River about two miles above the city of Pittsburgh. The history of this land is to be found in the County records at Pittsburgh. It was originally patented by the State to one Conrad Winebiddle, December 27th, 1787, under the tract title "Good Liquor." It was part of George Croghan's vast holdings and not far from the site of Croghan's Castle,