FOSTER, LEONARD GURLEY (10 Sept. 1840-13 Dec. 1937) was a CIVIL WAR veteran whose avocation brought him the epithet, "the Buckeye poet." Born on the family homestead in the Cuyahoga Valley near Denison Ave., he was educated at HUMISTON INSTITUTE and Berea College. He was principal at Tremont School from 1860-64, after which he served with the 8th Ohio Battery on Johnson's Island. Foster also actively worked the family farm, which inspired many of his verses on nature. A veteran of the first Chautauqua meeting in 1874, he remained active in the movement as a speaker and contributor of poetry. He wrote an estimated 80,000 verses in his lifetime, including 47 volumes of poems in manuscript which he presented to the WESTERN RESERVE HISTORICAL SOC. His published volumes included Whisperings of Nature (1893) and The Early Days: A Pioneer Idyl (1911). Many of his poems were also published in the CLEVELAND NEWS and the CLEVELAND TIMES (1922). He was the first clerk of the Brooklyn Village council and the second last survivor of the Brooklyn Post, G.A.R. Married to Lyde Holmden, Foster was survived by one of their 3 children. His brothers Edwin J. and Henry E. were Cleveland lawyers, the former having published verse and the latter a 1900 political campaign tract. His sister Hanna Alice Foster was a temperance worker and poet as well.

Article Categories