Page 14 - R.G. Percy

I know Ventura County History as well as any man now living, and have lived 87 years of it and made it my hobby. During my years as Director of the Pioneer Museum, I have researched the early local newspapers, as we had bound copies of them from the first one issued in 1872 until 1935 in the Museum.

No man who ever lived in Ventura County did more for the City and the County than E. P. Foster. I was angry and disgusted when the name of the Library, when the new one was built, was changed from the original name of Foster Library and when the new Hospital, the name was changed from the Foster Hospital to the Community Hospital. The same is true when I see what Seaside Park is today, rather than what Mr. Foster planned for it. The only place where the Foster name remains now is Foster Park.

E. P. Foster was a good man, a generous man, an honorable man and a very kind man. He was always ready to help people and his advice was good. He liked young people, as I should know, and more than one was helped to get jobs in their early life.

As for his Bank life, my brother Steve and Edith Mercer's first husband could tell more about that than I did, but they are no longer here. Steve and Henry went to work in the Bank of Ventura about the same time in 1900. Steve was there until the Bank was sold to the Bank of Italy in 1917.

I believe that Mr. Foster began with the Bank in about the middle of the 1880s as the Cashier, and became President in 1890. But I have heard him say that in making loans that he considered the man more than he did his collateral. And he was a good judge of men. Banking in those days was much different from today. The Banks were locally owned and the President and Directors knew the men with whom they dealt personally. Today with our big chain Banks, that is not true, and a man's collateral is what counts.

A. Levy was another Banker like Mr. Foster, and there is many a rich family in the County today owes it to men like them, who carried them through the dry years, in spite of their collateral. Edith Hobson Hoffman once told me, "The Hobson Family would not have the money that we have today, if it had not been for Mr. Foster." And there were many others. The 1890s were not only a series of dry years, but of depression years too, and many of the County farmers and ranchers were in trouble financially. The local Banks carried them until better times came. Banks today don't do that.