Gold Towns: Foster’s Bar

Foster’s Bar was a mining camp founded by William McFadden Foster, a Donner Party survivor who also participated in the rescue efforts. He was the husband of Sarah Ann Murphy Foster, son-in-law of Levinah Jackson Murphy (who perished); brother-in-law of Mary Murphy Johnson Covillaud, and brother-in-law of Michael Nye, whom his wife’s widowed sister Harriett Murphy Pike married in 1847. After the Donner Party rescue William spent a short time working as a carpenter in San Francisco, but returned to the settlement where his wife and her family were living—which later became Marysville. William, now a merchant turned gold miner, opened and operated a store in 1849 near a sandbar in the North Yuba River which took his name. The Foster family relocated to Minnesota in 1850, but Foster’s Bar remained a thriving township for years; a post office operated at Foster’s Bar from 1852 to 1866.  In 1970, the site was inundated by the New Bullard’s Bar Reservoir.



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