Some 174 years after her death, Lucy Foster finally has a headstone.
Foster was born into slavery in 1767 in Boston, given to Hannah Foster of Andover at age 4, and freed at age 16 when slavery was abolished in Massachusetts. She was a member of South Church for 50 years. Foster died in 1845 and was interred in the church’s burying ground but never had a headstone.
Saturday, 10 young women from The Academy at Penguin Hall visited Andover to hold a memorial remembrance for Foster. The teens, students at the private high school in Wenham, researched the lives of local slave women for Dr. Linda Meditz’s “Out of the Shadows” class. They researched Foster’s life at the suggestion of both Elaine Clements, the executive director of the Andover Historical Society, and Charlotte Lyons, the historian for South Church.
The students also worked closely with Massachusetts slate artist Michael Updike, son of author John Updike, to design a headstone for Foster.
Several of the students were also present Friday when the headstone was installed. Upon the suggestion of class member Autumn Armano, a jar of notes from the students was placed in the ground with the stone.
“We have spent all this time talking about Lucy," Elise Welch said. "This gives us a chance to talk to Lucy.”