In 1881, four-year-old Caroline Rose Foster moved to a farming property just West of downtown Morristown with her father Charles, a New York-based commodities trader. Over her 102-year long life she became locally famous and a central figure in Morris County's history and heritage preservation community. Charles and Emma Thompson Foster married in New York, had two sons and Caroline (Cara). Tragically, both sons died in childhood, and Emma herself died of tuberculosis in 1880. After Emma’s death and the move out of the city to Morristown, Emma’s sister, Caroline Thompson, joined the household to raise the young Cara. Starting in 1886, Cara began attending the Miss Dana School for Young Ladies, this was a nationally recognized girls’ school that arose to teach the daughters of the newly arrived millionaire class in Morris County. More information on the Miss Dana school can be found elsewhere in this exhibit.
Upon her graduation from the Miss Dana school in 1896, Cara made her social debut. Shortly thereafter Charles’ health began to decline, and he retired from business. As her father’s health worsened, Cara began to take on more responsibility for the operation of the farm. Thus began her long career of operating Fosterfields and participating in the civic life of the community.
As the United States prepared to enter World War I, Cara joined with other community leaders to sell war bonds, and was appointed under her uncle the sheriff as the first female deputy sheriff of Morris County.
Cara had a tense relationship with her father, and after several years of living as adults under the same roof she decided that more space was in order. Caroline built a cottage on the property herself by hand, displaying the kind of independence and can-do attitude that she would be known for throughout her life.
In 1921 Caroline was elected to the Morris County Republican Committee, a position she held for forty years. She was a charter member of the Morris County Golf Club and a member of 30 other civic and historical organizations including the Morristown Women's Club and the Morris County Historical Society.
In 1973 Caroline donated her 132-acre farm, Fosterfields, to the Morris County Parks Commission as a functioning historical farm.
In 1979 Caroline Foster passed away at the age of 102, she was celebrated throughout the County as a civic activist and philanthropist.