Louisiana, State of, Signed by Governor Murphy James Foster


SKU: 4271abr
Product Details


Beautifully engraved antique bond certificate from the State of Louisiana dating back to the 1890's. This document, which has been signed by then Governor Murphy Foster and the Secretary of State, was printed by the American Bank Note Company and measures approximately 10 3/4" (w) by 14 3/4" (h). 


This certificate features a pair of fantastic vignettes - the original Louisiana State Capitol Building appears at the top and the Justice allegory is shown at the bottom.


You will receive the exact certificate pictured.

Please note the right side margin is uneven as a result of coupon removal.

    Historical Context

    This bond was issued by the State of Louisiana around the turn of the century to help consolidate the state's debt.

    This bond was originally issued the first year Murphy Foster took office.

    Murphy James Foster

     Murphy James Foster's Signature

    Murphy James Foster's Signature (Green Piece)

    Murphy James Foster's Signature

    Murphy James Foster's Signature (Brown Piece) 


    Foster was born in 1849 on his family's sugar cane plantation near Franklin, the seat of St. Mary Parish, to Thomas J. Foster and the former Martha P. Murphy. His father owned fifty slaves in 1860, marking him as a major planter. Murphy Foster was educated in public schools and attended Washington and Lee University in Lexington, Virginia, and graduated from Cumberland University in Lebanon, Tennessee in 1870. He studied law at the University of Louisiana (later Tulane University) in New Orleans and was admitted to the bar in 1871 during the Reconstruction era (United States).

    On May 15, 1877, Foster married Florence Daisy Hine, the daughter of Franklin merchant T.D. Hine. She died on August 26, 1877, at age 19. In 1881, he married Rose Routh Ker, daughter of Captain John Ker and the former Rose Routh of Ouida Plantation in West Feliciana Parish near Baton Rouge. The couple had ten children, nine of whom lived to maturity. These included Murphy James Foster II, the father of future Governor Murphy (Mike) Foster. By and large the family has been Episcopalian.

    Prior to being elected and serving as governor, Foster served as a state senator from 1880 to 1892. In 1892, he was elected governor as the Democratic Party nominee, and he had the support of the Farmer's Alliance, a populist group, as well.

    His lieutenant governors were Charles Parlange and Hiram R. Lott, during his first term, and Robert H. Snyder of Tensas Parish in the second term.

    Foster appointed Thomas M. Wade of Newellton, another Tensas Parish legislator, to the state board of education. Wade later served as the long-term Tensas Parish school superintendent.

    Foster appointed Adolphe Lafargue, a newspaper publisher and a state representative from Avoyelles Parish to a state court judgeship, which Lafargue retained until shortly before his death in 1917. He named as his private secretary William Washington Vance, a state senator from Bossier Parish and a native of South Carolina. He appointed Swords Lee, a Mississippi native descended from the Lee family of Virginia and a timber businessman from Pollock as the assessor for Grant Parish.

    Foster appointed William B. Bailey, the co-founder of the Lafayette Daily Advertiser and the former mayor of Lafayette as the clerk of the state district court for Lafayette Parish.

    In the 1896 general election, Foster was re-elected as the incumbent. He defeated the Republican-Populist fusion candidate John Newton Pharr (1829–1903), a sugar planter from St. Mary Parish. Lewis Strong Clarke, a neighboring sugar planter from St. Mary Parish, directed the Pharr campaign. Pharr had possibly gained a majority of votes cast and won twenty-six of the then fifty-nine parishes, with his greatest strength in north central Louisiana and the Florida Parishes to the east of Baton Rouge.

    With the assistance of the Regular Democratic Organization political machine based in New Orleans, Foster officially received 116,116 votes (57 percent) to Pharr's 87,698 ballots (43 percent). The election, however, suffered heavily from fraud which benefited Foster, and widespread violence to suppress black Republican voting. A clear accounting of the election results is probably not possible.

    Subsequently, as governor, Foster signed off on the new Louisiana Constitution of 1898, establishing a variety of voter registration requirements that would "disenfranchise blacks, Republicans, and white Populists." (All of these categories of voters had voted overwhelmingly for John N. Pharr, and similar coalitions gained governorships and/or congressional seats in some southern states. The new constitution ensured that Louisiana would become a one-party state, and it was part of the "Solid South" Democratic hegemony for the next six decades.)

    After Foster's reelection in 1896, Louisiana general elections were non-competitive; the only competition took place in Democratic primaries. Voter rolls were sharply reduced by the new initiatives, and blacks and other groups were excluded from the political system. The white-controlled legislature imposed racial segregation and Jim Crow. As an example of the changed politics, by 1908 when John N. Pharr's son Henry Newton Pharr (eponym of Pharr, Texas) sought the Louisiana governorship as a Republican, he gained just 11.1 percent, of a much reduced proportion of voters in comparison to his father's campaign against Foster in 1896.

    After leaving the office of governor in 1900, Foster was elected by the state legislature as a U.S. senator. He served until 1913, when he lost the Democratic nomination. Thereafter, he was appointed as the customs collector in New Orleans by President Woodrow Wilson. This Southerner achieved office because he gained an Electoral College bonus following disfranchisement of blacks in the South and hobbling of the Republican Party.

    Foster died in 1921 on the Dixie Plantation near Franklin, some nine years before his grandson and namesake, a future governor of the state, was born.