Foster, William Billy
William Billy Foster was a central figure in the conflict that came to be known as McGowan's War. On 24 December 1858, at the height of the Fraser Canyon gold rush, Foster, who co-owned a saloon at Yale, shot and killed a British gold miner named Bernard Rice.1 Rice, who friends said hapent to be little in lickuire at the time, had refused to pay for his drinks and was forced by Foster to leave.2 McGowan later wrote that Rice soon returned with a pistol in his hand, and pointed it at Foster, who immediately drew on him, and shot and unfortunately killed him. Attempts to apprehend Foster, who went to Hill's Bar and hid for a few days, and then went down the river in a canoe, and finally made his escape out of the country, sparked a confrontation between rival groups in the area that was swiftly resolved by the appearance of Col. Moody and the Royal Engineers.3 On 12 March 1859, Victoria's British Colonist newspaper confirmed that Foster had arrived safely in Nevada.4
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