When Benjamin was about 19 years old, he unexpectedly came upon a mother bear and her cubs as he was walking through the woods. The mother bear snarled at him, and he climbed the nearest tree, and hollered for help. The mother bear became enraged, and climbed the tree several times attacking him, and injuring his feet. Finally, they both fell, forty eight feet it is said, and Benjamin escaped in spite of his injuries. He was very lucky to survive.
Here is the newspaper account, with all the graphic details, from the Eastern Herald, August, 30, 1794:
On Monday the 18th inst about the middle of the day, Benjamin Foster, a young man about 19 years old, was travelling though a piece of woods in Bridgton, when on a sudden he was alarmed by the growling, or rather snarling of a bear, upon which he discovered her, and two or three cubs. The old one making towards him in the road, growling, he immediately took to the nearest tree, which happened to be a small hemlock about 8 or 9 inches through at the butt, and about 20 feet to the first limbs. He ascended the tree with as much speed as possible. As soon as he reached the lowest limbs, he called for help to a man who lived about a quarter of a mile from him, upon which the bear retreating from the tree, set up a hideous yell. She then returned to the tree with great fury and climbed up nearly to the first limbs, but losing her hold, fell to the ground. Enraged at this, she made up the tree a second time, about 30 feet, till she came to the young man, and taking off one of his shoes, fell again. She immediately recovered, and with greater rage than ever, ascended the tree till she came to the young man and took off his other shoe. He endeavored to make up the tree as fast as possible, calling for help, with the voracious animal at his heels, one of which she several times seized; but he forced it out of he jaws by leaping up the tree. At length she took such violent hold of him that he fell to the roots of the tree, and the bear immediately after him on the other side. The young man, notwithstanding one of his heels and feet were torn and mangled, and his ankle wounded, happily made his escape.
The height from which he fell, has since been found to be forty eight feet.