FOSTER’S AND THEIR ANCESTRY
Prepared from various sources, a list of which will be given at the end.
The first that is recorded of the name Foster is that Sir Richard Forester, called then by his Latin name, Forestarius, went to England with his brother-in-law, Duke William, the Conqueror, in the year 1066 A.D. Sir Richard’s father was Baldwin IV, the Forester, called ‘LeDebonair’, and his mother was Adela, daughter of Robert, King of France. Sir Richard fought valiantly at the Battle of Hastings and for his services on that field, he was knighted by King William and given large tracts of land in what is now called Northumberland.
The name of this family has been spelled in various ways. Beginning as Forester, it was later Forrester, then Forester again, later reduced to Forster and finally to Foster. All three spellings are in use at the present time.
Below will be found a list of the first Fosters. These are undoubtedly the ancestors of all those by the name of Forster or Foster who came to America during the 17th Century. The family begins with:
1. ANACHER, GREAT FORESTER OF FLANDERS. He died in 837 A.D., leaving a son.
2. BALDWIN I, of Flanders the Forester, called ‘Iron Arm’ on account of his great strength, some say on account of his being constantly in armor. He married Princess Judith, daughter of Charles, the Bold, King of Aquitenia and Neustria, or what is now the greater part of modern France. He built castles at Bruges and at Ghent to defend the country against the Normans. He died at Arras in 877 and was succeeded by his son:
3. BALDWIN II, of Flanders, the Forester, who married Princess Alfrith, the daughter of Alfred the Great, King of England. He made war on Endes, Count of Paris, who had usurped the French crown, and defeated him. Baldwin II died in 919 and was succeeded by his son:
4. ARNULF, of Flanders, the Forester, who died in 988 and was the father of:
5. BALDWIN III, of Flanders, the Forester, ‘of the handsome beard’, who married the daughter of the Count of Luxemburg. This Forester was a great warrior and defended his Kingdom against the united forces of Emperour Henry, King Robert of France and the Duke of Normandy. He died in 1034 and was succeeded by his son:
6. BALDWIN IV, the Forester, called ‘LeDebonair’, who married Princess Adela, daughter of Robert, King of France. They had four children:
7. i. Baldwin V, the Forester
8. ii. Robert Forester, who conquered the Principality, Frisland.
9. iii. Matilda (or Maud) who married William the Conqueror.
10. iv. Sir Richard Forester, (sometimes Latinized, Ricardus Forestarius.)
10. SIR RICHARD FORESTER, mentioned above as the first to naturally bear the name, was head of the powerful Northumberland family of Foresters. They were the principal chieftains of the country in very early times. In a song about the Battle of Otherbowine, the Forsters are placed first of the clans mentioned:
‘The Forster, Fenwick, Collinwood, the heroes of renown,
High in the ranks of Lord Percy, the war axe hewed down,
The Percies in that vengeful fight, both were taken,
But for the Douglas dead body were yielded up again.’
The Forsters of Bamborough Castle were lords of the Blanchlands in Northumberland, and for several generations they were Knights-Banneret, Lords Warden of the Middle Marches, High Sheriffs of Northumberland and hereditary Governors of Bamborough Castle. Sir Richard was succeeded by his sun:
11. SIR HUGO, who fought against Magnus, King of Norway, when he invaded England in A.D. 1101. In the battle which occurred, King Magnus was slain and his troops were routed. Sir Hugo died in 1121, leaving a son:
12. i. Sir Reginald, who succeeded him, and
13. ii. Sir Hugo
12. SIR REGINALD FORSTER, as the name now became, was knighted by King Stephen for his valiant conduct at the Battle of The Standard on August 22, 1138. He died in 1156 and left a son:
13. Sir Hugo, a person of great prominence during the reign of King Stephen, who appointed him Chief Guard of the Royal Forests of England. In 1152, he witnessed a deed in Northumberland in which he was styled Foresturious (Forster) and his arms were given as:
‘A shield argent, three bugles or stringed gules.’
14. SIR WILLIAM, who took an active part in suppressing the insurrections in Wales in 1163 and again in 1165. In 1166, he took his departure for France, the people of Brittainy having rebelled against their Duke, Conan. This insurrection having quelled, Sir William was about to return to England when a war ensued between the French King, Louis VII, and Henry II King of England. Sir William took part in every engagement of the war and did not return again to England, until peace was concluded at Montmirall in 1169. In 1176, he died and was succeeded by his son:
15. SIR JOHN, who accompanied King Richard I, The Lion Hearted, to Palestine during the Crusades, where he served with great distinction. At the siege of Acre, A.D. 1191, a party of Saracens sallied forth and surrounded King Richard, who would have been overpowered and made prisoner if it had not been for Sir John. Seeing the danger from a distance, Sir John rode desperately to the rescue of his King, shouting, ‘To the rescue! A Forster! A Forster!’ Followed by his retainers. The King cut down the Saracen leader whose troops fled before Sir John’s terrific onslaught. For this brave and timely assistance, the King granted to Sir John the right to wear a chevron vert upon his shield.
Sir John was also a Magna Charta Baron, being one of those who compelled King John to sign that great instrument of human freedom in 1215 A.D. Sir John died in 1220. There is a monument to his memory in Bamborough Abbey, bearing his effigy in full armor. His son, Sir Randolph, succeeded him.
16. SIR RANDOLPH, accompanied Prince Richard, brother of Henry III, to France for the purpose of regaining the French provinces in 1225. After fighting for some years in France, he returned to England. Sir Randolph died in 1256 and was succeeded by his son:
17. SIR ALFRED, who assisted Prince Edward after his escape from the Rebel Barons, in raising an army for the purpose of releasing Henry III and Prince Richard from confinement. This effort was successful and Alfred was appointed one of the King’s officers. He received the honor of Knighthood upon the battlefield at Eversham on August 4, 1265. He died in 1284 and was succeeded by his son:
18. SIR REGINALD who fought at Bannockburn in 1314. A number of his descendants were great chieftains, many being knighted, and were closely related to the Royal Families of England, Scotland, Wales, and Ireland. Sixty one of this family held office as Mayor or Sheriff in the town of Galway, England. Sir Reginald died in 1328 and was succeeded by his son:
19. SIR RICHARD who fought at Crecy, August 24, 1346, and at Poiters, September 19, 1356. He was knighted for his valor. In 1371 he died, leaving a son:
20. SIR WILLIAM who fought actively against the French for which he was knighted by Henry V, King of England. Sir William left a son:
21. SIR THOMAS, who was born in 1397, married the daughter of the Earl of Angus and died, leaving a son:
22. SIR THOMAS, a Knight, who married the daughter of the Saxon Chief of the Fetherston Clan. His children were:
23. i. Sir Thomas, who succeeded him.
24. ii. Sir Roger
23. SIR THOMAS who was knighted and married the daughter of the Baron Hilton of Hilton Castle. His children were:
25. i. Sir Thomas who succeeded his father.
26. ii. Patrick
27. iii. Roger
28. iv. Reginald
25. SIR THOMAS who was a Knight and also High Sheriff of Northumberland. He married Dorothy, daughter of Lord Ogle whose ancestors had come to England, like the Forsters at the time of the Conquest. Their children were:
29. i. Sir Thomas, the next in line in this outline.
30. ii. Sir John, Knight of Bamborough Castle
31. iii. Reginald
32. iv. Rolland
33. v. Robert, ancestor of the Forsters of York, England.
34. vi. Elizabeth
35. vii. Agnes
36. viii. Dorothy (The book, ‘Dorothy Forster’, by Sir Walter Besant, printed about 1880, in England, is very interesting and should be read by all of us who are interested in the Foster Family.)
29. SIR THOMAS, like his father, was a Knight and High Sheriff of Northumberland. He married Foorina, daughter of Lord Wharton. His will is dated April 4, 1589. He left two children:
37. i. Sir Thomas
38. ii. Cuthbert, whose family is listed below.
38. CUTHBERT FORSTER married Elizabeth Bradford. Their children were:
39. i. Sir Matthew, knighted April 24, 1617.
40. ii. Thomas (see below)
40. THOMAS of Brunton, Esquire. He married 1st, Margaret Forster, a cousin; 2nd, Elizabeth Carr. His children were:
41. i. Elizabeth (only child of Margaret)
42. ii. Ephraim
43. iii. John, who may be the ancestor of our Virginia forefathers.
44. iv. Reginald, who came to America in 1634 (New England)
45. v. William (There is some doubt as to whether this William was a son of Thomas or a nephew). William also came to America (Virginia or New England).
WILLIAM FOSTER (the first R being dropped from the name in America) was probably of the third generation in America. He was born about 1700 in Stafford County, Virginia. This county had developed from Northumberland County, the original home of the Fosters in Virginia, by way of Westmoreland County, and was later to give up a portion of its area to form a part of Prince William County. It is quite likely that he had a brother named George who became the head of the Foster family in Fairfax County which was set off from Prince William in 1742. At any rate, George and William were voters in Prince William Co. in 1741, but in 1744, George and Robert, probably his son, were voters in Fairfax County, while William was still in Prince William [County].
William was a man of considerable means according to such records of deeds and wills as escaped the ravages of the Civil War. He was security for _______?_________ who acted as administrator of a will in 1757, and he gave considerable land to his children, as shown below. In 1767, he died after appointing his son, William, executor of his will. A man named _______?_________ Norman had deeded land to William in 1741 and this with other land of William’s had been distributed among his sons before his death, except William’s share which was probably given to him by the terms of the will. The name of William’s wife has not been found. Their children were:
i. William, of whom more presently.
ii. Robert, married Sarah _____?______ received land from his father, 150 [acres] on April 23, 1744 and 150 acres from his brother, Isaac, in 1753, took the oath of office as an Ensign in the Prince William Militia in 1762, deeded 300 acres of land to James Douglas on July 2, 1764, died in 1768. After appointing his wife, Sarah, executrix of his will. In 1771, she deeded land to Benjamin Mason.
iii. Isaac, married Sarah _____?______ received 150 acres of land from his father in 1744, deeded same land to his brother, Robert, on November 22, 1753, security for an Administrator in 1757.
iv. George, probably never married, received 100 acres of land from his father on April 10, 1757, deeded it to James Douglas on February 2, 1765, died and estate was appraised in 1778.
v. James, married Elizabeth _____?______ owned land adjoining that of his brother in 1784, also land in South Carolina, died in 1800 willing all property to his wife and children. I have the name of only one child:
1. Redmon, who owned land in 1807 and who signed as witness to a deed given that year to John Thomas by William and Sarah Foster of Clark County, Kentucky. The land in question was of the old Foster Estate. The William who gave the deed was our Kentucky ancestor and Redmon was his cousin.
WILLIAM, the next in our line, was born in Stafford County, Virginia about 1720. It appears that he was twice married, first to Jean _____?_____ and [second] to Mary _____?____. In 1768 he was security for Robert’s widow, Sarah, and a witness on her deed to Benjamin Mason in 1771. He was a neighbor to James Foster in 1784. In 1780 he and his wife, Mary, deeded land to ____?_____. William was listed as a voter in Prince William County in 1795. On February 2, 1798, William and Mary deeded 21 acres of land to Howson Hoos. On January 6, 1806 they deeded 9 acres adjoining his former purchase to Elizabeth, widow of James Foster. I can account for one son, William, by the first wife of William and it is probable that the others listed below were sons of his by the second wife.
i. William (see later)
ii. Jeremiah, thought to have been a brother of William. He was a Captain of Virginia troops during the Revolution. This same name appears later in Clark County, Kentucky records of Foster. (Lulbegrud Church)
iii. Joshua, a voter in 1795, in Prince William Co., Virginia
iv. Matthew, who witnessed a deed in P.W. County in 1798.
v. John, who with his wife, deeded land to John Thomas of North Carolina in 1806, may have been a full brother to William, and probably should be listed here as ‘ii.’ or ‘iii.’ The names of John and his wife, Elizabeth, appear in the records of Providence Church of Clark County, Kentucky for the year of 1811.
WILLIAM, son of William, was born in Prince William County, Virginia in 1747. Of his early age nothing definite is known. It is reasonable to suppose however, that he spent his time in hunting, fishing, etc., on his father’s and neighbor’s land, and that he took part in some of the Colonial Wars, as a reward for service in Captain Samuel Overton’s Company, a tract of 50 acres of land in Kentucky was granted to a William Foster. This land was surveyed in 1784 according to the 1913 Year Book of the Kentucky Society of Colonial Wars. It is recorded that William Foster was on Corn Island, near the present city of Louisville, as early as 1783.
The Revolution began actively with the Battle of Lexington on April 19, 1775. The news was sent to all of the colonies as fast as horses and men could carry it but it was not until May 3rd that the people of Virginia received it, and it probably reached Prince William County somewhat later.
Colonel Charles Harrison of Virginia organized a Regiment of Artillery, the service of which officially began on November 30, 1776. The name of this regiment was changed to 1st Regiment of Continental Artillery on January 1, 1777. William Foster enlisted in Captain Thomas Baytop’s Company (9) of this regiment. February 8, 1777. He was immediately given the rank of Bombardier or Master-Gunner which undoubtedly was a recognition of previous military service. William continued in service throughout the was. He was at Valley Forge during the terrible winter of 1777-78. He served his gun at the Battle of Monmouth, Ninety-Six, Eutah Springs and Camden, and he was at the siege and capture of Yorktown which virtually ended the war.
All the men of that time who lived on the frontier were, by necessity, well versed in the art of shooting. When a certain regiment was being recruited in Virginia, there were so many applicants for the vacancies that the Recruiting Officer announced that only the best shots would be accepted and those in the order of accuracy. Thereupon, a board, a foot square with an outline of a man’s nose upon it in chalk, was nailed to a tree. From a distance of 150 yards, the candidates shot at the target. Imagine the Recruiting Officer’s feelings when the first 40 or 50 shots fired cut the nose completely out of the board.
The early Revolutionists who were fortunate enough to possess a complete uniforms in good condition made a brave and showy appearance with their cocked black hats and powdered white hair. They wore fringed hunting shirts and leather or brown duck breeches. A black stock or cloth about the neck and a ribbon to bind the hair in a cue at the back completed the outfit. Of course, the uniform was changed from time to time. In 1779, a blue coat was added to the regulation uniform. Those used by Virginia troops were faced in red and lined with scarlet for the use of the Artillery. Yellow buttons and hat bands were also worn by these men. In 1782 an insignia of merit was adopted. For three years of service, an angular piece of cloth of the color of the coat facing was placed on the left coat sleeve and for six years service two such symbols were used. It is gratifying to us to know that two such insignia were proudly worn by William before the end of the war. For unusually meritorious service the right to wear on the left breast, a heart of purple silk or cloth, edged with lace, was granted.
All men were required by General Washington’s orders, to make an especially good appearance while on guard or on parade. It was required that beards be neatly trimmed, shoes and clothes clean, face and hands washed, and hair well powdered for all such events.
There were many times before the war was over, however, when even the neatest and cleanest soldier made a deplorable appearance in his tattered and torn old uniform, with his feet bound in strips of his blanket because his shoes had long since worn out. Then, having no blanket, he was compelled to sit by the fire all night in order to keep warm. Some bound their feet in strips of raw-hide and they left bloody tracks in the snow wherever they went. The few men with good shoes sometimes kept them on too long and because of swollen feet had to have their shoes cut off. Two months before the siege of Yorktown began, the Continentals were so ragged that their French allies made fun of them. Yet so loyal were they that when a couple of ships arrived from Spain with supplies, the soldiers would not wear the coats because they were red like those of the British.
In addition to his cannon, the Artillery soldier was required to keep gun, rifle, musket or flint-lock, whichever had been issued to him, in good order. Ceaseless polishing with a piece of buckskin and liberal applications of wax or oil on the stock were required. The accompanying equipment consisted of a ramrod, sword or tomahawk, cartridge box, 23 cartridges, 12 flints and a knapsack. At first ammunition was carried separately, powder in a horn or flask and bullets in a pouch. Later, the cartridges were made up to carry powder and ball ready for use. A cartridge of practically the same type was in use at the opening of the Civil War. In order to load a gun with one of these cartridges, it was necessary, first to bite off the end of the cartridge and then, after shaking a little of the powder on to the pan, ram it down into the gun by means of a ramrod. The accuracy of these primitive weapons was marvelous.
Artillery weapons of that day, on the other hand, were not accurate and compared with those of today were ludicrously cumbersome and inefficient. A cannonball could be seen coming through the air and after it struck the ground, it bounced and rolled for some distance. It was, therefore, easy enough to jump out of the way and allow the ball to go harmlessly through the ranks.
In order to teach recruits to be fearless, a reward was offered for each enemy cannonball brought to headquarters. The newer men often failed to [gauge] correctly the force of the oncoming balls and in trying to stop them with their feet, were frequently knocked down and sometimes crippled for life. This method of inculcating bravery finally had to be abandoned.
The soldier spent most of his time in the open and quite often the only things were the stars or the storm clouds. Sometimes, tents were available but not often. At Valley Forge, huts were built of logs, fence rails, sod, straw and boards, when obtainable. These huts were all of the usual frontier type.
Cold probably caused the most suffering although the heat was very trouble some at times. After the Battle of Monmouth, many men had to fall out because of the terrible heat during the retreat which followed the engagement. Between these extremes, lay mud and rain through which they marched while the darkness was so intense that the soldiers had to hold onto each other to keep from being lost. Imagine a scene – rain beating down ceaselessly, wind sighing overhead through the wet creaking branches, then a flash of lightening revealing the weary men and horses of the artillery plodding along a forest trail – a scene out once by a blackness more intense than before and all sounds lost at once in a roar and rumble of thunder.
On one occasion in Virginia in 1781, lightening struck near a column and stampeded the Artillery horses in the darkness. The accompanying militia Infantry thought the enemy was upon them and in terror-stricken panic threw their arms down into the muddy road and fled into the adjacent woods. What the Artillery-man thought of the Infantry-man, I do not know, but it was probably not complimentary.
What one Infantry-man thought about the Artillery, the weather, etc., has been recorded:
‘About dark, it did begin to storm, the wind being in the Northeast and the Artillery went before and cut up the road and the snow came about our shoe tops. Then it set in to rain and with it all made it very tedious. At 12 o’clock at night, we came to a wood and had orders to build ourselves shelters to break off the storm and make ourselves as comfortable as we could, But just as we got a shelter built and got a good fire and dried some of our clothes and began to have things a little comfortable, but poor at the best, there came orders to march and leave all we had taken so much pains for.’
The minds of the men from the frontier or back country were frequently harassed with news of Indian raids upon their homes. Reports of sickness and death in their families came to practically everyone in the army sometime during the long war. Officers at such times, asked for furloughs or leaves of absence or else resigned. The privates in despair, sometimes deserted.
All such things were severe tests of patriotism but finally all of these troubles came to an end. During the winter of 1782-83, the soldiers were well fed, well clothed and comfortable. A year and a half after Yorktown came definite news of Peace. On April 19, 1783, a fitting date, General Washington announced to the Army that Peach had arrived. In his words:
‘Nearly eight years of trial are over. Six years have been spent in the field with little or no shelter, none at public expense. Hunger, cold and nakedness have been experienced. Many battles have occurred and much blood has been shed. The Army has lived without pay. It has subsisted wholly on inadequate rations – salt pork or beef and no vegetables for weeks.’
All of these hardships and privations had been the lot of William Foster, our Revolutionary ancestor. He was honorably discharged on James Island, South Carolina, on May 18, 1783. On October 14th, that years, he received by Act of the Legislature of the State of Virginia, the sum of L-128 – 8 shillings – 2 pence, as the sum of his full pay and allowances due. In November, 1783, he received a grant of 200 acres of land in what is now the State of Kentucky, as a recognition of the services he had rendered during the Revolution. A copy of this land grant is now in my possession. On June 22, 1818, while living in Clark County, Kentucky he applied for a pension as a Revolutionary soldier and was granted the sum of $96 per year. This, I believe, concludes his Revolutionary services and rewards and is confirmed in its essentials by letters from the War Department and from the Pension Bureau which are now in my possession. Record of his services may also be obtained from the Lineage Books of the Daughters of the American Revolution.
An item in the ‘History of Southeast Missouri’, published about 1888, concerning the life of Judge (Colonel) John D. Foster, a grandson of William, states that William reached the grade of Brigadier General during the Revolution. I have been unable to find any records which sustain this statement and am, therefore, doubtful of its accuracy.
William was married shortly before the Revolution to Sallie Slade, his first wife. She died probably during the winter of 1779-80, for William was home on furlough at that time. He was furloughed from his Regiment from November 1779 until March 1780. This was undoubtedly due to her last illness and death, for only some such emergency could have obtained him such a long leave of absence.
William’s children by his first wife were:
i. Mildred, born __________ died ___________. Married Minor Hart of Bath County, Kentucky on May 27, 1811.
iv. Harrison (See later)
It is thought that William made his first trip to Kentucky in the autumn of 1783 for during that winter, a garrison was kept on Corn Island near where Louisville now stands and the records list William among those present.
William made the acquaintance of Miss Sarah Hart, daughter of Leonard Hart about this time. Whether they first met in Virginia or in Kentucky is not known, although I believe they were married in the State of Virginia. At any rate, they were married on March 6, 1784 or 1785. I am not certain which. She was a member of the well known Hart family of Kentucky which has to this day, an enviable record.
The next definite record of William is that his son, Peyton, was born in Bourbon County, Kentucky in 1791. On April 27, 1794, his daughter, Margaret, was born near Thomas’ (Thompson’s) Station, Kentucky. It is likely that, due to Indian troubles, William made no permanent home in Kentucky until about 1795 and so he, like others, lived near the forts or stations for protection from the redskin foe. It is also likely that William did not bring his family from Virginia until about 1790 for a like reason. As is noted elsewhere, he owned land in Prince William County, and could leave his family in comfortable circumstances while he made the long trips to Kentucky and back.
In that early time, conditions were very primitive and unsettled in the land known as Kentucky. Kentucky County of Virginia was set off from Fincastle County, Virginia in 1776. In May, 1780, Kentucky County was divided into Jefferson, Fayette, and Lincoln Counties. Bourbon County was set off from Fayette County on May 1, 1785. Clark County was organized from Fayette and Bourbon in 1792 about the time Kentucky became a separate state. Thompson’s Station, mentioned above, was founded in 1790 by Robert Thompson.
In those days the women did all the household work and the men did the fighting, hunting, etc. and built the homes. Practically everything was picturesque garb. The famous Kentucky hunting-shirt was made of brown material, the better ones of dressed deer skin, with a wallet-like bosom and plenty of fringe along all the seams. A belt was worn for the purpose of holding the apparel in place and also to support the bullet pouch, tomahawk, scalping knife, etc. The breeches and leggings were made of deer skin and high moccasins of the same material were worn, gathered about the ankles by a thong. This, topped off with a coon-skin cap (or sometimes a buffalo skin) completed the pioneer’s outfit.
The log cabins were made of heavy logs pinned together with stout oaken pins, no nails being available, and were provided with one or two windows and a stout bullet-proof door. I have a picture of a cabin of this sort which is supposed to have been occupied by some of the early Kentucky members of our family. Each cabin was, of course, provided with a huge fireplace. One bed was built into one corner of the lower room and generally one or more others were placed up under the eaves in what was in reality, only a loft or crude attic.
The presence of hostile Indians caused much bloodshed until as late as 1793. It was, therefore, by common consent, that Military Service was considered a duty of all men. Bitter and revengeful hate toward all enemies but plenty of hospitality and the warmest friendship for all who returned such courtesies were the universal order of the day.
It is interesting to note that such men as General George Rogers Clark, Colonel Daniel Boone, and Simon Kenton were personally well know to William and that his wife was closely related to Captain Nathaniel T. Hart.
On February 27, 1807 William sold his land in Prince William County, Virginia, which had been given to him by his father. The land was sold to John Thomas of Rockingham County, North Carolina, who, as records indicate, was buying up the land of William and his relatives. The deed was for 109 acres ‘at the corner of Howson Mooe, James Foster and Redmon Foster.’ Redmon Foster was a witness to the deed. ‘William Foster of Clark County, Kentucky’ and Sarah, his wife, signed the deed, so they must have both been on a visit at the time.
Later William was obliged to bring suit against John Thomas for the return of some Negro slaves. He employed Levi Hart, of Lexington, Kentucky, as his attorney. (Levi Hart was probably a relative of Sarah Hart Foster).
“Know all men by these presents, that I, William Foster, of the County of Clark and State of Kentucky, having special confidence and trust in Levi Hart of Lexington, Kentucky, do nominate and appoint him my attorney in fact, for me in my name to ask for, demand, receive or sue for, or compromise, if he thinks fit so to do, a Negro woman named “Molla”, her increase and descendants, supposed to be at this time in possession of John Thomas of Rockingham County, North Carolina and to which I am justly entitled, say about fifteen in number, hereby ratifying all his acts in the premises as fully as if I were present myself personally and had done the same.
Witness my hand this 22nd day of January 1822
In 1811, William purchased 100 acres of land on which he was then living, from John Rankin and wife of Clark County, Kentucky. William’s son, Peyton, was one of the witnesses to the deed. This land was near Lulbegrud, Clark County, Kentucky.
What became of the land which William had received from the state of Virginia is not known to me. In no community or newly settled state were there ever great difficulties over land titles than in Kentucky. Men like Daniel Boone and General Peter Muhlenburg lost all they had. Is it any wonder then that William Foster through faulty overlapping surveys, probably lost all of the land which had been granted him for his military service to the State of Virginia and the nation.
William and Sarah Hart Foster raised a large family whose names are given below:
i. Jeanette, called Jennie or Jane, born ________, died in 1870, married 1st- John Patrick, who died – 2nd – John Armstrong, who later served as Sergeant with his brother-in-law, George W. Foster, in Captain Abraham Lincoln’s Company. Both of her husbands were soldiers during the Revolution.
ii. Peyton, born 1791, died in 1872 (see later)
iii. Margaret, born April 27, 1794, died in 1885. She married Hamilton G. Hisle on February 28, 1824. Their son, George W. Hisle, born May 10, 1828 and Minor Hart Hisle, born ____________, who married Ann Strode. The son of these two, James Nelson Hisle, married Roxanna Spahr. Their daughter, Anna Mae, married Oscar Lyne, a descendant of Dr. Ephram McDowell.
iv. Susan, born 1798, died ________, married Allen Armstrong on April 9, 1823.
v. George W., born May 7, 1800, died May 7, 1837 (See later)
vi. Sarah, born 1802, died ________, married Benjamin Grigsby on May 3, 1822.
vii. Polly, born ________, died ________, married William Hulse.
viii. Nancy, born 1803, died ________, married Thomas O. Adams
ix. Leonard, born 1806, died 1877 in Kentucky, married Margaret Ketchens. No children.
On February 7, 1824, William died at his home on the land which he had purchased from John Rankin thirteen years before. He was buried near Lulbegrud in Clark County. His life of 77 years had been an eventful one. Had he chosen to write and leave behind some written record of his life, how interesting we should now find it, and, how much easier would be my task of compiling this record. As it is, I can only consult contemporaneous records in order to estimate the influence of those times upon our family. William’s widow, Sarah, finally married again. Her second husband was Moses Baker. She outlived him also and finally died about 1850.
HARRISON, eldest son of William, was born in Virginia sometime during the Revolution, probably about 1779. He was undoubtedly named in honor of his father’s Regimental commander, Colonel Harrison. Little is known of Harrison except that he married and raised a family. He died in Clark County, Kentucky in 1819 leaving his property by will to his children. His wife had probably preceded him in death. Their children were:
PEYTON, eldest son of William by Sarah, his second wife, was born in Bourbon, Kentucky in 1791. Peyton is a name which has been very popular in our family for well over 100 years. Whether this Peyton is the first to bear the name I am not sure. Neither am I able to discover why he was so named. It may have been because of some relationship with the early Peyton’s of Virginia. On the other hand, it may have been the result of a desire to honor some Peyton as Colonel Harrison had been honored. At any rate, we still have Peyton’s in the family. (It should be remembered that as early as 1741, George and William Foster, respectively great-uncle and grandfather of Peyton Foster, had voted for Valentine Peyton and for ____________ Harrison.)
On May 21, 1812, Peyton married Polly Daniels, daughter of Beverly Daniels, a Revolutionary soldier from Virginia who was then living in Clark County, Kentucky. Peyton was a soldier during the War of 1812. Some accounts state that he was a Captain but I believe he was only a Private. He did receive a grant of land for his services so there is no doubt about the fact that he saw service during the second war with Great Britain.
In 1826 Peyton, in company with his brother, George W. and their sister, Jeanette, (usually called Jane or Jennie) and their respective families, [immigrated] to the State of Illinois. They settled first near the present town of Loami in Sangamon County. Peyton and his brother, George, both took part in the Indian Wars. Except for short visits back in Kentucky, Peyton remained in Illinois until 1852 when he moved to the State of Missouri. He died in Commerce, Scott County, Missouri in 1872. His wife, Polly, preceded him in death by one year. Their children were:
i. Jeanette, born in 1813 in Kentucky, died ___________, married Edward Greenwood.
ii. William H., born 1815, died ___________, married Margaret Greenwood.
iii. George L., born 1817, died __________, married Lucille Short.
iv. John D., born 1820, died 1901. (See later)
v. James M., born 1823, died ___________.
vi. Peyton, born 1825, died ___________, married Maria Colburn.
vii. Leonard, born 1827, died ___________.
viii. Polly, born __________, died __________, married Alfred C. Campbell who was a Lieutenant during the Mexican War and a Captain during the Civil War.
ix. A child, born 1829, died accidentally in 1836.
x. Hiram Byrd, born July 30, 1832, died March 30, 1904. (See later)
GEORGE W., second son of William and Sarah Hart Foster, was born in 1800 on May 7th, in the State of Kentucky. On August 8, 1821 he married Miss Sarah Miller, daughter of Abraham Miller of Clark County, that state. She was born in Clark County on February 17, 1797.
In those days, people usually married quite young. On the day of the wedding, the groom and his friends met at his father’s house quite early in the morning. When they set out for the house of the bride, which place they had to reach well before noon, as the whole community would be assembled there, and the ceremony must, without fail, be completed before twelve o’clock. After a heavy dinner of venison, bear meat, etc., came dancing (reels, square dances, jigs, etc.) which continued far into the night or even until the next morning. A few days later came the house raising on a piece of land belonging to one of the parents of the couple. Everyone helped on this and then followed an all night housewarming dance. After that the young couple [was] allowed to move into their new log cabin.
As mentioned before, George and his family came to Illinois in 1826 in company with his brother, Peyton, and their sister, Mrs. Jeanette Armstrong, and settled near the site of the present town of Loami. George later moved to a farm which he purchased in 1832, and spent the rest of his life thereon. When the Foster’s first came to Illinois, the state presented a much different appearance than it now does. At that time there were no well established trails leading into the Illinois country and a limitless expanse of rolling prairie stretched in every direction as far as the eye could see. Indians (friendly ones) were to be seen quite often, and deer, prairie chickens and other game swarmed on all sides. One had only to be a good shot in order to keep the family larder well stocked with venison, wild turkey, bear meat, etc. And, of course, practically every man and boy was by necessity, compelled to be a good shot.
One old settler of Sangamon County, describing things as he saw them in 1828, said:
“Riding along the gently rolling prairie, now you descend into a valley and your vision is limited to a narrow circle. That herd of deer has taken flight at your coming and quits its grazing on the tender grass of the valley, and following that old buck as a leader, runs off with heads erect, horns thrown back, their white tails waving in the air, has circled around until yonder hillock is reached. When turning toward you, they gaze with their dark bright eyes, as if inquiring why you have invaded their free pastures. As you ride along, the rattle snake is stretched across the road (way or path) sunning itself, and the prairie wolf takes to his heels and gallops off much like a dog, but slowly, as if to show you that he is not frightened. That flock of prairie chickens has taken wings, and with a whirr flies away and now has alighted yonder.”
Then all around was unbroken prairie, the home of the wolf, the deer and the prairie fowl, unmarked by civilization or cultivation, except the scattering farms and houses along the timber.
Such were the sounds witnessed by George W. Foster, and so might he have written of them had he chosen to do so.
In the winter of 1830-31 came the famous Deep Snow. This snow was an accumulation of several snowfalls followed by a storm of unusual severity and very intense cold.
As a result the snow became crusted over so heavily that dogs and men could walk upon it in many places, although it sometimes broke through with a man. Due to his small sharp hoofs, a deer could not run over the snow but broke through, and so was easily caught by man or dogs. Game of all sorts suffered severely and died in great numbers. Deer, prairie chickens, etc. never again became plentiful.
Many of the settlers were lost in the big snow storm itself or fell through the crusted snow later and several thus lost their lives, their bodies being found in the Spring after the snow had melted. On the day on which the last big storm of the series began, George Foster went deer hunting, taking with him his two eldest sons, William and Peyton. The storm began before any success had attended the hunters’ efforts. Thinking the weather too bad for boys of seven and eight years of age to be out, George sent his sons home. This act undoubtedly saved their lives. It was the last they saw of him for many days.
The storm grew worse and worse and at last it dawned upon George that he was lost. Fortunately, he had his dog with him. This faithful friend was a great comfort to him during the trying time that followed, and eventually the animal helped to save his master’s life. Four or five nights later Mr. Wilcoxon, a neighbor who lived about five miles from the Foster log cabin heard, late one night, weird sort of cries or sound. While considering what to do and waiting for it to be repeated, he heard a scratching at the cabin door. He found there, the faithful dog, which led him out into the night through two or three hundred yards of the unbelievably deep snow to a man more dead than alive. Mr. Wilcoxon managed to get George into his cabin and by patient and careful labor, saved his life. A few days later he took him home. Imagine the joy in the Foster household when the scratching and whining of the dog caused them to open the door, and they beheld coming across the crusted snow, the loved one whom they had given up as dead. George Foster’s life was saved. He was to live over six years longer but the man who had been acknowledged as the strongest man in the county was never fully restored to health.
The depth of the snow is the best illustrated by repeating the undoubtedly true statement that stumps of trees cut for fuel during that time in some cases stood eight and ten feet high after the snow melted in the Spring. Is it any wonder then, that the man who fell through the top crust of that snow seldom, if ever, escaped?
In 1832, Black Hawk, still in the pay of the British, organized the Indians along the Mississippi River to resist the encroachments of the Whites of Illinois and Wisconsin. Indian depredations and atrocities were given considerable publicity in the Sangamo Journal of that period. A song calculated to aid in recruiting was printed in the same paper. It is here quoted in part:
“Brave Sangamon hath armed,
All to defend her right –
Arouse, ye bold Kentucky boys,
The foremost in the fight!
Away! Away! Away!
The flames of war are burning red,
The naked frontier needs your aid.
Huzza for old Kentuck!
Away! Away! Away!”
George W. Foster, a man with a family and plenty to do at home, felt the urge to help protect this country, his family and his neighbors against the savage Redmen and enlisted at Michland, Illinois on April 21, 1832 as a Sergeant in the company which was to be commanded by Captain Abraham Lincoln, elected by the men to lead them against the Indians. George was transferred at his own request, to the company commanded by Captain Jacob Ebey on April 29, 1832. Neither company saw any very active service, although the latter was at Dixon’s Ferry when Stillman’s Defeat occurred.
Thus it was that George Foster happened to be among those who calmed the survivors of that ignominious repulse after they had fled posthaste for some thirty miles. The Battle is frequently referred to as Stillman’s Run. Captain Ebey’s Company was discharged on May 25, 1832, along with Captain Lincoln’s Company. A great many of these men from both companies went to the mouth of the Fox River where new companies were being organized and reenlisted in new outfits. Thus it happened that we next find George W. Foster a corporal over Private Abraham Lincoln, his former captain. Captain Elijah Iles was elected to the command of this company and it was mustered in to service by a regular army officer, Lieutenant Anderson, later Major Anderson of Fort Sumpter fame in 1861. This company saw a little more service than the other two we have mentioned but it took part in no real serious engagements. Each man was equipped for instant and prolonged service against the Indians. This equipment consisted of a horse, blanket, gun, powder-flask, (well filled) pouch of balls, canteen of water, some coffee, side meat and bread.
Evidently George W. Foster did not enjoy his Indian War service. Perhaps it was because he saw no real hand-to-hand fighting, or it may have been due to a natural reticence to discuss his adventures, that we have no stories in the family concerning what he did during the war.
George Foster bought a great deal of land in Sangamon County directly from the United States Government. He, at one time, probably owned well over 1,000 acres of find land. At the time of his death this had been reduced to approximately 600 acres. He was a kind hearted man and disposed to help his fellowman at every opportunity. His habit of acting as security for people less fortunate than himself cost him a great many acres of land during his lifetime. On December 30, 1834 he purchased the land now known as the Foster Farm, north of Sugar Creek and west of the present town of Thayer, Illinois. At that time the property was heavily wooded but it has been cut off until now it is practically all under cultivation. This farm has been continuously in the possession of the Foster Family for nearly 100 years. It was next owned by Leonard, son of George, and then by William E. Another adjoining farm, which belonged to George W., next owned by his son John, and finally sold out of the family. Still another 200 or 300 acres of land west of Chatham, Illinois went to William, eldest son of George, and is now owned in turn by his son, John Douglas, of Chatham, Illinois.
George W. Foster died on May 7, 1837, as a result of typhoid fever. He was taken away while in the prime of life and the inscription on his tombstone is particularly fitting and suitable:
“Remember me as you pass by,
As you are now, so once was I.
As I am now so you must be.
Prepare in time to follow me.”
Sarah (Miller) Foster lived nearly sixty years after her husband’s death. She died on August 1, 1895 when she was over 98 years of age. They lie side by side in West Grove Cemetery about one mile form their old home.
The site of their old log cabin can still be determined by the small stones scattered from the foundation and fireplace of the old home. It stood just north of the fine big barn originally built by George’s son, Leonard, and later improved and enlarged by William E., the present owner of the land. A big modern house begun by Leonard and completed by William E. stands about 100 yards east of the site of the old log cabin.
George and Sarah Miller Foster had eight children:
i. William, born on March 15, 1823 in Kentucky, and died on November 22, 1910 (see later)
ii. Elizabeth, born 1825 in Kentucky and died ________ in Kansas. She married William Roach.
iii. Peyton, born in 1829 in Illinois. Married Mary J. Foster, a daughter of ________ Foster. Peyton served with his brother, William during the Mexican War, and died in California about 1920, leaving two children:
iv. Leonard, born March 17, 1830, died May 8, 1880 (see later).
v. Polly, born 1829, died ________, married George Organ and they had five children:
1. Minerva J., married Wesley Lowdermilk
2. Sarah F., married James Lowdermilk
3. William, married _____________ Bumgarner
4. Ida, married August White
5. Leslie, married ______________
vi. Sarah, born 1833, died ________, married Alexander Orr.
vii. Matilda, born Feb. 2, 1834, died April 24, 1876, married Micajah Treadway. A son, George, was born March 31, 1855 and died on September 4, 1856. They lived in Henry County, Missouri, for a time. She is buried in West Cemetery in Auburn Township, Sangamon County, Illinois.
viii. John, born in 1837 (see later)
COLONEL JOHN D. FOSTER, son of Peyton Foster, was born in 1820 in Clark County, Kentucky. In 1826, he came to Illinois with his parents, whose arrival in Sangamon County in 1826 has been mentioned before. He lived near the present town of Loami for many years. He was service in two wars, the Mexican War and the Civil War. In 1846, he was commissioned 2nd Lieutenant of Company D of Colonel E.D. Baker’s Fourth Illinois Infantry. This Regiment was at Tampico, Matamoras and Jalapa. Lieutenant John D. took part in the attack on Vera Cruz March 9, 1847 and was in the Battle of Cerro Gordo on April 18, 1847. He fought with credit and distinction throughout the war.
After the war he returned to Springfield, Illinois and took up the study of law. He was admitted to the bar in that city. He moved to Kirksville, Adair County, Missouri in 1851 and from 1852 to 1856, he represented Adair County in the state legislature. From 1856 to 1860 he was a member of the State Senate. He was also a member of the State Convention from 1861 to 1864 and helped to form the Provisional Government during that time.
In 1861 he left his law practice in order to take part in the Civil War. He helped organize the 10th and 22nd Missouri Volunteer Infantry, was Lieutenant Colonel of each and later Colonel of the 86th Enrolled Militia of the State of Missouri. All of his sympathies and all of his efforts were on the side of the Union. He was mustered out in 1864 on October 31.
In 1865, he went to Commerce, Missouri to practice law. In 1880, he was elected Circuit Judge of the 10th Judicial District of Missouri by an overwhelming majority.
Colonel Foster was married three times. His first wife was Eunice Miller, a daughter of Jacob Miller, who was a brother of Sarah (Miller) Foster. Their marriage occurred on February 22, 1839 and their children were:
i. George W., born ________, died ________, married Mary M. Scott. Their children were:
1. Emma D.
2. William F.
4. John D.
5. Dora B.
ii. Emily M., born ______, died ______, married to Joseph P. Ringo.
iii. Peyton F., born ______, died ______, married Martha F. Dunn
iv. Lucina, born ________, died ______, married James C. Smith and now living in Kirksville, Missouri.
v. James H. born _______, died ______.
vi. Leonora Polly, born about 1800, married 1st, William Canham of Springfield. Their children were:
1. William Edward
3. Robert Earl
4. James H.
5. B __________ E ___________
She was married a second time in 1926 to J. I. DeVaney and they live in Goodland, Kansas.
Colonel Foster’s second wife was Losetta Knowles. They had one child.
His third wife was Mary A. Williams. They had no children. Judge Foster, as the colonel was often called, was one the largest land owners in Southeast Missouri. He died in 1901. The sword which he carried through two wars is now in my possession and is one of my most valued treasures. I also have a copy of his Mexican War record furnished by the Adjutant General of the State of Illinois and a copy of his Civil War record furnished by the Adjutant General of the State of Missouri.
CAPTAIN HIRAM BYRD FOSTER, the youngest son of Peyton Foster, was born in Illinois on July 30, 1832. He served as a captain during the Civil War, probably in the regiment commanded by his brother, Colonel John D. In 1860 Captain Foster married Martha J. Ferguson. They had seven children but four of them died young and only three are listed below:
i. James M., born 1861, died March 12, 1926 – Unmarried
ii. John Peyton, born 1867, married October 1, 1896 to Claribel Gilleland, is a practicing physician in LaCrosse, Missouri. He has no children.
iii. Jeanette, born _______, married John T. Farmer in 1895. They have four children:
3. Arlo J.
4. Richard O.
WILLIAM FOSTER, son of George W. and Sarah (Miller) Foster, was born in Clark County, Kentucky on March 15, 1823. He came to Sangamon County, Illinois with his parents in 1826. He with his brother, Peyton, served [during] the Mexican War in the same company in which John D. Foster was a Lieutenant. (Company D. Fourth Ill. Inf.) They had many interesting experiences during the war. William and Peyton either actually captured or assisted in capturing General Santa Anna’s personal baggage at the time he so narrowly escaped the American forces. His wooden leg, captured at that time is now in the Illinois State Museum at Springfield, Illinois. On another occasion William’s knowledge of Spanish enabled him to understand the plotting of some Mexicans and so saved the lives of several of his comrades as well as his own.
In September, 1848, William married Miss Elizabeth J. Shutt, daughter of Jacob Shutt. They raised a large family and are both now dead. She died _____________. He died November 11, 1910.
William and Elizabeth (Shutt) Foster had nine children, as follows:
i. George R., born ________, died __________, married __________ and left children:
ii. William Peyton, born _________, married __________________, now living in Kirksville, Missouri. No Children
iii. Jacob F., born _______________, married __________________, now living on a farm west of Chatham, Illinois. His children:
iv. Sarah, born ___________, married Henry Bivens, now living in California.
v. John Douglas, born __________, married Mrs. Charles Gates. They had one child:
1. Robert, born ____________, married _________________, living in California.
John Douglas is the present owner of his father’s farm mentioned elsewhere as a part of the original holdings of George W. Foster.
vi. Leonard G., born ___________, died _____________ unmarried.
vii. Marion E., born ____________, married __________, now living in ___________.
viii. Eva J., born _______________, married Simpson Williamson, now living in Kentucky.
ix. Charles H., born ____________, married __________________, now living on a farm west of Chatham, Illinois. There are several children:
LEONARD, third son of George W. and Sarah (Miller) Foster, was born on March 17, 1830. He was too young to go to the Mexican War with his brothers, William and Peyton in 1846. Most of his life was spent on his father’s farm near Sugar Creek in Sangamon County, Illinois, although he sometimes made trips to Kentucky to see relatives in that state. One such trip was made in 1857 for the purpose of bringing back his chosen life-partner whose home was in Muhlenburg County, Kentucky. Leonard met Miss Elvira Gates, daughter of John and Lucinda (Groves) Gates, while she was visiting her uncle, __________ Gates, in Sangamon County, Illinois. After a long and patient suit in the face of considerable competition, he finally won out and in December, 1857, they were married. She was born near Greenville, Muhlenburg County, Kentucky on April 24, 1834.
When the Civil War broke out, Leonard made preparations to take part in it. While engaged in felling a tree a few days before he was to have left, he was so badly injured as to be physically incapacitated for military service. As a result he had no military experience whatsoever.
In April, 1880, he was fatally injured in a railway accident and died on May 8, 1880. He left his family in very comfortable circumstances on a farm of two hundred and ten acres, now valued at some ________________ per acre. In a History of Sangamon County, published in 1881, by the Inter-State Publishing Company, we find, among other things written of Leonard, the following:
“He was a kind and good husband and father, and was respected by all who knew him. He died, leaving the family in comfortable circumstances, with a farm of two hundred and ten acres of land valued at $60 per acre.” The huge barn and house begun by Leonard in his lifetime have been mentioned elsewhere.
I have a picture of Leonard which plainly shows his character. A handsome man, he was with firmness and honesty of purpose written large upon his face.
Elvira (Gates) Foster died on November 26, 1901. I can dimly remember her, a severe and plain appearing lady, austere but kind, and looking always as if she had known far more sorrow than joy during her more than sixty years of life. She is buried in West Cemetery beside her husband who preceded her in death by more than twenty years. Their children were:
i. Alice, born June 9, 1859, died March 23, 1910, married _________________.
ii. Flora, born September 6, 1860, married _____________________ Bumgarner. They lived in ______________ for many years. Their children:
iii. George Edgar, born November 4, 1861, married Cecelia Moore and lives in Nebraska, near Sidney. There are four children:
1. Leslie, born in 1888. Married. Their children:
i. Ivan Leslie, born in June, 1920
2. A daughter, born in 1895.
3. A daughter, born in 1898.
4. A daughter, born in _____, died in 1918.
iv. Mary, born March 3, 1865, married Abraham Miller, now living in Geneva, Nebraska. They have the following children:
1. Ross, born __________, lives near Geneva, Nebraska.
2. Ivey, born __________, married ____________ Spangler.
3. Vinetta, born ________, married ____________ Eaton, lives in Geneva, Nebraska.
4. A daughter, born __________.
v. William Edwin, born May 30, 1867 (see later)
vi. Minnie, born January 12, 1870, married Frank Kessler and they live in Virden, Illinois. They have three children:
1. Guy, born __________, married Myrtle Carr, lives in Virden, Illinois.
2. Dottie, born _________, married a Methodist minister.
3. Mildred, born _______, married _____________Brubaker. They have one child:
vii. Etta, born August 5, 1873, attended a music college in Valparaiso, Indiana. Married Otis Barbee. They lived in Southern Illinois for a great many years. Their children:
JOHN, youngest son of George W. and Sarah (Miller) Foster was born February 15, 1837. He married Fanny Bogy on ________________. She died in Kansas. He married secondly, Fanny Wright on ________________, who is now dead. For many years they lived on the farm adjoining that of his brother, Leonard. As mentioned elsewhere, both of these farms had been inherited from George W. Later John sold his Illinois farm and moved to Fort Scott, Kansas. John Foster died April 30, 1920 in Craig, Colorado. He had only one child, and that by his second wife:
i. William A., born November 1, 1867, married Dora Powers. They had the following children:
1. Arthur, born _________________, died April 27, 1947.
2. Estill, born ___________________
WILLIAM EDWIN, second son of Leonard and Elvira (Gates) Foster, was born on
May 30, 1867. William spent his early youth on his father’s farm. When he was but 13 years of age, his father died; and he and his brother, George, some seven years older, were left to care for the family. Strangely enough, Leonard’s father too, died when Leonard was only seven years of age.
In 1895, on January 8th, William E. was married to Annettie Goodpasture who was born December 17, 1868, daughter of Andrew Seymour Goodpasture, who lived on his own farm about three miles north of the Foster farm. Her mother was Mary Jane Fletcher Goodpasture. The Goodpasture family is an old Virginia family which came to Menard County, Illinois by way of Overton County, Tennessee. It has been traced to Captain James Goodpasture who was born about 1750 and lived in Washington County, Virginia. He is said to have built the first court house in Richmond. The Fletcher family is also well traced out. Mary Jane Fletcher’s great-uncle, Job Fletcher, was a state senator with Abraham Lincoln and was one of those who are known in history as “The Long Nine”. Both of these families are traced out elsewhere among my papers.
Shortly after their marriage, William E. and Annettie moved to Missouri where the writer was born on April 23, 1896. While there they lived near Yates in Randolph County, on a farm owned by Mr. John A. Pitts, Sr. In 1899 when my Grandmother Foster decided to move to Virden, Illinois, my father and mother returned to Illinois to live on the old Foster homestead, where they have lived ever since.
WILLIAM E. has served the public in a small way for a good part of his life. He has been a member of the local school board for over twenty five years and has twice been elected Township Commissioner. He is highly respected by all who know him.
The children of William E. and Nettie (as my mother was always called) are:
i. Ivan Leon, Sr., the writer of these notes, born April 23, 1896.
ii. A son, born in 1897 and died five days later.
iii. Mabel Louise, born December 29, 1899, on the Foster farm, as were all the rest of my brothers and sisters. She is a graduate of the Auburn Township High School and completed two years of work at the Chicago Art Institute. She has received many honorable mentions and prizes because of her paintings. On June 27, 1925 she married Earl T. Giberson of Virden, Illinois. The wedding was one of the prettiest and largest ever seen in West Grove neighborhood. She and her husband moved soon thereafter to their beautiful new home in Stuart, Florida.
iv. William Andrew, born December 15, 1900, graduated from Auburn Township High School and has completed one year of study at Lincoln College, Lincoln, Illinois. He is now (1927) at home, helping run the farm.
v. James Mervin, born January 10, 1902. He is a graduate of Auburn Township High School and of a commercial college in Chicago, Illinois. After finishing school he was employed by the Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul Railway Company and stationed in Green Bay, Wisconsin. There he met Miss Marian Louise Mann and they were married June 16, 1926. He is now in partnership with her father, who runs a large music store in that city.
vi. Mary Lucille, born March 2, 1904. She is attending St. John’s Nursing School in Springfield, Illinois.
vii. George Brittin, born July 3, 1910. He is now a student at Virden Township High School.
As mentioned above, all of the children now living, except myself, born on the old Foster farm which has now been in the possession of the family for some 95 years.
It is my intention to add to this history from time to time, and I hope to trace the family back considerably farther than I have herein. I hope also that my son, Ivan Leon, Jr., born January 30, 1925, will preserve and add to this record after I am dead and gone.
I'd like to note that, although I am quite interested in finding out the missing pieces of Ivan's work on our family history, I do not intend on changing his work in any manner. I would like to keep what he did in the exact way that he wrote it. Any information that is in addition to his work would be something that I would put in a separate document, such as was done with Update 1980.
-- Alex Foster, August 26, 2007