Rev. David Eugene Foster, shown here with his wife Bonnie and sons Christopher and Jonathan, is an ordained minister in the United Methodist Church. David was born in Houston October 3, 1947. Bonnie Kay Felps Foster was born in Fredericksburg, Texas on November 13, 1951. They were married in Brookshire, Texas on July 10, 1971. Christopher David Foster was born June 20, 1973 and Jonathan Paul Foster was born July 11, 1979. Both Chris and Jon are currently in college. David was named after his uncle, Rev. Richard Eugene Foster, who was a Baptist minister. David is the son of:
Tom and Marguerite were married at Cottage Grove Baptist Church in Houston, where Tom's brother, the Rev. Richard Eugene Foster, was the pastor. Marguerite was born to a long-time resident Houston family on May 7, 1917, the daughter of Joe Horton and Rosie Ernst Horton. Rosie Horton's mother, Mathilde Wieske, was a German immigrant and her father, Robert Ernst, was the son of a Swiss immigrant. The Hortons however, trace their ancestry back through Tennessee and Virginia to England. Tom and Marguerite had three children. Margy Ann Foster Kroll (b. December 20, 1940), Joyce Ruth Foster Steffens (Aug. 30, 1943 - May 22, 1997), and David.
Richard Ambrose Foster was the father of Tom Foster. Richard Ambrose Foster and his wife Mary Eugenia Hague were known to most folks as Dick and Dena, sometimes Uncle Dick and Aunt Dena. I think most of us grandchildren called them "Grandma and Grandpa" and I have chosen to use those terms in this article. Six of the grandsons had the honor of being Grandpa's pallbearers. They were Tommy, Clarke, Brownie, Stanley, Hartsell, and David.
Grandma and Grandpa were blessed with 11 children. Pearl Foster O'Donnell, in her book, Trek to Texas, 1770-1870 (published 1966), listed 81 descendants. This total included 11 children, 26 grandchildren, and 44 great- grandchildren. I have tried to identify those that have been born since then, as well as some that didn't get reported to her. In doing so, I have been able to add enough descendants to the list to more than double that number. In addition to this, I have discovered that 2 generations of descendants have come into being since then, great-great- grandchildren as well as great-great-great- grandchildren. Even so, I am certain that there are other individuals that have not been reported to me yet.
An interesting story I remember from my childhood claimed that sometime around the turn of the century, Grandpa got a job on one of the last cattle drives in Texas. The trail boss had told him that he didn't need any more drovers, but was in need of a cook. Grandpa, in need of work, and willing to stretch the truth a little bit in order to secure employment, claimed that he was indeed a cook. So he was hired. On his very first camp supper, he made chili. But he didn't realize how much the meat was going to shrink when the fat burned off, and the men complained that there was not enough meat in the chili. The next evening, Grandpa fixed a pot of beans. Not wishing to make the same mistake twice, he doubled the amount necessary. Of course he didn't realize that beans don't shrink. They swell up. He said that they had beans coming out their ears for the next several days.
Uncle Hague told me a good one. He said that when he was 12, he learned how to drive. Back in those days a driver's license was not a requirement in the state of Texas, so he was allowed to drive the family Model T everywhere the family went. In fact, he became the family chauffeur. One time the family was traveling from Dallas to Alex, Oklahoma. Grandpa let Hague drive the whole trip. The roads were narrow and unpaved. Several times Grandpa would tell him that there was a clearing up ahead and instructed him to pull off the road and find it. He would do just that and sure enough, there would be that clearing. Grandma would get out and prepare the meal and the family would eat a picnic type lunch or supper. Uncle Hague always wondered how his dad knew that there was that clearing up ahead. Later he found out that Grandpa remembered those clearings because they were the same places where the cattle drive had stopped years ago and he had prepared those camp meals for the cowboys.
When Grandpa was in grade school, he was quite a bit bigger than the other boys. Once, they were assigned to a young, slightly built female teacher. The boys in the class figured that they would be able to cut up all they wanted and get by with it. But the teacher proved to be very resourceful. She noticed Grandpa's size and how the smaller boys looked up to him. So she appointed him as her "Sergeant." What this meant was that any time she asked him to help her restore order in the class, he had the license to discipline the boys. It only took a couple of times and pretty soon, order was restored and class continued.
One of my cousins told me how our grandparents met. Grandpa was standing in the street one day when a carriage drove up, pulled by a team of horses and driven by a distinguished gentleman. Out stepped a very pretty young lady. She had arrived to take over her new position as the town's school teacher. Grandpa was immediately taken to her and he laid claim on her by telling the other young men standing nearby, "That's my girl if I never get her." By this he meant that he was going after her and the other young men had better just stay out of the way. But Dick Foster was well respected by the other young men and no-one challenged him. The pretty young girl, obviously, was Dena Hague. When she was 20 years old, she became the blushing bride of Dick Foster.
I remember when we used to visit our grandparents in Alex. Sometimes we were there when it was harvesting time for broom corn. The grown-ups would ask us kids to help. I was really too young to give much help, but my two older sisters and our cousins would go out into the fields and help with the harvesting, with me kind of tagging along.
What I remember of Grandpa was his toughness. There was a fireplace in the old house in Alex. At night we would sit in front of that fireplace. Grandpa smoked a pipe and he would just sit in front of that fire and peacefully smoke his pipe after a day's hard work. Sometimes the pipe would go out. Grandpa would actually stretch out his hand and pick up a live coal from the fire and use it to re-light his pipe. He would then throw the coal back into the fire. I'll never forget watching him handling that live coal, with his bare hand!
Grandpa and Grandma are buried in the old Kit Cemetery in Irving, Texas. This old graveyard is right next to the larger Oak Grove Cemetery, where Uncle Spurgeon is buried. Also buried at Kit is Aunt Eugenia, who is buried right next to them, as well as Aunt Agnes and Uncle Cookie, and Aunt Dru.
Mary Eugenia Hague Foster, known affectionately as Dena, was a devout Christian woman who was loved by all. She was known then and is well remembered now for her deep religious faith and her spiritual leadership in the family. She died when I was only 5 years old, but I remember how much we kids loved her.
Dena Hague was a daughter of James Calvin Hague and Mary M. Wakefield. James Calvin Hague was born on February 21, 1839 in Tennessee and died on August 11, 1901 in Dallas County, Texas. He married Mary M. Wakefield on July 7, 1864 in Lincoln County, Tennessee.
James Calvin Hague was a Confederate veteran. I remember hearing many times the story of how he was wounded in the War Between the States. The incident occurred at the battle of Murfreesboro, called in some references the battle of Stones River. I have it in Grandma's own handwriting that her father took a bullet in his right eye and it came out his left ear. Surprisingly, he survived the incident, and after the war he became a school teacher. Before the war he had been a physician. He is buried in the old Sowers Cemetery in Irving, Texas.
James Calvin Hague was the son of William Lee Hague and Lillis Louisa Houston. Family tradition says that Grandma was supposed to have been a relative of the famous Sam Houston of Texas history. I think I have verified this by researching the family of the famous hero of San Jacinto. I am almost certain that Lillis Louisa Houston was a daughter of Luther G. Houston, who died on February 14, 1863, and Jane Strode. Luther was a son of Samuel Houston, who died in 1834. Samuel married a Miss White. Samuel's father was Matthew Houston, who came from Ireland in 1735. Matthew's father was John Houston. A brother of Matthew Houston, named Robert Houston was the father of Samuel Houston, who in turn was the father of General Sam Houston.
Grandma's mother was Mary M. Wakefield, for whom Uncle Wake was named. Mary M. Wakefield was born in 1846 in Tennessee, and died in 1888 in Waxahachie, Texas. She was a daughter of Thomas Wesley Wakefield and Elizabeth McDaniel. Thomas was born in 1801 in North Carolina and died in 1859 in Tennessee. Elizabeth was born in 1807 in Tennessee and also died in 1859 in Tennessee.
When I was little, we would make several trips to Dallas or Oklahoma each year. I guess we made at least one trip each year to Alex. Pop owned a Crosley in those days. It was crowded, but we would pile into the car and go see Grandma and Grandpa. One year I remember we made two trips. I think that Pop had already bought the '49 Chevy by then so two trips in the space of a month was not quite so bad. But the reason we went that year was because we had heard that Grandma's health was failing. I think Pop wanted one more trip up to Alex just to say good-bye to his mother. My parents explained to me what was going to happen and I was prepared, as a very young child, to deal with death.
My favorite song in those days was "Home In Glory Land." I sat in the back seat, between my two sisters and sang that song all the way to Oklahoma. I guess now that my parents were wishing I would shut up. But instead, Mama used that song to explain to me that Grandma was going to go to her home up in Glory Land. When we finally got to Alex, we went into the bedroom where Grandma was sick in bed. I stood at the end of the bed and said, "Grandma, you've got a home in Glory Land!" When she heard what I said, she smiled. I will never forget that smile. We stayed in Alex for several days and went home. It was about a month later that we had to return, this time to attend her funeral. It was one of the largest funerals I have ever attended in my life. She was known and loved by such a great number of people.
Dick and Dena Foster had 11 children: Lillis Olivia Foster Ransom (Nov. 25, 1893 - May 23, 1941), Coleman Ambrose Foster (Mar 15, 1895 - Oct. 15, 1959), Charles Spurgeon Foster (Jan. 22, 1897 - May 19, 1950), Rev. Richard Eugene Foster (Oct. 29, 1898 - May 14, 1959), Mary Eugenia Foster (Oct. 29, 1898 - Jun. 17, 1986), Benjamin Wakefield Foster (May 17, 1902 - August 1985), William Frederick Foster (May 17, 1902 - Oct. 4, 1963), Aurora Agnes Foster Jones Cook (Apr. 25, 1905 - Oct. 10, 1963), Drusilla Lee Foster Shipp (Oct. 24, 1906 - Jun. 23, 1997), Hayden Hague Foster (Feb. 7, 1912), and Thomas Norwood Foster (Aug. 4, 1913 - Aug. 6, 1980).
Dick Foster was the son of Thomas Jefferson Foster. Thomas Jefferson Foster was born in Shelbyville, Tennessee December 25, 1809. On January 28, 1827 he married Drucilla Lucinda Holcomb and they moved to Marion County, Alabama, where they had their first two children: M. Barry Anderson Foster (Nov. 25, 1827 - Apr. 4, 1887) and Green Faro Foster. Green was born March 24, 1830, and fought in the War Between the States. He died in a hospital in New Orleans from wounds he received in the Battle Of Shiloh. After Green was born, T.J. and Drucilla moved across the state line to Monroe County, Mississippi, where they had four more children: Joel Lewis Foster (Oct. 11, 1832 - Apr. 26, 1905), Mary Jane Foster (b. 1834, died Grapevine, Texas), Hilda Isabelle Foster (b. 1836, d. Feb. 5, 1836), and Robert Ethelbert Foster (1839 - 1839). Soon afterwards the family moved to Texas, arriving in December of 1841. We have several sources in the family that say they came to Texas in 1834. Some have speculated that living conditions were so poor that they may have come to Texas in1834, returned to Mississippi, and came back to Texas in 1841. After arriving in Texas, T.J. and Drucilla had their seventh child, Lucratus Hodges Foster (born near Boston, Texas Aug. 1, 1842 - died May 29, 1903), who later became a Baptist minister. There were complications however, in Cratus' birth, because Drucilla died 12 days later. She is buried at Holcomb Bluff, near Linden, Texas. I have been unable to find her burial place, but did find an old section in the Pleasant Hill cemetery at Bryan's Mill in Cass County, Texas which may be the same place. More research is needed in trying to find Drucilla Foster's final resting place.
T.J. Foster was then left with seven children to raise, ranging in age between birth and 14. He then took a second wife, named Elizabeth Beaty. According to census records, she was born around 1830. They were married February 27, 1843. T.J. and Elizabeth had seven children of their own, bringing the total number to 14. These seven are: Sarah "Sallie" Foster (b. 1844), Thomas Jefferson Foster, Jr. (May 11, 1847 - Jan. 24, 1930), James S. Foster (b. 1849), Ellen Foster (b. 1851), Franklin Pierce Foster (Mar. 24, 1853 - Jul. 25, 1919), William Hatley "Crow" Foster (Apr. 21, 1854 - Oct. 11, 1943), and John "Little Johnny" Foster (1856 - 1858). Again tragedy struck the family and Elizabeth died in childbirth when Little Johnny was born.
T.J. Foster then married a third time. His third wife was Sarah "Sallie" Trimble (May 7, 1832 - Jan. 20, 1909), and they married January 28, 1858. Sallie was actually a sister of T.J.'s daughter-in-law. Her sister Margaret was married to Green Faro Foster. Sallie and T.J. had ten children: Madison Oliver Foster (Jul. 20, 1859 - Jan. 9, 1934), Benjamin McCullough Foster (Feb. 27, 1861 - Oct. 17, 1953), Tryphena Foster (Apr. 20, 1863 - Jul. 24, 1933), Tryphosa Foster (Apr. 13, 1865 - May, 1910), Drusilla Foster (Dec. 29, 1866 - May 23, 1937), Robert Lee Foster (Mar. 23, 1869 - Nov. 12, 1954), Dick Foster (Feb. 8, 1871 - May 4, 1962), Theodore Foster (Nov. 12, 1872 - April, 1957), Theodosia Foster (Nov. 12, 1872 - Nov. 16, 1873), and Frederick Walter Foster (May 20, 1875 - Jan. 25, 1850).
The total number of children for Thomas Jefferson Foster was 24. Grandpa was number 21, the seventh child in the third set. And that's the way we talk at our family reunions.
Thomas Jefferson Foster was the first Judge in that area of the state. Actually, Texas was an independent nation at the time, since she was not annexed until 1845. As a certified Judge in the Republic of Texas, he built the county courthouse of Cass County. This county has redrawn it's boundary lines several times and the actual building is now the county courthouse of Marion County. T.J. Foster's portrait is proudly displayed inside this building today.
Thomas Jefferson Foster is buried in the Gravevine cemetery in Grapevine, Texas, where he died in 1901. In 1984 the Daughters of the Republic of Texas installed a medallion on the grave of this patriarch, commemorating the fact that he was a citizen of the Republic of Texas. Those of us who descended from this great man are proud of the fact that our ancestor was a citizen of the actual Republic of Texas, and are equally proud of the fact that T.J. Foster was also a citizen of the great State of Texas and the United States of America.
The father of Thomas Jefferson Foster was Joel Lewis Foster. Pearl Foster O'Donnell , the author of Trek to Texas, 1770-1870, had little to say about this man because of her limited knowledge of him at the time. Since her passing an invaluable resource has come to light. This is the Foster-Hamilton family Bible. Pearl knew of the existence of this Bible and had spent years trying to locate it, but went to her grave with the task unfulfilled. It fell on other family members to finally locate it. When it was found, we learned that Joel Lewis Foster was born August 11, 1766 in South Carolina. He died August 25, 1834, probably in Marion, Alabama. He married Mary Jane Armstrong (Dec. 19, 1770 - Dec. 18, 1845) on February 23, 1790. Listed in the family Bible also were the names and birth dates of Joel's children: Ambrose Foster (Oct. 19, 1792 - Aug. 17, 1848), Hannah Foster (Feb. 12, 1794 - May 20, 1863), Sarah Foster (Dec. 3, 1795 - October, 1796), Benjamin F. Foster (Jun. 24, 1796 - Oct. 6, 1868), Jannet Foster (Jun. 24, 1796 - Jul. 17, 1796), Richard Foster (Dec. 25, 1797 - 1803), Joel L. Foster (b. Nov. 14, 1799), John E. Foster (b. Apr. 30, 1801), James Littleton Foster (Feb. 28, 1803 - Apr. 9, 1871), Joel J. Foster (b. 1805), Maryann Foster (b. Jun. 1, 1807), Thomas Jefferson Foster (Dec. 25, 1809 - May 3, 1901), Mahala Hill Foster (Feb. 5, 1812 - 1891), and Matilda F. Foster (b. Jun. 11, 1814).
Of these 14 children, we know that at least 3 moved to Texas. Thomas Jefferson Foster immigrated to Texas in 1841, during the days of the Republic. Ambrose Foster immigrated first to Alabama sometime around 1822. He later moved to Missouri around 1832, and came to Texas in 1845. Benjamin Foster settled first in Alabama, then came to Texas in the 1850's. Benjamin is buried in the old Foster cemetery in Rusk County, Texas. T.J. is buried in Grapevine, Texas. Ambrose is buried in the old historic Lonesome Dove Baptist Church cemetery in Tarrant County, just a few miles from Grapevine.
We know very little about the father of Joel Lewis Foster. We know that his name was Ambrose Foster, and that causes some confusion because, as we have already pointed out, Joel Lewis Foster also had a son named Ambrose Foster. However, we do know that the younger Ambrose Foster was named for his grandfather. Ambrose Foster, father of Joel Lewis Foster, lived in South Carolina in the 1700's. He was born around 1720 in Essex County, Virginia. He is listed as a planter in Tryon County, North Carolina, April 9, 1770. He later purchased land on Crowder's Creek between Lincoln Co., North Carolina and York Co., South Carolina in 1783. He is listed as a member of Turkey Creek Baptist Church in 1786. He paid taxes in 1787 to 96th District, South Carolina. He is listed in the 1790 South Carolina census, living next to Joel Foster. Living with him was one other free white male of 16 years and upwards, 3 free white males under 16 years, and 2 free white females. We also know that he moved to Pendleton District, South Carolina, in 1799 and then Edgefield County, South Carolina, in 1800. He died in July of 1802 in Hallifax County, Virginia.
Dr. Billy Glen Foster informs us that Ambrose Foster had nine children: John Foster, Sarah "Sally" Foster, Betsy Foster, Patsy Foster, Frances "Fanny" Foster, Mildred Foster, Margaret "Peggy" Foster, Joel Lewis Foster, and Ambrose Foster. We know very little about any of them.
We know even less about the father of Ambrose Foster. What we do know is new information to our family. Pearl Foster O'Donnell searched for years for this information, as did many researchers who followed. What has recently come to light, thanks to Dr. Billy Glen Foster, is the knowledge that the father of Ambrose Foster was John Foster. John's wife was named Ruth. John was born around 1665 in Gloucester County, Virginia. We do not know Ruth's family, or the date of her birth. John died in 1735 in Essex County, Virginia. John and Ruth had at least four children: John Foster, Joseph Foster (b. 1710), Ambrose Foster (cir 1720 - July, 1802), and James Foster (cir 1725 to 1802). They may have had two other children: Sarah Foster, and William Foster.
Our ancestral immigrant, and the father of John Foster, was Richard Foster. He immigrated from England to Virginia on the Safety on August 10, 1635 at age 16. This means that he would have been born around 1619. We know little else about him. His first wife's name was Ann. His second wife was Susannah Garnett. Richard and Susannah had four sons: William Foster, Robert Foster (1651 - 1716), Richard Foster (b. ca 1650), and John Foster (b. ca 1665 - d. 1735). Our ancestral immigrant was the son of Sir Robert Forester of England. Sir Robert Forster was married to a Miss Isham.
It is only fair to mention that there is a little disagreement about whether or not Richard Foster the immigrant was indeed the father of John Foster. The vast majority of genealogists, both amateur and profesional, agree that this is true. But an interesting article by Dr. Billy Glen Foster presents another theory which at least bears some consideration. Dr. Foster's article can be found at the Branches and Roots website.
However, it is the opinion of this researcher that we should go with the majority, and accept Richard Foster of the 1635 Safety as our ancestral immigrant.
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