John Foster ~1750 – 1832

John Foster - d. 1832

PARENTSSPOUSE (S)
IN-LAWS
LIFE EVENTS
Unknown FatherMary McElfresh FosterMcElfresh FamilyAmerican Revolutionary War
Unknown MotherThe Great Wagon Road
SIBLINGSCHILDRENLIFE PLACESDOCUMENTS & PHOTOS
Unknown SiblingsNancy Foster HamesBirthplace: Unknown1785 Lease and release from John Portman - 200 acres on Sandy Run.
Thomas FosterWashington County, Maryland
1795 -293 Acres on the Pacolet from Nicholas Jasper
Jeremiah FosterGrindal Shoals SC1802 Loan from James Maybry
Frederick Foster1790 US Federal Census - Union County SC1822 deeds a horse to his grandsons
John M. Foster1800 US Federal Census - Union County SCDeeds land to son Thomas
Jared or Jarrett Foster1810 US Federal Census - Union County SC1831 Last Will and Testament
Mary (Polly) Foster Gault
1820 US Federal Census - Union County SC1836 John Foster Estate Papers
1830 U.S. Federal Census Union County South Carolina
ALBUM John Foster lands along Sandy Run

John Foster – our earliest known ancestor

I have no evidence at all on which to fix the time and location of the birth of our John Foster. When, and wherever his earliest origins, he arrived at Grindal Shoals South Carolina, a thriving community and transportation hub being valuable not only as a ford on the Pacolet River but also -thanks to that river- accessible from the sea.  The region is also not far off the Great Wagon Road which was carrying settlers from as far north as Pennsylvania to as far south as Georgia.  With the Treaty of Paris signed in 1783 the question of American Independence was settled for the moment and American expansion could begin.  Whether John Foster and his family arrived from Virginia, or from Maryland where the McElfresh family is said to be from, or from a point elsewhere in South Carolina is unknown.

According to most public genealogies, sons Jeremiah and Thomas were born about that time, so probably both in Union County.  Daughter Nancy however was already 11 years old by this time.  Nancy,  who would marry Sandy Run neighbor Edmond Hames, appears in many Hames family genealogies as born in Hagerstown Maryland, while others claim Virginia.  

 

 

 

1800 Census

1800 United States Census Union Co. SC - John Foster< Judging from the number of families living between John Foster (now aged about 50), I would say his residence is now off the original land purchased on Sandy Run and further west on the newly bought properties.

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See the facing page from this census

 

The information under the column headings also tell us a little bit more about the John Foster family at this point.

Number of free white males under age 10: illegible
Number of free white males age 10–16: 7 – this must include the three males <16 from 1790 census and four more?
Number of free white males age 16–26: 0
Number of free white males age 26–45: 0
Number of free white males over age 45: 1 – John himself, the next oldest male in the household is <16.
Number of free white females under age 10: 3 – All three new to the household since the 1790 census.
Number of free white females age 10–16: 3 – Must be three of the six from the 1790 census.
Number of free white females age 16–26: 1 – One more of the six form 1790.
Number of free white females age 26–45: 1 – Mary McElfresh Foster
Number of free white females over age 45: 0
Number of all other free persons: 0
Number of slaves: 0

Four of the six females enumerated int he 1790 census are accounted for in 1800.  Two others, married off or deceased?   

It is a little clearer now that John and Mary Foster have taken in children from another family.  Who are they?  Theories?

 

1802 a sizable debt.

It is not known if kinsman Nicholas Jasper received his full re-payment under the terms by which he sold 200 acres on Sandy Run to John Foster.  If he did, perhaps it was thanks in large part to an 1802 loan from another kinsman and prolific lender of money according to several records found, James Mabry.  Mabry forwarded the princely sum of $1200 to John Foster, payable in one year.  Enough to satisfy the debt incurred to Nicholas Jasper on the purchase of the new farm and cover supplies and equipment for a crop, I speculate.

John Foster loan from Mabry

 <A debt of $1200 with John Foster’s original 200 acres as collateral.  I haven’t yet discovered the documentation on how this debt was settled.  It seems like quite a gamble.

 

 

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1810 U.S. Census

1810 United States Census Union Co. SC John Foster< 1810 Census gives us two John Fosters on the same page.

The second John Foster is over near Womack Fowler.  His household includes 15 slaves suggesting considerable wealth.  His neighbor is George Foster who I speculate could be his brother and the same George Foster who was Justice of the Peace.

Our John Foster appears nearer the top of the page and the preceeding page of the census lists as neighbours John Foster Jr. (John M.) and Martha Pickens who becomes kin.

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See the facing page from this census

 

Number of free white males under age 10: 0
Number of free white males age 10-15: 1  That’s great great grandpa Jared.
Number of free white males age 16-25: 2 As neither Frederick nor Thomas appear on their own property in 1810 probably them.
Number of free white males age 26-44: 0
Number of free white males over age 44: 1 John Foster
Number of free white females under age 10: 0
Number of free white females age 10-15: 1  An unknown daughter or the last of the mystery girls.
Number of free white females age 16-25: 0
Number of free white females age 26-44: 0
Number of free white females over age 44: 1 Mary McElfresh Foster
Number of all other free persons: 0
Number of slaves: 0

 1820 Census

1820 Union County Sensus

Notes: The once crowded household is now an empty nest for John and Mary Foster, except for one mystery child 10-16.  Too young to be Jared who is normally thought to be the youngest.  Might it be Thomas which might explain the 70 acre land gift about to happen?  This would mean Thomas’ generally accepted birth year is wrong.

# of free white males under age 10: 0
# of free white males age 10-16: 1
# of free white males age 16-18: 0
# of free white males age 16-26: 0
# of free white males age 26-45: 0
# of free white males age 45 and up: 1
# of free white females under age 10: 0
# of free white females age 10-16: 0
# of free white females age 16-26: 0
# of free white females age 26-45: 0
# of free white females age 45 and up: 0
# of foreigners not naturalized: 0
# of persons engaged in agriculture: 1
All other columns referring to slaves and colored persons: 0

 

1822 a grey mare gifted to grandsons Thomas and James

Greymare< A legal document declaring this certain grey mare is protected against “myself and any other persons lawful claim”.  Does this wording suggest debtor are circling?  Or simply a doting grandpa?  Maybe the old grey mare she ain’t what she used to be?

John Foster would be about 70 years old and describes as a ‘stiller’.

The witnesses are the famous William Henderson, W.W. White, Samuel Mosely and  Jared Foster – spelled Jarrett, now about 27 years old.

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1829 a parcel of land to son Thomas

Grey Mare document

 < This document gives 70 acres to Thomas upon his death.  The impression I get is that Thomas is not yet out on his own and so is either the youngest or is in some way handicapped.  And John Foster fears his estate will be consumed by his debts making a document like this a hope for leaving his son something to live on.

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1830 Census

1830 United States Census Union Co. SC John, Frederick, Thomas Foster<John Foster believes himself to be between 80 and 90.  Mary is between 70 and 80.

One Male 20-30 and one Female 15-20.

As both Frederick and John M. show up with their own households, as does Jarrett, in McMinn County Tennessee, I’m forced to consider this is Thomas, and that he, contrary to many genealogies is the youngest.

The female 15-20.  No idea.

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Last Will and Testament

On January 10, 1831 John Foster,  “being of sound mind and disposing memory but weak in body”, dictates his last will and testament to local lawyer, and later signatory to South Carolina’s Ordinance of Secession from the United States,  J.S. Sims.

JohnFosterwillcomplete

Here we have John Foster’s signature by his own hand.  As well as the signatures of the witnesses; legendary neighbour and kin James Moseley and son-in-law Samuel Hampton.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Final Resting Place

The burial place of John Foster is unknown.  Because of the Jasper family connections, it seems possible he was buried there with his wife and her family.  If this is true, then the marked grave of  James Moseley provides a clue because it sits amid the burial grounds of his wife, Nancy Anna Jasper.

 

Scenes from the Jasper family burial site off Tump Smith road 2009

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