Adding to James Foster

In the masterful book, “Park/e/s And Bunch On The Trail West”, Alice Crandall Park listed out the descendants of James Foster, Sr. She also stated that there were possibly more children than she had listed with one of them being named “Lige”. She did not speculate further so we were left to consider the mystery.

The one clue I was intrigued by was the birth place of James’ youngest son, Samuel. On the 1850 Census, Samuel claimed was born in 1832 in Illinois. This is the only place where Illinois was connected to James Foster, but I wanted to check it out. Perhaps James was there for the 1830 census?

The first step was to try and figure out what James’ family would look like in 1830. On the 1840 census, his family looked like this:

1 Male 50-60 James (1781)

2 Males 20-30 Elijah (1820) and Unknown

1 Male 10-15 Burrel (1829) or Daniel (1825)

1 Male 5-10 Samuel (1832)

1 Female 50-60 Rebecca (1790)

1 Female 15-20 Susan (1821)

1 Female 10-15 Mary Ellen (1826)

We also know that three of James’ sons were listed separately on the 1840 census:

John (1809)

James (1811)

William (1817)

Those in red are speculative family members. So with this information, we can speculate on what an 1830 census would look like:

1 Male 40-50 James (1781)

1 Male 20-30 John (1809)

2 Males 15-20 James (1811) and Unknown

3 Males 10-15 William (1817), Elijah (1820) and Unknown

1 Male under 5 Burrel (1829) or Daniel (1825)

1 Female 40-50 Rebecca (1790)

1 Female 15-20 Unknown

2 Female 5-10 Susan (1821) and Unknown

1 Female under 5 Mary Ellen (1826)

A quick digression on the Burrel vs. Daniel disconnect. We have an unidentified male that belongs to James that either of these gentlemen would fill. Both died at early ages so their actual ages I have only found their birth dates and locations recorded in the 1850 census. Either would fit into James’ family. Daniel married Mary Jane Tally and moved to St. Clair County, James married and moved to Henry County but by 1860 his daughter, Averilla, is living with James Foster, Jr. & Sally Tally. My instincts tell me it is Daniel that belongs to James but much discovery needs to be done.

Armed with my guess on what the family should look like, I checked the 1830 Census for James Foster’s inIllinois. I found a very close match in Morgan County. Every slot needed for our James is there with three extra slot which I have highlighted in blue. I checked the 1840 Morgan County Census and there were NO Foster’s listed. Meaning they had all left for somewhere else. There were a couple of Foster’s in CassCounty, but they do not match up with the Foster’s in the 1830 Census

This alone would be strong evidence that Elijah Foster was the son of James Foster. But it gets even better.Elijah Foster had a biography published in the 1888 Stone County History in which his father was identified as “James”. Actually, the biography was for his wife, Rebecca Henson. She immigrated in 1835 to Stone CountyMissouri with her father, Thomas Henson. In 1830 Thomas Henson was on the Morgan County, Illinois Census. I found an article on-line that gave some details on Thomas Henson and family:

I would love to have a male descendant of Elijah take a DNA test to match against mine. That would be confirmation that we belong to each other. Even without that, I believe the evidence is overwhelming that Elijah is the son of James Foster, Sr.

Of course, there is still the mystery of whether Burrel or Daniel is the other son of James. And who is the “unknown” son and daughters. Looks like there is still some digging to do!