Saturday, March 27, 2010

Family Sketches - Part 2


Sprinkled throughout the 46 pages of "Family Sketches" are several items which reveal the most important beliefs of Thomas. Some of these are just side notes concerning cousins, but in a couple of spots he intentionally writes about ideas he hopes his descendants will embrace.

He felt that he was too old and weak to work, but he could still write, so this was a way he could contribute. He elaborates, giving one of the reasons for his effort: "I have long held, unwaveringly, that every member of the human family should be employed in doing something good and profitable".

His hard work and education served him well eventually, but when speaking of his young marriage while financially broke: "We enjoyed life to the full extent. Honest poverty coupled with hard labor is no disgrace. He that will frown upon you and forsake you because you are poor, is unworthy of your confidence".

Speaking of one very successful family, he says "we conclude that in constituting a family, great care should be taken in the choice of material, or there is great danger of building on the sand, the structure worthless and the builder dishonored".

When speaking of his long career as a County Surveyor: "During this time, my business made it necessary for me to visit the homes of, and associate with, all classes of people. I am proud of the great kindness shown me. I was at home when among the wealthiest, and made myself equally so when with the poorest."

Concerning his father's brother: "Uncle Joseph [Foster] was not prosperous. He loved to hunt and fish better than he loved to grub and plow."

Later he tells of living with his sister's family (Prucence, who was married to John E. Caperton). During this time he spent his "Saturdays usually squirrel hunting. I was a good squirreler, and Caperton had a good rifle".

I conclude from these two stories, that he believed in moderation in his recreational hobbies.

Five of his sons fought in the Civil War. Speaking of this service he said "I disdained the epithet of Rebel, but was for Southern rights. I was unwilling to bear the contempt and injustice heaped upon the Southern people. My sons were of proper age for soldiers. They volunteered. It was not in my heart to oppose. They went; my prayers went with them. Preferring an honorable death to an ignominious life."

His loyalty to the South was life-long. He was straightforward when telling of the family of his sister Prudence. Three of her sons were killed in the War. After sharing a few details, Thomas said "Here was a family of noble sons murdered while contending for their rights".

Thomas was very active in the protestant religion known as the "Cumberland Presbyterian Church". He complimented numerous relatives on their commitment to this church.

And in conclusion he says about his life "When I review my life and take into consideration my inconsistencies, I am ashamed of it. Now in old age my hope is in the atonement made by the Blessed Redeemer, and I heartily recommend the Christian religion to all who may read these sketches."

Friday, March 26, 2010

Matthew Broderick on NBC Ancestry Show

I was watching the new show "Who do you think you are?" tonite. Matthew Broderick, the well known actor was tracing his previously unknown ancestry. He discovered that his g-g-grandfather, Robert Martindale, was killed in the battle of Peachtree Creek [Georgia] on July 20, 1864 in the Civil War.

On Jan 14th of this year I wrote a post about Andrew Boyd Foster, our g-g-grandfather. He was captured near Peachtree Creek, in July 1864, just a few days before this battle.

Just thought it was an interesting connection.

It was obvious that Matthew and I had similar feelings, when thinking about details of our ancestor's lives, which we previously never knew. It is thrilling and sobering, all at the same time!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Family Sketches Part I


So begins 46 pages in which Thomas tells of his life and times.

The drawing is on page one, possibly a self portrait?

I feel obligated to remind us how we are related to the Fosters. My Grandma Bagley was the daughter of Sallie (Foster) Roe. Her father was Andrew Boyd Foster, and his father was Thomas Boyd Foster. So, Thomas was the Great Great Great Great Great Grandfather of Colter Glenn, the newest member of our branch.

In the small book he entitled "Family Sketches", Thomas starts by telling of his ancestry, of which he did not know much. He thought his father's parents came from "the Emerald Isle" [Ireland], and his mother's parents came from "that old and historic country designated on the map of the world as Scotland". At this time it looks like thier families were from these two locals, but at least a couple of the grandparents were born in America, possible the children of immigrants.

Both sets of his grandparents had settled in Virginia "long before the war of the revolution."

His father, William Foster, was born on July 30, 1774 in Rockbridge County, Virginia. His mother, Sally B. Boyd, was born on February 12, 1779. In William's Will he refers to his wife as "Sarah". I have written elsewhere that 'Sallie' or 'Sally' was a common nickname for the given name 'Sarah'. I have to wonder if this was the original 'Grandma Sally' in our family!?

His parents were married on June 28, 1804 and had a farm for a few years in Wythe County Virginia. This is where Thomas was born. When he was five years old they left Virginia with two wagons and a carriage, on the way their new home in Tennessee. In 1815, this had to be a trip of at least 400 miles, as it is 350 miles on todays highways.

His father became quite ill on the journey, so much so that the mother was reluctant to have the wagons unloaded until it was determined if he would die or not. For if he died, she intended to return to Virginia! He recovered and they stayed in Tennessee.

78 years after the trip, Thomas recalled one incident with vivid detail, I will quote it here:

"near the end of our journey, through the overkindness of Cousin William Foster, who was driving one of the teams, I was permitted to ride what was then known as the off-wheel horse, that is the horse on the right at the rear of the team. While going down a slant in the road I fell from the horse. A negro woman sitting in the front part of the wagon, seeing me fall, jumped out over the horse from which I had fallen. This frightened the team, and they turned suddenly to the left. This saved me from being crushed. One wheel passed over one of my legs. I had to be hauled to our new home."

Friday, March 19, 2010

Caperton Cemetery - Follow-Up

I should have realized that the stone of Thomas Boyd Foster looked 'out-of-place'. It is in the oldest part of the Caperton Cemetery. All of the other stones in this section are deteriorating, broken, or unreadable. He died 115 years ago, but his headstone has barely weathered. After the last post, I found a picture of the original stone on another web site. It looks like it is in the same spot, but a totally different stone, simple, weathered and worn. It seems that the new stone must have been placed recently. The birth and death dates of the two stones match, but the new stone has much more detail. At this time we do not know who placed the new stone. Maybe it could provide a link to distant cousins in the future. I am attempting to contact the manager of the other website, so hopefully we will know more soon.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

A visit to Caperton Cemetery

I am excited to now use several posts to tell of my Mothers ancestry, much of which had been lost to our family during the 1900s.

I recently visited my son and his wife in Tennessee. As part of this visit, I was able to visit Caperton Cemetery in Jackson County, Alabama. This is the burial site of our ancestors Samuel and Susan (Caperton) Cowan and Thomas Boyd Foster.

Thomas married Eleanor Cowan, the daughter of Samuel and Susan. Eleanor became our g..grandmother. It seems likely that she was also buried in this spot, but there is no stone, so it is possible that she was buried in some other family plot, as she did die a few years before her parents. After Eleanor died while giving birth to her 11th child, Thomas married Sarah "Sallie" Mason. She is also buried in this cemetery. From other sources, we believe that the Mason family had a close relationship with the Fosters. Sarah also died relatively young, after bearing three children.

As time has progressed, the stones of Samuel and Susan have been broken and are in the process of disintegration. The "SAMU" are the only letters or numbers that are ledgible on Samuel's stone. Susan's inscription is mostly clear, but will not be for long. The stone of Thomas Boyd Foster is very clear and is in the attatched picture.

This stone is of particular interest as it contains a motto of the Freemasons "In Hoc Signo Vinces". Translated "In This Sign Victory". Along with the words is a carving of a cross with a crown hanging over it. This symbol honors his leadership in the Freemasons, for which there are several historical records as verification. Thomas was born in 1810 and died in 1895. He was born in Virginia. His family moved to Tennessee when he was still a boy. After he was grown, he settle in Jackson County Alabama.

Other than spending time with my son and his lovely wife, the most exciting part of the trip was obtaining a copy of the short autobiography of Thomas Boyd Foster. I will share several sections of it over the next few posts.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

1929 Eastview Wrestling Team - Part 2

After reading the last post, I thought it might be worthwhile to list the names of all the guys in the picture. These names come from a letter from my father, and I'm sure he was given the names by his mother or father, who both knew all of these families. I'm not real confident of the spellings, but I would be surprised if any of the names were totally incorrect. Would love to correct any information if evidence of a mistake can be shown.

Back row, standing, starting with the right side of the picture:
Coach G. S. Sanders
Paul Higginbotham
Clyde Prigmore
Dave Wallock

Middle Row:
Sonny Warlick
Ernie Stout
Joe Hoffman
Foy Stout
Terrill Beasley

Front Row:
Clifton Potter
Otis Beasley
Bill McKissack
Herber Lock

It would thrill me if some of the descendants of these young men could enjoy this picture!

Friday, March 5, 2010

1929 Eastview Wrestling Team

Anyone who knows our family well, knows that there is a long love of wrestling. As kids, our Grandpa Joe always grabbed us and put an 'arm drag' on us as soon as we walked in the door (any excuse for a hug, I think). For him, any kind of wrestling was OK - at his fire station the only thing I ever remember on the TV was 'profesional wrestling'.

The picture is of the 1929 Eastview High Wrestling team. In the center of the picture are Ernie Stout, Joe Hoffman, and Foy Stout. The coach of this team was G.S.Sanders, they called him 'Doc Sanders', obviously in the jacket and vest. Amazingly he attended the 50th class reunion of these boys, I believe it was in 1982. According to my notes, there are two other relatives in the picture. Otis Beasley is sitting on the floor in front of Ernie (Ernie is the muscular wrestler in front of the coach). Terrill Beasley is the small boy standing in front of the fireplace on the right side of the picture. These two boys were our Grandpa Joe's cousins (they were the sons of our Uncle Jim Beasley, the brother of Lillie Beasley). I haven't been able to find out much about how good this 'team' was. We do know that the two Stout brothers were future nation champions, and I don't think there were too many 165 pounders tougher than Joe Hoffman in 1929, so my guess is they did pretty good as a team.

There is a funny story that may fit well here. When the rumors began about Joe and Versie spending time together, Jim Beasley told James Stout that he shouldn't let his daughter "go with Joe Hoffman, he's no good". When James Stout asked why he thought Joe was no good, he said "Joe runs with my boys, and my boys are no good, so Joe must be no good"!

These were probably the sentiments of a frustrated father of teenagers, because as far as we know all of these kids turned out to be fine men.

In a later blog I will have more details concerning the wrestling careers of the Stout brothers, but I think the next few posts will concern my Mother's side of the family.