Saturday, March 8, 2014

Surname Saturday/Foster Family from Connecticut to Wolcott, NY Via Massachusetts

Find A Grave Photo
     My earliest known Foster family member is Joseph who was born in Connecticut in about 1760.  Joseph and his wife Elizabeth, (possibly Plank),were my 4th great-grandparents on Mom's side.  I haven't done much research on this family, but it seems like a good time to start.  One thing I've discovered about this line is they seemed to enjoy marrying their in-laws.  Which I guess isn't so bad, at least they weren't marrying blood relatives like that wacky Cleopatra and her brother/husband Ptolemy XIII.

    Joseph Foster's son Asahel was born in Massachusetts in about 1792 according to the 1870 census of Wolcott.  I found good evidence that Joseph was indeed the father of Asahel in the book, Landmarks of Wayne County, by George C. Cowles, where he specifically mentions, "Joseph Foster, father of Asahel...".  Another book, History of Wayne County, New York, says this of Joseph--"lived at Whiskey Hill and was the father of Asahel.  He also had a son Joseph Jr. who started a saw-mill".  I like it alot when they spell things out for me!  By the way, Whiskey Hill Road still exists in Wolcott today, and yes, they did distill whiskey there, though I wasn't offered any when I drove down it last summer.

     Sometime around 1830, Asahel Foster married Hannah Gregory, and the two had a daughter, Lucinda, born in 1832.  Hannah died two years later, possibly giving birth to another child.  Little Lucinda passed away when she was only four years old in 1836, leaving Asahel with no family.  The odd thing, and genealogy is full of odd, contradictory clues, is that Lucinda's tombstone reads, "daughter of Asahel and Martha"???  Hannah did not die until 1834, so she must have been Lucinda's mother.  Asahel remarried after Hanna's death, this time to Martha Gregory, Hannah's younger sister.  So did Martha's name appear on the stone because she was Lucinda's stepmother, (and aunt), or are the dates on the stone wrong?

     I lean towards the first explanation because when Martha and Asahel began to have children they came pretty regularly beginning in 1839.  The seven years between 1832 and 1839 seem like a wide gulf between births, even accounting for a miscarriage or infant death.  Sometimes I wonder if I hallucinated Hannah Gregory Foster, but then I reassure myself by looking at her tombstone on Find A Grave, which clearly reads, "Hannah wife of Asahel Foster, died March 1, 1834".

    Asahel and Martha went on to have six children, one of whom, Clarissa Foster, was born about 1843.  Clarissa was my 2nd great grandmother and the wife of George E. Galloway, son of Russell Galloway who you've heard about pretty regularly here.  Clarissa's mother Martha Gregory died in 1883.  Her father Asahel died in 1885 at George and Clarissa's home.  Clarissa herself died two years later in 1887, leaving George and their three grown children. A year later, George married Matilda Mills.  Matilda passed in 1909, and George married yet again.  The new bride was none other than Harriet Foster, the widowed younger sister of his first wife Clarissa.  Harriet outlived George by six years, dying in 1930, her  obituary read, "The funeral of Mrs. George Galloway, 83, will be held Saturday from the home of  Mrs. Russell [C.] Galloway at Spring Green", (another road that still exists).  

     Mrs. Russell C. Galloway was Harriet Foster's step daughter in law, and also her niece by virtue of her, (Mrs. Russel C's), marriage to Harriet Foster's nephew and stepson Russell Carlton Galloway, the son of her late sister Clarissa.  Confusing huh?  It gets worse, Russell Galloway the elder was married to a woman named Hattie, and Russell C. Galloway's wife was also a Hattie.  It took me awhile to figure out there were actually two couples named Russell and Hattie Galloway, along with a George and Hattie Galloway!  All lived in the same area, though luckily for researchers like myself, they were of different generations.  Thanks for small mercies!


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