The Immigrant FOSTER in Virginia
by Dr. B. G. Foster

Dr. B.G. Foster is one of the pre-eminent researchers for Southern Foster Roots in the genealogical community today. This document contains the text of his research as to the identity of our immigrant ancestor including source notes.


The Immigrant Foster

It is the goal of every amateur genealogist to find his or her American Immigrant. It is no less with the hundreds of descendants of our southern branch of Fosters. This treatise is not intended to influence, persuade, cajole, or demand that anyone change his or her belief as to our Foster immigrant. It is intended to present as many facts as is historically possible and then let each one decide for him or her self.

We must estimate the age of the immigrant by considering what we know of Robert Foster, the first of our proven ancestors in America. Robert's first child, Robert, Jr. was born ca 1685. When considering the marriage of Robert to Elizabeth (Garnett?) and that the first child was usually born from one to two years after the marriage, we can place their marriage date at ca. 1683. Now, using an average marriage age of 24-28 years we can place the birth of Robert at ca. 1651. We can estimate the MINIMUM age of a person when his name appears in the county records. A man, less than the age of 21, could not enter into contract, witness a deed/will, or own land.

Not knowing the exact number of children of the immigrant and their sequence makes an estimate of his birth date more difficult. The only known sibling of Robert Foster is John (estimated birth year of 1660). There is strong evidence, however, that another, Richard (estimated birth year of 1643,) may have existed. Using these sibling's estimated birth years we can also estimate immigrant's birth year as ca. 1620 and a marriage year of ca. 1642. There were most likely other children, both males and females, of the immigrant that are unknown to us.

For many years our Foster immigrant was believed to be the Richard Foster who came to America in 1635 on the Ship Safety. From the best I can find this premise originated from the research of Mrs. Julian Lane of Atlanta, Georgia. Mrs. Lane, a Foster descendant and professional genealogist, used the Richard Foster of the 1635 Safety to join the Colonial Dames. Since then, Richard has appeared in numerous genealogical reports as the immigrant without challenge or documentation.

We are in debt to a number of Foster researchers among them are Gerneva Foster Dennis of Texas, Miriam Dye, now of Chicago, Illinois, Norman Foster of North Carolina, Richard Foster of Alexandria, Virginia, and others who have researched early records in search of our immigrant. Following is a summary of that research. 

1624

On July 3, 1624, Mrs. Dorcas Foster was married at St. Dunstan's Church, in Stepney, London, England to Bartholomew Hoskins of Jamestown, Virginia and London, England. Dorcas Foster was described as a widow with several small children. Bartholomew Hoskins, an ancient planter, was in Virginia by 1616. He undoubtedly made a number of trips from Virginia and England as he maintained a home in each location. On one of these trips back to England he married Mrs. Dorcas Foster.. The maiden name of Dorcas is yet unknown as is the name of her Foster husband. Bartholomew and Dorcas made their home in Elizabeth City, Lower Norfolk County, Virginia.

Source: St. Dunstan's Parish Register, Stepney, London, England;

The Virginia Genealogist, Vol. 27

1635

A Richard Foster sailed from London on August 10, 1635 on the ship Safety and arrived at Jamestown that fall. He was but sixteen years old; born in 1619/20. We find on that same ship were: Bartholomew Hoskins, John Gloster (Foster), age 23, Robert Fister (Foster), age 20, Robert Piscer (possibly Foster), age 44 and Elizabeth Piscer (Foster), age 16. We make the assumption that the surnames, Piscer, and Fister were miss interpreted as in subsequent documents the name Foster appears. Some researchers have assumed that Elizabeth Foster was a twin sister to Richard and that Robert Foster, age 20, was Richard's older brother. There is sufficient information to make that assumption about Robert, but not Elizabeth.

SOURCE: Original List of Persons of Quality; Hotten, pp. 122-3

Note: It has not been found when Bartholomew Hoskins first came to Virginia nor when his wife, Dorcas, came. We know that Dorcas had "several" children. Could they have been Richard, Elizabeth, and Robert? We can assume that she did not leave them in England. Dorcas was born ca. 1601 in England as she was 34 in 1635. If the twenty-year-old Robert Foster, of the Safety, was her son she must have been married ca 1615/16. She would have been young but not too young to have born a child.

1636

Assuming the above to be correct, Bartholomew, Dorcas and her children made their home in Elizabeth City County. In 1636 Elizabeth City County was divided into Elizabeth City County and New Norfolk. The next year New Norfolk was divided into Lower County New Norfolk and Upper County New Norfolk. Almost immediately Lower County New Norfolk was renamed Lower Norfolk and in 1642 Upper County New Norfolk was renamed Nansemond County. Consequently the Hoskins family, without moving, found themselves living in Lower Norfolk County, Virginia in 1637.

1637

Another Richard Foster (ffoster) received 300 acres of land granted in Lower Norfolk, Virginia on May 22, 1637. His land was on the north side of the East branch of the Elizabeth River. We must assumed that this Richard Foster was not the stepson of Bartholomew as he would be not be of age to own land; he being only eighteen years old. We do not know when this Richard Foster of Lower Norfolk, came to Virginia. We do know that he was born ca 1616 or before and is later referred to as attorney.

SOURCE: Cavaliers and Pioneers, Nugent; Vol. II, pp.156

Note: We now have two Richard Fosters in Lower Norfolk County, Virginia by 1637. To keep them separate the Richard Foster of the Safety will be designated (A) and the attorney (B). Richard Foster (B) will later marry Dorcas Hoskins, daughter of Bartholomew and Dorcas Foster Hoskins. Consequently one Richard Foster is a stepson (proof later) of Bartholomew Hoskins and one Richard Foster, attorney, will become his son-in-law. Both are literate.

1638

By this time Richard Foster (A) was ca 19 years of age and Richard Foster (B) was 22. Both are living in Lower Norfolk County. In 1638 Thomas Wallace transported another Richard Foster (C) to Virginia for which he received a land patent in James City County.

SOURCE: Cavaliers and Pioneers, 1623 -1666 Nugent; pp.94

Note: This Richard Foster (C) is probably the Richard Foster that is illiterate.

SOURCE: Colonial Records of Virginia, 1623-1666

1639

Richard Foster (A) refers to Bartholomew Hoskins as his father (we know that he is actually his step-father) however, Richard was only a child when his biological father died) according to a deposition in the county in which he lived (Lower Norfolk.)

SOURCE: Lower Norfolk Minute Book 1637-1643, pp.41; Carroway - Foster - Williamson and Bartholomew Hoskins 1601 -1707: Alice Granbetty Walter, pp.4

Richard Foster (A) made a deposition in Lower Norfolk County

SOURCE: Lower Norfolk Minute Book 1637-1643, pp. 27

Bartholomew Hoskins, gent. and wife of Elizabeth City is on a ship to sail for England to Virginia.

SOURCE: American Colonists in England

1640

A Richard Foster married Anne Jackson on November 19, 1640.

SOURCE: Lower Norfolk County Court Receipts Book A 1646, pp.C4

"Whereas it appeareth by bill that Richard Foster is indebted unto M...?.. Utie the now wife of Richard Bennett, Exqr.: in the same (sum) sic 260 lb tobacco old debt and 1 barrel of corne in satisfaction where he is hereby ordered by the 24 December next to make payment on the some of 114 lb of tobacco stript and smooth otherwise execusion"

SOURCE: Lower Norfolk County, Book B, pp. 105

A Richard Foster is a debtor in Lower Norfolk County, Virginia

SOURCE: Lower Norfolk County Minutes Book A 1637 - 1643, pps. 82-83, 91, 98, 128

March 15, 1640/41: Whereass it appears to this court by speciality that Owine Hayes is indebted unto Richard Foster the quantity of 3 barrels of corne and 20 1 tob script and smooth. It is therefore ordered that the said Owine Hayes shall within 30 days make payment of the said corne and tobacco according to the ....?... of this bill with charges of the Court otherwise executed to be awarded

SOURCE: Lower Norfolk County, Book A, pp. 105

Notes: Which of these Richard Fosters? (A), (B), or (C) married Anne Jackson? There is really no certain way of telling. However, Richard Foster (B) will later marry Ann Hoskins. We do know that Ann Hoskins did not marry Richard Foster (A) as some have fabricated. This leaves Richard Foster (A) and (C) for Ann Jackson's husband. All indication points to her marriage to Richard Foster (C), but there is no proof!

1641

April 15, 1641: Richard Foster was still the husband of Anne Jackson Foster who was in court charged with fornication. These charges were brought by an Ann Caskine. She charged that Anne had a child not conceived at home.

SOURCE: Lower Norfolk County Minutes Book 1637 -1648, pp.98,; Hoskins of Virginia and Related Families, Warner, pp. 16

A Richard Foster met in Deposition

SOURCE: Lower Norfolk County Minutes 1637 - 1648

A Richard Foster was ordered to pay a debt in Lower Norfolk County, Virginia

SOURCE: Lower Norfolk County Wills and Deeds, 1637 - 1646, pp. 81,87,98,138

Dorcas Foster Hoskins was in England in 1641 for in that year she presented a petition to the House of Lords "on behalf of her said husband now in Virginia - that all proceedings in a suite commenced by John Carter and Joane his wife against the said Bartholomew Hoskins may be stayed."

SOURCE: Hoskins of Virginia and Related Families, Warner, pp. 16

Note: After 1641 there is no longer a mention of Ann Jackson Foster in the Lower Norfolk County records. Whether she died or she simply remained married to Richard Foster and settled down we do not know. We do know that Richard defended her vigorously at court and the woman who brought the charges was given a sentence to 30 lashes.

1642

A Richard Foster, creditor

SOURCE: Lower Norfolk County Wills and Deeds, pp.117

A Richard Foster was a Debtor in Lower Norfolk County

SOURCE: Lower Norfolk County Minutes Book, 1637 - 1643, pp.175

A Richard Foster was Plantiff in Lower Norfolk County

SOURCE: Lower Norfolk County Wills and Deeds, 1637 - 1643, pp. 158

1643

January 16. 1642/43; "Richard Foster hath seet up his name to give notice that by God's Grace he intends to goe for England this present shipping."

SOURCE: Carraway - Foster - Williamson and Bartholomew Hoskins 1607 - 1706; Alice Granberry Walters

1644

August 20, 1644 Robert Lawrence and Ellis Brown received 400 acres adjacent Richard Worster (ffoster) in Lower Norfolk County

SOURCE: Cavaliers and Pioneers, Nugent; Vol.1 pp.156; Patent Book 2, pp.2

Note: This is probably the land patented by Richard Foster (B) on May 22, 1637

1645

A Richard Foster is ordered to pay a debt in Lower Norfolk County. A Richard Foster is a Creditor in Lower Norfolk County

SOURCE: Lower Norfolk County Minute Book 1637 - 1648, pp. 158

Note: Is this Richard Foster (B), or (C)?

1646

November 17, 1646, a Richard Worster (ffoster) is indebted unto James Warner 247 pounds of tobacco....Payment is ordered to be made.

SOURCE: Lower Norfolk County, Book B, and pp.11

December 16, 1646; The difference in suite brt. Mr. Math Philips, Planitiff against Roger Williams(on) sic (first husband of Ann Foster) Richard Foster's sister, and Richard Worster (ffoster) (A) defendants by consent is referred to the next Court to be heard and determined.

SOURCE: Lower Norfolk County, Book B, pp. 21

December 16, 1646, a Richard Foster was paid "for the boyes keep."

SOURCE: Lower Norfolk County, Deed Book, pp. 19a

A Richard Foster is in debt to James Warner

SOURCE: Lower Norfolk County, Book B, and pp. 27

Note: We know that Ann Foster (born 1620 and 43 years old in 1663) and Richard Foster (A) are siblings and that Roger Williamson, whom she married June 5, 1646, was her first husband.

1647

February 15, 1646/47 A Richard Worster (Foster) ordered to pay unto Arthur Brown, Merchant: 347 1 tob.o and caske (?????)

SOURCE: Lower Norfolk County, Book B, and pp.27

August 16, 1647: at enquest concerning death of Jacob Bradshawe deceased April 11, 1747. One was Richard ffoster (used his mark "W" as he could neither read or write. Was this Richard Foster (C) ?

SOURCE: Lower Norfolk County 1646 - 1561/2, Book B, pp.50

August 16, 1647 it was ordered that Richard ffoster, Owen Hayes, and Isabell, his wife, Johyn Wacey (Macy?), and Edmond Lindsay, Als Yoeman Personal appeal at the next Court to answer unto such matter as the be demanded

SOURCE: Lower Norfolk Will and Deed Book B, pp. 51A

December 16, 1647 Richard ffoster doth promise to deliver upon demand unto Mr. Car: Lloyd Gent:........one cowe...being at Linhaven at the plantation of Edward Hall.

SOURCE: Lower Norfolk County, Book B, pp. 59

Notes: Again we are left with no indication which of the Richard Fosters is involved in the above activities. The last entry on December 16, 1647 probably referred to Richard Foster, (B) attorney? 

1648

A Richard Foster returned to Virginia in 1648

SOURCE: Early Virginia Emigrants, 1628 - 1648, pp. 18; George C. Green

A Richard Foster married Bartholomew and Dorcas Foster Hoskin's daughter, Dorcas Hoskins around this date. This is not Richard Foster (A) as she is his half-brother, consequently is must have been Richard Foster (B), the attorney.

January 1648 Bartholomew Hoskins received a land patent of 1350 acres on the southside of Rappahanock River for the transport of several persons, including "Richard Foster, 2 times";

SOURCE: Cavaliers and Pioneers, Patent Book 5, pp 182

February 15, 1648: Richard Foster (B), attorney of Richard Foster (A) to deliver unto John Caraway who hath intermarried with the relict of Roger Williamson, dec's for the use of Sarah Williamson the cowe and all her increase which was bequeathed until Sarah by Richard (A), the god-father of Sarah when he went to England the said John Caroway(sis) in security for same.

June 15, 1648 Richard Foster (A) sails for England between June 1648 and February 1649. Richard Foster (A) made a will in court June 16, 1648 (a gift deed to be carried out later) giving his Godchild (his niece) Sarah Williamson, one cow calf and her increase. His attorney was Richard Foster (B.) Richard Foster (A) states, "he is going to England being ffive years".

SOURCE: Lower Norfolk County 1646 - 1651/2, pp. 78

June 18, 1648 Richard Foster (B), attorney promises to deliver a Plantation upon demand of Edward and Mrs. Car, Lloyd Hale

SOURCE: Lower Norfolk County, Book B, pp 6

February 1647/48 Richard Foster's bell 0 6 0 0

SOURCE: Lower Norfolk County, Book B, pp 66

June 15, 1648 Richard Foster (A) "att his goeing for England being ffive years or thereabouts did give and bequeath unto Sarah Williamson, daughter of Roger Williamson one cow calf......Richard Foster (B), attorney of ffoster (A) ordered to give cow calf and her increase to the child for her use........Richard Foster (A); He signed his name!! He was literate.

SOURCE: Lower Norfolk County, Book B, pp. 78

February 15, 1647/48: Richard Foster (A) to look after David Neals bels of 215; 1 barrell from Richard Foster, next year.

SOURCE: Lower Norfolk County, Book B, pp. 67

Notes: It is obvious that Richard Foster (B) who married Dorcas Hoskins, served as attorney to Richard Foster (A) and that Dorcas Hoskins was a half-sister to Richard (A). It is also clear that it was Richard Foster (A) who left for England, as he is seen leaving a deed of gift to his niece, Sarah Williamson with Richard Foster (B) acting as his attorney. Richard Foster (A) and Richard Foster (B) are now one-half brother-in-law. We will find later that Richard Foster (A) did stay in England his full five years returning to Virginia in 1654. We can now assume that the entries after Richard Foster (A) left for England, are those of Richard Foster (A) Richard Foster (C).

1649 

February 1, 1648/49 Richard Foster (B) "to pay Will: Shipp 500 1 tobo with allowance for Caske....dur Specialty.

SOURCE: Lower Norfolk County, Book B, and pp.106

February 15, 16486481/49: Richard Foster (B), attorney to deliver unto John Carroway who hath intermarried with Relect of Roger Williams (on) sis dec'd for use of Sarah Williamson the cowe and all of her increase which was bequeathed unto Sarah by Ricahrd Foster (A), the godfather of Sarah, when he went to England. The said John Carroway putting in security for same.

SOURCE: Lower Norfolk County 1646 - 1652/3. Book B, pp 106a

April 9, 1649: James Warner was apptd Administrator of the estate of Benjamin Foster who died intestate, leaving an estate.

SOURCE: Lower Norfolk County 1646 - 1651/2.

We do not know who this Benjamin Foster was, however probably was a close relative to Richard Foster (A) or (B). Benjamin's widow was Joane. She married a second time, Richard Yeats, August 31, 1649

SOURCE: Lower Norfolk County 1646 - 1651/2, pp 123-124

June 15, 1649: Richard Foster (B) appointed Constable for the Eastern Shore of Linhaven

SOURCE: Lower Norfolk County 1646 - 1651/2, pp 118

August 15, 1649: "It was ordered that Richard Foster, Joseph Burch, Abraham Thomas, Thomas Wright and Lawrence Phillips, Constables shall take a list of Tythable psons with in their limits and exhit the same unto the Court to bee holden on the first of October next."

SOURCE: Lower Norfolk County Wills and Deeds 1646 - 1651/2

November 30, 1649: "Upon mutual concent of Richard Foster (B) plt and John Carroway deft. Certifyed to ye court by Mr. Tho. Lambert and Thomas Tooker........case depending on next Court:

SOURCE: Lower Norfolk County, Book B, and pp130a

Richard Foster ordered to pay in Lower Norfolk County

SOURCE: Lower Norfolk County Wills and Deeds 1646 - 1651/2, pp. 134

February 15, 1648/49: Richard Foster (B) attorney of Richard Foster (A) to deliver unto John Carroway which has intermarried with relect of Roger Williamson, dec's for use of Sarah Willamson

SOURCE: Lower Norfolk County, Book B. pp?

April 9, 1649: James Warner was apptd. To be Adm of the estate of Benjamin Foster, dec'd of Lower Norfolk County, Virginia. Benjamin's wife. Joane m 2nd time to Richad Yeats.

SOURCE: Lower Norfolk County, Book B, pp. 113

1650

November 1, 1650 a Richard Foster received a certificate for a land. Patt. For transportation of himself, his wife Dorcas Foster, Sr. and daughter, Dorcas Foster, Jr. and a Richard Streete and Henry Williams.

SOURCE: Lower Norfolk County, Book B, pp.155 and Cavailers and Pioneers 1623 - 1666, and pp.249

February 15, 1649/50: "The difference depending between Rich. Foster and John Carroway is referred to ye next court of ye sd Foster in ye shall procure Mr.: Jno: Meres in his oath that ye sd Mears had never had any dealings with ye sd Foster but only 6 h had of tobo.that was aid Mr. Marsh on the South side of the James River.

SOURCE: Lower Norfolk County, Book B, and pp.134a

February 27, 1649/50: Upon the Peticon of John Workman........ordered the Rich. Foster Constable, shall deliver unto ye sd Workman such clothing and other things as he hath of his having been brought to him by an Indian Man...............

SOURCE: Lower Norfolk County, Book B, and pp.134a

February 27, 1649/50: Tobacco payd Richard Foster for bt......160 total debts amt to 3804

SOURCE: Lower Norfolk County, Book A, pp.139a

A Richard Foster...also known as Richard ffoster in Lower Norfolk County, Virginia

SOURCE: Abstracts of Lower Norfolk county, Charles F. McIntosh

July 31, 1640: Richard Foster's will written June 15, 1648 before going to England (will is being recorded); The book says "top of page torn and the following could be either a will or deed of gift." says Alice G. Walter. "Unto Sarah Williams(on) sic......until sixteen......unto John Carraway , the said Sarah her father in lawe......in case the said Sarah Williams(on) sic should dye before shee comes at age to receive them. That then they shall be equally divided amongst the rest of the children of Roger Williams(on) sic witnessed by Robert Eyre and Simond S. H. Hancocke. Signed,( Richard Foster)

SOURCE: Lower Norfolk County, Book A, pp. 160

Note: There is some confusion about Richard Foster (B) receiving a certificate for a land patent in 1650 for the transport of himself, wife, Dorcas, and daughter, Dorcas, Jr. We find no records that show their trip to England. When did it occur? How long were they there? It is of little matter, however, as we have already seen that Richard Foster (B) could not be our ancestor. The remaining entries in 1650 obviously involve Richard Foster (B), attorney or Richard Foster (C).

1651

Richard Foster (A) is in his third year in England. Back in Lower Norfolk County, Virginia on April 15, 1651 Thomas Watkins received a certificate for paying the transportation of a Sussan Foster from England to Virginia. A Richard Foster payed for the transportation from England to Virginia, a Mary and Ellen Foster.

April 29, 1651: Bartholomew Hoskins of Elizabeth River....Planter have freely given and delivered unto Henry Barlowe living in ye said river a cowe calf of a year old which he hath marked. (Signed) Richard Foster

SOURCE: Lower Norfolk County, Book B, pp.178

June 1651, 1651: "To next Court" Richard Pinner agst Richard Foster to next court

CERTIFICATE: to Richard Foster for 250 acres for transportation of himself, Dorcas Foster, his wife, Dorcas Foster, his daughter, Richard Steete, and Henry Lewis

SOURCE: Abstracts of Lower Norfolk Wills, pp.7

SOURCE: Lower Norfolk County, Book B, pp. 181

October 30, 1651 Richard Foster (A) agst. Roger Williams (on) sic ordered that ye land in question be equally divided between sd Foster and the children of the wife of sd William (on) sic being orphans by Richard Whitenshurst, Richard Foster (B), John Chandler, Henry Nicholls, Mr.s, sic ohn Sidney and William Mosely are requested to be there present and to be done by the 23 October 1651

SOURCE: Lower Norfolk County, Book B, pp. 1881

October 30, 1651: Richard Foster ordered to pay unto John Martin 747 tbs tob and caske with forbarence and court charges

SOURCE: Lower Norfolk County, Book B, pp. 188a

Same court October 23, 161: At a peticon of Richard Water. John Carroway ordered to pay his share of the debt due Richard Pinner as per order of the last court

SOURCE: Lower Norfolk County, Book B, pp. 189a

Note: These entries and others which deal with legal matters in the year 1651 are assumed to involve Richard Foster (B) as Richard Foster (A) is in England and Richard Foster (C) is illiterate.

1652

It is Richard Foster's (A) fourth year in England. We have no knowlelge what he is doing there, if he is married, if he having children, etc.

July 5, 1652: Thomas Watkins received land patant on Eastern Branch of the Elizabeth River in Lower Norfolk County for the transport of Sussan Foster from England to Virginia

SOURCE: Cavaliers and Pioneers

Richard Foster: collector of tithables in Lower Norfolk County

SOURCE: Lower Norfolk County Wills and Deeds 1651 - 1656, pp.12

Notes: One would like to say that the Sussan (Garnett?) Foster transported from England to Virginia by Thomas Watkins was the wife of Richard Foser (A). However, all we can really say is that which is stated. If she was the wife of Richard, why is someone else paying her passage to Virginia? Why is she leaving Richard in England? (as he has another year to live there.) If she is the wife of Richard Fffoster (A), does she have children? Were they left in England or transported? Who are Mary and Ellen Foster transported from England to America by a Richard Foster. Are these the children of Richard and Sussan Foster? If so, then why are they leaving England on a separate ship than their mother? Ship manifests do not give the ages of the passengers so we do not know if Mary and Ellen are children or adults. All we can really say is that they are transported by a Richard Foster that we cannot identify.

1653

Richard Foster (A) is in his fifth and final year in England. In Lower Norfolk County, Virginia a Richard Foster is being called Captain Richard Foster in some deeds and wills.

October 28, 1853/54: Deed. Dated October 28, 1652. Richard Foster sells Wm Warde 50 acres in Bennetts Creek and adj. SW on land which did belong to William Est and now belongs to John Stratton the son of John Stratton, and is part of land belonging to James Sterling

(Signed) Richard (X ) Foster Wit. James Sterling

SOURCE: Virginia Colonial Abstracts; Lower Norfolk County 1641 - 1654, pp. 466

November 26, 1653 a Richard Foster received a land patent 250 acres in Linnhaven Parish in Lower Norfolk County. Virginia at the head of the Broad Creek running s.s.w.near a swamp thence w.n.w. etc. for the transport of himself, his wife, Dorcas, and his daughter, Dorcas, Jr.

SOURCE: Lower Norfolk Wills and Deeds, Book C 1651 - 1656, pp. 12a

The same year, 1653, Richard Foster is a member of the House of Burgess

SOURCE: Journals of House of Burgess 1619-1659, pp. 33, 99, 415.

July 5, 1653: Thomas Watkins received 50 acres lying in the Eastern Branch of the Elizabeth River..........(Patient Book 3, pp.24) for the transport of Sussan Foster

SOURCE: Cavaliers and Pioneers, 1623 - 1666 Nugent, pp. 239

Notes: If Richard Foster (A) is still in England in 1653, and we have no reason to believe that he is not, then the Captain Richard Foster who is a member of the House of Burrgess cannot be Richard Foster (A) as is believed by some Foster researchers.) Could he be the illiterate Richard Foster (C)? I don't think so. Is he the son-in-law of Bartholomew Hoskins, Richard Foster (B)? Most likely he was. We see on November 26 that Richard Foster (B) received a land patent for the transport of himself, his wife, and daughter. When did they go to England? Did he marry Dorcas Hoskins in Virginia or in England? He wasn't away from Virginia long enough to marry and have a daughter in England, so we must assumed he married in Virginia and either had his daughter, Dorcas, Jr. in Virginia or in England (maybe he took his pregnant wife to England for better child birth care)?

1654

Richard Foster (A) sailed from Bristol, England destination Virginia. He has spent five years in England and is now back in Lower Norfolk County, Virginia.

SOURCE: Carroway-Foster-Williams (on) and Bartholomew Hoskins, 1601-1706, Watkins and Bristal/Bristol and America, Reprinted in 1967

March 25, 1653\54: A Richard Foster sold 50 acres on Bennetts Creek in Lower Norfolk County, Virginia. He signed with an "X"

SOURCE: Virginia Colonial Abstracts; Fleet, Vol. III, pp. 466

Richard Foster was called a Land Owner in Lower Norfolk County, Virginia

SOURCE: Lower Norfolk County Wills and Deeds 1651 -1656, pp.114

Richard Foster, Juror, Lower Norfolk County, Virginia

SOURCE: Lower Norfolk County Wills and Deeds 1651 -1656, pp.114

Notes: Are we to assume that the Richard Foster that signed his name with an "X" is either Richard Foster (C) or a fourth Richard Foster (D) in Lower Norfolk County and must then joins the list of Richards who could be our immigrant? Now, since we know that both Richard (A) and (B) are literate we have an urge to eliminate (C) and/or (D) as possible candidates - should we? We also must assume that the Richard Foster who sailed from England to Virginia was Richard Foster (A). Do we really know that? No, but likely it was him.

1655

April 1, 1655: A Richard Foster received a land patent on head of the Southard Creek in Severne, in Mockjack Bay (Abbingdon Parish, Gloucester Co., Virginia)

Source: Cavaliers and Pioneers Book 5, pp. 490

This land is adjacent Coll. George Ludlow who formally lived in Lower Norfolk and James City. He received the land for the transport of 4 persons: Ellen Foster, Mary Foster, Sarah David, Robert Bynam,(and Fra Bignall don't know about this one?)

Note: This entry is most critical in determining our immigrant. Is Richard Foster (A) selling his land in Lower Norfolk County and moving to Gloucester County or is the Richard Foster living in Gloucester County an entirely new Richard Foster (E)? It is interesting that George Ludlow must have known both Richard Fosters in Lower Norfolk County and that he bought land in Gloucester close to another Richard Foster. Are (A) and (E) the same? It sees too coincidental that ole George would know three Richard Fosters in that day and time. Who knows it is certainly possible and doesn't prove or disprove a thing.

Richard Foster is a Member of the House of Burgess, Jamestown

SOURCE: Journal of the House of Burgess 1619 - 1659; H.R. McIlwayne, Ed., pp. 99

Richard Foster appraised an Estate in Lower Norfolk County.

SOURCE: Lower Norfolk County Wills and Deeds 1651 - 1656, pp. 146

Note: Again, it is critical to identify the above Richard Fosters. It is most likely that the Richard who is a member of the House of Burgess is Richard Foster (B). Did (B) also appraise the estate? We have no way of knowing if these are the same Richards. If these are (A) and (B), then the Richard Foster who patented land in Gloucester County is (E) and possibly ours as we know that both John and Robert, Foster (sons of our immigrant) were "of Gloucester County".)

1656

Richard Foster (B) member of the House of Burgess from Lower Norfolk Co., VA

SOURCE: Journals of the House of Burgess 119-1659, pp. 33

Richard Foster (B) called Capt Richard Foster was a member of the House of Burgess, Lower Norfolk County, Virginia, Lower Norfolk Co., Virginia

SOURCE: The Statutes at Large, Vol. 1, pp.414

Captain Richard Foster (B) Present at the General Assembly, Jamestown.

SOURCE: The Statutes at Large, Henning, Vol.1, pp. 414

Richard Foster (B), Commissioner (Justice of the Peace) in Lower Norfolk County, Virginia.

SOURCE: Lower Norfolk County Wills and Deeds 1651 - 1656, pp. 1,42, 44, 557, 64, 170, and 225.

Richard Foster (B) Present in Court in Lower Norfolk County

SOURCE: Lower Norfolk County Wills and Deeds 1651 - 1656, pp. 217

Notes: Are we to assume that these entries involve only Richard Foster (B). If so, where is Richard Foster (A)? If we assume that both Richard Fosters participate in the above entries, the Richard Foster in Gloucester County in Richard Foster (E).

1657

Richard Foster, Sheriff in Lower Norfolk County

SOURCE: Lower Norfolk County Wills and Deeds 1656 - 1666, pp.72

Richard Foster, High Sheriff of Lower Norfork County

SOURCE: Lower Norfolk County Wills and Deeds 1656 - 1666

Richard Foser, Commissioner (Justice of the Peace)

SOURCE Wills Lower Norfolk County and Deeds 1656 - 1666, pp. 72

Note: This is critical! Are both of these Richard Fosters (B) or is one of them Richard Foster (A). If they are not the same then our Richard (E) is probably on his plantation in Gloucester County. If they are the same, then Richard (A) could be the Richard on the plantation in Gloucester County. Can the same man be Sheriff, High Scheriff, and Commisioner at the same time or in the same year?

1658

Richard Foster: Member of House of Burgess

SOURCE: The General Assembly of Virginia, 1619 - 1678

Richard Foster, Commissioner in Lower Norfolk County

SOURCE: Lower Norfollk County Wills and Deeds, 1656 - 1666, pp.197

Richard Foster patitioned the Court in Lower Norfolk County

SOURCE: Lower Norfolk County Wills and Deeds 1656 - 1666, p.70

Richard Foster, Commissioner in Lower Norfolk County; Judgement for Lower Norfolk County

SOURCE: Lower Norfolk County Wills and Deeds 656 - 1666, pp. 143, 147, 166, 183, 190, and 199

Richard Foster involved in Court Case

SOURCE: Lower Norfolk County Wills and Deeds 1656 - 1666, pp.152

Richard Foster Member of the House of Burgess

SOURCE: Journal of the House of Burgess

Note: Again, are these the same Richard Fosters?

1659

Richard Foster Commissioner in Lower Norfolk County. Judgement for Lower Norfolk County

SOURCE: Lower Norfolk County Wills and Deeds 1656 - 1666, pp. 210, 223, 234

Richard Foster appraised an estate in Lower Norfolk County

SOURCE: Lower Norfolk Wills and Deeds 1656 - 1666, pp. 217

Note: Are these the same Richard Fosters or are they (A) and (B)?

1660

Richard Foster, Commissioner, Lower Norfolk County

SOURCE: Lower Norfolk County Wills and Deeds 1556 - 1666, pp 264

Note: Which Richard Foster?

1661

No records of significance could be found

1662

March 18, 1662, Richard Foster (A) or (E) renewed his patent on the Southern Creek on Mobjack Bay, Gloucester County.

March 18, 1662 Richard Foster (B) renewed the patent on his land of 250 acres in Linhaven Parish, Lower Norfolk Co., Virginia. Renewal of patent dated 25 November 1653

SOURCE: Cavaliers and Pioneers, Patent Book 1, Part 1, pp 473

"Robert Coleman, 110 acs. Gloster "sic" March 18, 1662. On main branch of Burnts Creek........land runing N.W. by N. & to Richard Foster land then ...............".

SOURCE: Cavaliers and Pioneers 1623 - 1666, pp.508

Note: A Richard Foster renewed his patent on land on Southern Creek on Mobjack Bay in Gloucester County, Virginia the same day that Richard Foster (A) was renewing his patent on land in Linhaven Parish, Lower Norfolk County, Virginia. Is there something significant about both patents being renewed on the same day? Did they know each other? Were they kinfolk? If the Richard Foster who patented land in Gloucester County was Richard Foster (A) then the two men were brothers-in-law as Richard Foster (B) is married to Richard Foster's (A) half sister, Dorcas Hoskins. If the Richard Foster who patented the land in Gloucester County is Richard Foster (E) could not they still be kin even though we have not records to indicate such? If they are not kin does it have any bearing on his being our immigrant?

1663

Richard Foster (B) and his wife Dorcas Hoskins Foster of Lower Norfolk County moved with Dorcas' brother, Bartholomew Hoskins, Jr. to Albermarle County, North Carolina (present day Carrituck County). Bartholomew Hoskins, Sr. is dead by this time. This land in Old Albermarle County is just across the state line adjacent to Lower Norfolk County. So they were not moving far. They were in North Carolina on March 24, 162/63.

Richard Foster (B), son-in-law of Bartholomew Hoskins was called Major Foster in North Carolina. He was a Councilman in Albermarle County

SOURCE: Old Albermarle County, North Carolina Miscellaneous Records 1678 - 1737, Weynette Parks Haun

April 22, 1663: Endorsed September 7, 1683 - an Indenture made 22 April 1663 between Thomas Willoughby, Lemuell Mason and Richard Foster in Lower Norfolk County.....we the said partyes Covenanted, concluded and agree with the other mutually that wee will settle a plantation to the southward upon a certaine tract of land which goes by the name of WHITE's ISLAND and another piece of land right over the western end of the afsd Whites Island (inniconed?) which marsh called WALNUT NECK wherein each of us have an equal share and proportionable Right and....?....proportionable charge boath for building and stock boath in Catl & hoggs for profitt and cost till such time as it bee further concluded between

Us...................

Wit: Richard Thompson Tho. Willoughby

Warner Eth....?... Lem Mason

Richard Foster

SOURCE:

1664

No records of significance were found in Lower Norfolk County or Gloucester (what there is of them)

1672

March 18, 1672/3: On swamp dividing this land of Daniel Clark and Richard Foster.

SOURCE: Records of Colonial Gloucester County, Virginia; Mason, pp. 34

October 28, 1672: Bartholomew Williamson (son of Ann Foster Williamson Carroway, sister of Richard Foster (A) received land of Robert Foster that is escheat.

SOURCE: Cavaliers and Pioneers, Nugent

There could be found no significant records in Lower Norfolk County.

Note: If this is the Robert Foster of the 1635 Safety, then it could signify a relationship between Richard, Robert, and Elizabeth - brothers and sister?

1678

In Kingston Parish, Gloucester County, Virginia there is land patented by a Mr. Deggs which adjoins the land of a James Foster

SOURCE: Cavaliers and Pioneers Book 6, pp. 658

Note: It has been suggested that this James Foster is the father of Robert, John, and Richard Foster. However there is no reason to believe that he is. There is also no evidence that he is the son of Richard Foster, immigrant (which he probably is.) He patented land across the bay from Richard Foster

1683

September 7, 1683: Coll Richard Foster before us acknowledge the within writtne to be his voluntary act and deed, butt as to the hoggs therein mentioned there is none in the island but that belongs particularly to Coll. Foster and what Catls belong to Coll Mason & Major Willoughby's Ayers (?) are marked with a piece cut in the upper part of the left ear. The produce of which catte.......?.......... to be soo marked for their use Coll Lemuell Mason...?...acknowledge the within writing as his ect.& ceed(?)

Note: Now, who is the Coll. Richard Foster. Is he a new Richard (F) or is it Richard Foster (A) who is still in Lower Norfolk. If he is then Richard Foster (E) is the Richard in Gloucester County. What do you think?

1704

Richard Foster is found on the Rent Rolls of 1704 as being in Abbingdon Parish, Gloucester Co., Virginia

James Foster is found on the Rent Rolls as being in Kingston Paris, across from Mockjack Bay.

Also on the 1704 Rent Rolls we find Robert and John Foster, sons of the immigrant in Essex County.

Note: If this is the same James Foster that some think is the father of Robert, John, Richard, and James Foster(?), he would certainly be an old man. This is probably James Foster, son of Robert Foster, who is the son of our immigrant

Note: If this is Richard Foster, son of our immigrant Foster then he is ca. 85. It is more likely that this is Richard Foster, Jr. son of Richard Foster, Sr. that we alluded too earlier.

 

Summery

There seems to be four significant Richard Foster in Lower Norfolk County, Virginia during the critical period for determining our immigrant, Richard Foster. Two of these are illiterate. Can they be eliminated? Yes?, No? Why? I do think that we can eliminate Richard Foster (B) as he is clearly the son-in-law of Bartholomew and Dorcas Foster Hoskins and it is he who was a member of the House of Burgess. It is also this Richard Foster who was, Commissioner- --- sheriff, I don't know! Could it be that Richard Foster (A) was our immigrant? If so, he would have married (Sussan Garnett, we are told), gone to England for five years and, we assume sired babies in Virginia and in England. We find no transport records of the known children of our immigrant, i.e., Richard, Robert, and John. He could have had them in Virginia, of course. Who are Mary and Ellen Foster? After his return from England he and his family would have had to move to Gloucester County and continued their lives and raised their families. They would have both died on this plantation? How many children did they have? We do not know. Robert, Richard, John, James and most certainly some daughters. Our immigrant, Richard Foster may have never lived in Lower Norfolk County, Virginia. He could be Richard Foster (E) who patented the land in Gloucester County, Virginia after arriving in Virginia, a date of which we do not know.

Since Richard Foster (E) is a viable choice for our immigrant we must turn our attention to him and trace his immigration and migration, if possible. When and at what age Richard Foster (E) immigrated to Virginia, we do not know. It is through his association with other families that we get a sense of his age. It was quite common in colonial days and in the days of the great migration from Virginia that families lived in close proximity with close friends and/or relatives. We find this is true with the Fosters, Colemans, and Garnetts. Consider the following.

Robert Coleman was named as head right in a grant to Thomas Symons, by grant dated, March 2, 1838

SOURCE: Gloucester County Patent Book I, Part II, pp. 830.

It is established that Robert Coleman was settled in Gloucester County in 1658, for by deed dated August 2, 1658, Francis Carpenter conveyed a tract of land in Westmorland county to "Robert Coleman of Mobjack, sic Gloucester County" Thereafter he acquired by grant a tract of land on Burnt Creek in Gloucester County, adjoining Daniel Clark, Richard Foster and another development of his own. The grant is dated March 18, 1662.

SOURCE: Westmoreland County Deed and Will Book 1, pp. 830 and Patent Book 5, pp. 352

March 18, 1672: Robert Coleman land: "On a swamp dividing this land of Daniel Clark & Richard Foster."

SOURCE: Cavaliers and Pioneers, pp.508

Consider the following: Richard Foster and Robert Coleman had lived as near neighbors for a decade. It is likely to assume they were friends and probably went to the same church. There is no evidence for this, of course. Our earlier calculation and a leap of faith has Richard Foster being born ca. 1620. Richard Coleman's death as been calculated to be ca 1680, then his birth date could be close to that of Richard Foster. If so he was 60 years old when he died. I believe that Robert Coleman and Richard Foster were near in age with Robert Coleman being a little older (don't ask me why I just have a feeling). We know by 1692 that Robert Coleman, Sr. is dead and most likely Richard Foster. If he was still alive he would have been 72 years old. I believe that Richard Foster was either dead by1792 or he moved with his sons, Robert, and John from Gloucester County to Essex County by 1692.

September 7, 1692: DEED - John Baker to Robert Foster - 1672; John Baker of Kingston Parish, Gloucester County sold to Robert Foster of same Parish and County, 200 acres (part of Button's Range). This tells us that Robert Foster moved to Gloucester County earlier than September 1692 as he is said to be "of same Parish and County" as John Baker which is Kingston Parish, Gloucester County, Virginia. There is a similar deed for John Foster, Robert's brother. Also in 1692 we find: POWER OF ATTORNEY - Robert Yard to Robert Coleman (this has to be Junior) - Robert Yard of Gloucester County appoints Robert Coleman of Essex County his true and lawful Attorney.

SOURCE: Records of Colonial Gloucester County; Mason, pp. 143

We see from these documents that both of the Foster brothers and Robert Coleman, Jr. have moved from Gloucester County to Essex County. It seems most likely that the fathers, Richard Foster and Robert Coleman, Sr. were friends. Certainly their sons, John Coleman, Jr. and Robert and John Foster were. They all have removed from Gloucester County to Essex at approximately the same time.

Another family that we find in close association with this Richard Foster was the Garnett family. Thomas Garnett was the first of his line to come to Virginia. He was an ancient planter that survived the Indian massacre in 1622 and was on the first muster in 1623. Present were: Thomas, his wife Elizabeth and their three year old daughter, Sussan. Tradition has our immigrant marrying into this Garnett family while in Gloucester County. Thomas had patented 200 acres of land for the transport of four persons (we do not know who they were). We do not hear from this family again in the patent and wills book, available of Gloucester County.

The books of Gloucester County were burned during the Civil War.

It has been accepted by most Foster researchers that Robert Foster, son of Richard and (Sussan Garnett) Foster married an Elizabeth Garnett. In his will of 1715/16 he names his wife, Elizabeth (no family name) and even though he wills the plantation on which he lives, to his first son, Robert Foster, Jr., he provides for Elizabeth, Robert Jr's mother to remain on the plantation. Thomas, Sr. another son of Robert Foster acknowledges that the Elizabeth in the will was his mother. He gave his mother, who was now married to Robert Charlesworth and living on his land a gift of deed to the land on which they were living. In the deed he states that Elizabeth was his mother. I mention this as there so many researchers using the wife (Sara Biggs) given Robert Foster, Sr. by Mrs. Lane in her research. I have found no documentation that he married a Sarah Biggs, or even Elizabeth Garnett,. However, he had a better chance of marrying a Garnett in Gloucester County than in Lower Norfolk County. There were Biggs in Gloucester County at the time as there were Garnetts. Read the will of Robert Foster, Sr. carefully - it is most difficult.

The Garnetts of Virginia do not recognize Thomas Garnett as their ancestor. They state, "The earliest Garnett from whom descent at this time can be traced is John Garnett to whom under date of April 16, 1673 the governor, Thomas Lord Culpeper, issued a grant of 260 acres of land lying on the sourth side of Garden Creek in Gloucester County, between lands of John Smither and John Diggs

SOURCE: Gloucester County Records, Book 7, pp. 239

John Garnett had two sons that lived to maturity, John, Jr. Thomas, and Anthony who died young.

John Garnett, Jr. the eldest son of John Garnett, Sr. lived in Kingston Parish, Gloucester County, Virginia. Shortly after the birth of his first son, James in 1692, he moved to St. Anne's Parish, in Essex County, were we find his name as a witness to deeds in 1703 and 1710. The land that he bought was a part of Button's Range and was adjacent of the 200 acres each bought by Robert and John Foster, brothers. Button's Range was subdivided in 1789. John Garnett and the Foster brothers bought their land in 1792 (some say that John Foster bought his in 1709 and is not even a brother.)

SOURCE: Essex Deed Book No. 14, pp 109

Thomas Garnett, of St Anne's Parish, Essex, planter, is described as "one of the sons and devisees of John Garnett late of the Parish of Kingston in the County of Gloucester".

SOURCE: Essex Deed Book No. 13, pp. 225

We now have the sons of Richard Foster, the sons of John Garnett, and the son of Robert Coleman, Sr. all moving to Essex County, Virginia at about the same time, 1692. For two generations the Foster, Garnetts, and Colemans had been close friends.

June 8, 1709: Bond of Thomas Garnett of St. Anne's Parish, Essex County, to John Foster of same, planter. For 7000 pounds of tobacco. To fulfill conditions of deed. Signed (Thomas Garnett)

SOURCE: Essex County Records, 1717 - 1731, Dorman, pp. ?

February 13, 1719: John Foster, Jr. of St. Anne's Parish, Essex County to Robert Charlesworth of same. For 4000 pounds of tobacco. 125 acres in said Parish on south side of Gilson's Run.....corner tree of John Foster....bequeathed unto the said John Foster by the last will of Robert Foster, Sr. dec'd and is part of 250 acres purchased by the said Robert Foster off Mr. John Baker, dec., out of a tract commonly known by the name of Button's Range. Robert Charlesworth, you will remember, married Elizabeth Foster after the death of her husband, Robert in 1715/16.

SOURCE: Essex County Records, 1717 - 1731, Dorman, pp. 156-59

May 20, 1720: John Ridgdails of St. Anne's Parish, Essex County, to Robert Foster of same. For 850 pounds of tobacco. This is Robert Foster, Jr. as his father, Robert Foster, Sr. died in 1715/16

1741: Thomas Foster, son of John, son of Robert and (Sussan Garnett?) married Ann Garnett, daughter of Thomas Garnett (son of John, the immigrant) and Elizabeth Muscoe

May 13, 1743: It is ordered Robert Coleman, Jr. be overseer of road from the County line by Wm. Riddle's to the fork of the road by Jno. Beasley's and the Church road to the Church bridge and half the bridge from thence unto the road down the creek to the county line. Andrew Lyons, Harry Annomy, Charles Hart, Rowld, Thomas, Robert Foster, Robert Coleman.......

SOURCE: Virginia County Records, Vol.1; Crozier. Pp. 178

June 4, 1745. Robert Coleman and Sarah, his wife of St. George Parish, Spotsylvania County, Virginia to Thomas Foster, Surgeon of Parish and County afsd L50 curr. 400 acres. (Signed) A(nthony) Foster, John Gordon, Jno Parish. Anthony, Thomas, and John Foster are sons of Richard Foster (E),) (A)??

SOURCE: Virginia County Records, Vol.1; Crozier. Pp. 297?

1760: Anthony Foster, Jr. son of Anthony Foster and Martha (Taliaferro?), son of Robert and Elizabeth (Garentt?) married in Fairfax County, Virginia to Rose Coleman.

We could go on and on, but we see that there was a close relationship between the Foster, Coleman, and Garnett family. They married each other, they moved with each other. One researched suggested that our Richard Foster, our immigrant, was one of the head rights of the first Thomas Garnett. He certainly would have been acquainted with Sussan Garnett. However this is simply speculation. I hope I have left you completely confused. You must read, reread and reread and then come up with the answer to our "Elusive Immigrant".

Dr. B.G. "Bill" Foster
2130 Santa Fe Trail
Tyler, TX 75703
(903) 839-1036