Archive for July, 2010


White RoseAs with many a book, my copy of Trek to Texas has a few things tucked lovingly inside the pages. Some I put there myself, including the clipping from my Grandmother’s obituary and the flower I kept from her funeral. At some point over the years, someone included a torn and tattered, yellowed slip of paper with a poem by M.L. Foster. Try as I might, I could not find which M.L. Foster wrote the poem, or even if it was written by a man or a woman. The best clue I have is in the poem itself, which mentions “the great war”, so I can only assume the ancestor that wrote it was referring to World War I.

In the interest of keeping the story going, I’ve decided to include these inserts on the site, as well as any other stories, photos and documents that I might gather in my own journey in bringing Trek to Texas to the web.

  1. My Sons Have Gone Away by M.L. Foster
    (including a photo of my mother’s brother, Robert, from World War II)
  2. Amnesty Oath of M. Berry Anderson Foster
  3. Obituary Clipping for Evvie Reeves, 1988

My Sons Have Gone Away

by M.L. Foster

Uncle Robert

Uncle Robert

I watched them grow, these Sons of mine,
From baby boys to men,
Their milk-white skin burn raw and red,
Then turn to deep dark tan.

I taught them how to play, to work,
To make of life a game,
We were so happy them and I,
Until the great war came.

The call to war was clear and loud;
They did not hesitate,
Their single words rang in my ears,
I’ll fight for home and State!

And I am left alone, but proud;
My Sons have gone away,
And they Dear God are in your care,
Please bring them back some day.

My Sons Have Gone Away

Amnesty Oath

Amnesty Oath of M. Berry Anderson Foster

My only copy of the Amnesty Oath that M. Berry Anderson Foster took, swearing his allegiance to the Union at the end of the U.S. Civil War is only a photocopy that was sent by one of mom’s cousins. He passed away of cancer last year, so I have no way of getting in touch with anyone who might have the original copy or know where it is. I’ve transcribed it here to the best of my ability (some words were just too faded or blocked by the photocopy ink to be legible). My understanding of why the Oath was even necessary is that any Texan who didn’t sign this Oath, regardless of which side they were on during the Civil War, would be put in prison. Some accounts of the Oath are that it was the only way political Prisoners of War were paroled and released back to their homes.

Amnesty Oath
No. 373
Millieum (?) Houston, Texas

July 8th, 1865

I, M. Berry A. Foster do solemnly swear or affirm in the presence of Almighty God that I will hereafter faithfully defend the Constitution of the United States and the Union of the States thereunder, and that I will in like manner abide by, and faithfully support all laws and proclamations which have been made during the existing rebellion with reference to the emancipation of slaves.


(signature) MBA Foster

Subscribed and sworn to before me this 8th day of July, 1865

(illegible witness signature)
Co. “C” 114th Regiment, Ohio

Name: M. Berry A. Foster
Age: 37
Height: 5 ft. 10
Hair: Dark
Eyes: Blue
Complexion: Fair
Occupation: Carpenter
Residence: Brazos, Texas

Amnesty Oath

Amnesty Oath of M. Berry Anderson Foster, signed July 8, 1865

My Grandmother, Evvie Reeves

GrandmaGrandma was the person who first gave me the copy of Trek to Texas and inspired me in many ways. Below is the copy of her obituary and the white rose that I pressed into the book from her funeral. At my mother’s request, I have blocked out some names and cities for people with currently living relatives. Just two weeks after Grandma’s death, we also lost her oldest daughter, Aunt Rozell, and later my Aunt Billie and Uncle Orval as well, and all of Grandma’s brothers and sisters.


Web Bibliography

Note: Trek to Texas does contain an unlisted, and unnumbered Bibliography on page 197, however it appears to be an incomplete list in addition to not noting the location of sources used within the book. It is merely an alphabetical list of some of the sources. In the interest of providing as complete a record as I can, I’m starting this Web Bibliography to note specific sources mentioned in the book as fully as I am able. I will do my best to keep the source list as up-to-date as possible, linking back to the page on which the source is mentioned.

Family Legend

1 “Notable Southern Families” Vol. 2, pages 179 to 198.

2 1820 Census. Bedford County, Tennessee.

3 National Genealogical Magazine. Book Review. Unnamed author or date.

4 Foster-Barham, Francis. “England – 1844″

01. Title Page and Introduction

Trek to Texas
1770 – 1870

Pearl Foster (O’Donnell)
Copyright 1966

History of early Texas pioneers
Tarrant – Denton – Cass & other counties

Dedicated to
Charles Edwin Wright, Jr.
William Richard Wright
John Thomas Wright

Besides the Story

It’s strange how much a book can hold
Besides the story that is told!
Dear memories lie there between
Its leaves, and dreams that might have been
The seeds of truth, for all we knew
When first we read those chapters through.
Old scenes, not noted in the plot,
Arise to mind; perhaps a spot
We loved in childhood, one where first
Earth’s beauty on our senses burst;
Perhaps a line may bring again
An hour of fragrant April rain,
And such enchantment as youth had
For every carefree girl and lad.
A name inscribed in faded ink
May take us to a lost world’s brink:
Strange, strange, how much a book can hold
Besides the story which is told!

Dear memories have prompted the writing of this chronicle about the neighbors, families and the ancestors of my father Ambrose Foster. He left us for a better world Thanksgiving 1949 and his last wish was to hold his first great grandchild in his arms. His first great grandson was born July 15, 1950.

May my critics judge the contents only and not on my ability as a typist, and remember my lack of training as a writer. A few words omitted and other minor errors have not been changed because of the tremendous job of typing a full page without error.

~Pearl Foster

02. Preface

Though this work has been arduous, there have been many compensations – the history that I have learned, the friends that I have made, and the fascinating road I have traveled with my ancestors – across the wilderness, through the wars and into the hearts and lives of their descendants. They conquered the wilderness, fought our enemies and we, their descendants, should never forget what these sacrifices mean to us.

At first I was amazed at the many conflicting accounts read in history books about those early years. A complete understanding has been reached as to how many contradicting items have occurred. I found by checking census and other available materials that they sometimes confused the places of residence and most often dates when they were not recorded. However, this work could not have been completed with-out [sic] their invaluable assistance and untiring efforts.

I wish to express my sincere appreciation for the help of E.T. Foster and E.J. Foster for their generous sharing of the large amount of data collected in the past thirty-five years at family reunions. Also Mrs. C.P. Joyce for her untiring effort to uncover new information or leads to where such information might be found, and all the many cousins for their co-operation [sic]. I am deeply indebted to Dr. Baker and Dr. Elliott of the Southwestern Baptist Seminary and their staff. I wish to express appreciation to the Fort Worth Genealogical Society and Mrs. R.N. Grammer, who made such an interesting and informative talk the last Monday of June 1964. This was the date my interest was aroused and a desire to learn more about my ancestors was fanned from a spark into a flame.

Realizing “every man is a bundle of of his ancestors” and also hunting for all information whether it be good or bad, for “He that has no fools, knaves, nor beggars in his family was begot by a flash of lightning” is an old and true bit of wisdom by Thomas Fuller: Gnomolgia, 1732. I did not find nor did I expect to find a great hero of the time or any with great wealth or power. I did find that as a rule “they were well enough to do” and “their first thought was for the welfare of each other and finding their way to a better world.”

Too much was found to confine this to a Foster family history. I found evidence of a close association and migration of several families from the Carolinas to Tennessee, to Missouri and then to Texas.

A special message to my grandsons and their descendants – “The greatest monument a man can build is his own character.”

written by,

Pearl Foster (O’Donnell)
Fort Worth, Texas

03. Table of Contents

Ambrose Foster Family Page 43
Allen History and Families 117
Battle at New Orleans 20
Bird’s Fort 27
Birdville Baptist Church 114
Bounty Land War of 1812 168
Carolina Pioneers 7
Cass County (Bowie), Texas Pioneers 64
Denton & Tarrant Counties’ Early Settlers 28
Early Days in Texas by Rev. Freeman 115
Estate of Ambrose Foster – Division of Land 141
Excerpts – Tarrant County and Texas’ Early Citizens 133
1850 Census of Tarrant County with a few notes 143
1858 Wagon Train from Tarrant and Denton Counties to Calif. 166
1868 Wagon Train to California from Hays County, Tex., K. Medlin 128
Fort Worth, Texas Growth 39
Foster Home – 1st Frame Residence in Linden, Texas 1855 77
Freeman Family 120
Frontier Medicine 36
George G. Foster Family 172
Grapevine, Texas’ Mounted Volunteers 37
Golden Anniversary Story of Cass County 68 – 70
Hall Medlin History by Homer Lewis Medlin 123
Harris Family History by Rachel Eads – Courtesy Flora Harris 118
Hood’s 1st Texas Brigade – Roster of Company D. 76
James Joyce Family by Cloyce and Versie Joyce 127
Judge C.C. Cummings’ Reminiscences 42
Legend 4
Life on the Texas Frontier 40
Lonesome Dove Baptist Church History (1st West of Elm Fork) 108
Malone Families by Nora Smith 120
Marion County, Alabama Pioneers 22
Medlin Families by Nora Smith 121
Memo – Legal Records – Tarrant (before 1865) 158
Missouri Pioneers 23
Mortality Rate on the Frontier 39
Muster Roll of Capt. Burdett’s Bedford County, Tenn. Company 19
NAME INDEX – Muster Roll, Church Members and 1850 Census arranged alphabetically are not in this index 179 – 191
1929 Foster Reunion 78
Old Letters of Interest 71 – 73
160 Members 1846 – 1854 Lonesome Dove (alphabetical order) 109
Pioneer Homes 34
Pioneer Pastime 35
Pioneer Travel 33
Pioneer Recalls War Era 72
Ordinary People 41 – 116
Platte County, Missouri Pioneers 24
Republic of Texas Citizens 176
Revolutionary War Voucher to Ambrose Foster 167
Rev. A.J. Hallford and Family 61
Tarrant County, Texas 25
Texas War Records 15
Thomas J. Foster History also Cass County, Tex. by Pat Foster 63
Thomas J. Foster Family 79
Valley of Virginia 6
Addenda (list of Lewis Madlin, Capt. 1812 Tax List) 193
Note: These names are not in the index and pages 11 – 14 are not indexed correctly as they were rewritten after index made
Web note: This is the Table of Contents as it appears in the book. Page references are for the book only and not related to the web site, however I wanted to include the book in its entirety. Not all sections and pages are referenced in the TOC, nor are all the pages listed correctly, but I left the TOC “as is”. The original Name Index is from pages 179 to 196 (not 191, as listed) and the Addenda begins on page 198 (not 193), with an unlisted Bibliography on page 197.
I will be linking each page on the Table of Contents as I add it to the site to make this a quick and easy reference, however for a full site index, please see the Site Map page.

04. Foster Coat of Arms


Crest: An arm in armor embowed, holding in the hand a broken tilting spear: proper.
Motto: Si fractus fortis. (If broken, still strong.)
Foster Arms: Argent, a chevron, vert, between three bugle-horns, sa., stringed, gu.

Below is the original scan from the book. This is possibly one of the most stained, most worn pages in my copy of the book, showing the Foster Coat of Arms page is clearly also one of the most beloved pages in the book.

Foster Coat of Arms

Webmistress Note:
Having studied the meaning behind the Foster Coat of Arms, I discovered the following definitions:
Embowed – the arm is bent at the elbow.
Proper – the way it appears in nature. The armor would be colored silver or gray, to match the way it appears in its natural coloring.
Argent – Silver or White. The “Field” (background) color would be represented as either silver or white.
Chevron – The ^ shape across the center of the shield.
Vert – Green. The color of the chevron.
Bugle-horns – In heraldry, bugle-horns are the sign of the forester or hunter.
sa. – Sable. Black. The color of the horns.
gu. – Gules. Red. The color of the strings.

Upon further investigation, I also discovered that the “helm” (or helmet) shown below the Crest is specifically a Jouster’s Helmet in style on the particular Coat of Arms chosen by our branch of the Foster family. This hints that the “broken spear” could, in fact, be a “broken lance” indicating Victory. Not all Foster Coats of Arms show this particular helmet, nor do all of them contain the broken spear in the Crest. To my knowledge, all Fosters however claim the Family Motto, Si Fractus Fortis, in some definition or other.

Below is my own drawing, recreating the full colors and details of the Foster Coat of Arms. The drawing is available for sale on CafePress on t-shirts, steins, mugs, prints and more. If you would like to support our site at Trek to Texas, purchasing your own copy of the Foster Coat of Arms would be a great way to help support the site.

Foster Coat of Arms

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