Family Photographs

New printer/scanners bring delights! I’ve been wanting to scan a small collection of historic family photos that I have in my possession so I can work on them and clean them up, as well as post them into This is the first pre-editing scan:

The Foster Family, Mexico, MO, circa 1909-10

My mother made a note that the photograph was taken in 1909? and left me a few notes from her cousin as to who everybody was. I used census data to fill in the gaps. This is what I know, accounting for all of the TEN children in the Missouri family:

Standing in the center by the porch column is the patriarch of the bunch, Joseph H Foster, aged about 68. He died 21 April 1910, so I know the photograph has to be taken before then. He was born in Cincinnati in 1841. Next to him is his wife, Martha Elizabeth Green Foster, who is about age 53. She was born in Calloway County, KY. The Fosters go back deep into colonial Virginia, and before that to England and the farthest I currently am reaching is a Sir Thomas Forster of Hertfordshire who served as a Chief Justice at Westminster in the court of James I in 1604.

Their eldest child, Charles Milton, called “Charlie,” lived and died in Mexico, MO in 1974, living to 100, and he’s standing with his second wife, Ella Sanford, right next to Joseph Foster (on his right, our left). They have two little boys who are in the photograph: Roy, born 1900, is standing with knickers and tie on right below his parents. Little Cave, born 1907, is the smaller of the two tykes in sailors suits on the left of the photograph. I have no idea why his name is Cave. Roy, however, was often called “Little Roy” to distinguish him from another Roy (see below) and was born “deaf and dumb.” Dumb in the older sense of the word, as not talking, understandable for a deaf child. If I recall correctly, several family members learned sign language for Little Roy.

Joe and Martha’s second eldest child, William Lester Foster, is standing next to his brother Charlie. William was born in 1875, but died in Mexico, MO in 1914. He’s standing with his younger wife Ossie Atha Crum, born 1892. Ossie is sporting some picture perfect Gibson Girl hair! They married in 1903 and have a little boy, the other tyke in a sailor suit, Arthur E., born 1905.

Joe and Martha had a third child, Dulcie Ethel, born in 1879, who married a man named Orion Ivan Wales. In my humble opinion, he has an excellent name. Unfortunately, Dulcie died in 1903, so she is not here unless in spirit.

Their fourth child, and my great grandfather, was Jefferson Campbell Foster, born 1881. He died in 1935 in Colorado. He’s here with his wife, my great grandmother, Loren Lucy Shipley, born 1886, who is looking particularly fine and fashionable. They are standing next to Martha. Jefferson is quite tall, as was my grandfather and uncle, all over 6 foot. Loren Lucy was also “tall” but that could be relative for the time. Jefferson is a giant next to her! I am in love with her lace dress though. Their eldest child is at their feet, my great uncle Orville. It is through Lauren Lucy that I can trace some ancestry back to French Huguenots in Virginia on her mother’s side, and on her father’s side to English and Welsh nobility. Its a long ways from the House of Plantagenet to the front porch of a family farm in Missouri, but it’s the footsteps we travel in.

Joe and Martha’s fifth child, Mary E., died as a baby, just a year and a half old. Their sixth and seventh children – twins – sit on the steps below Jefferson and Loren Lucy. Their names are Maude (pictured left, whose hair seems to be fascinating Orville) and Maggie May (on the right). They were born in 1885, and I do not know which one is “eldest.” Maggie died soon after Joe in May of 1910, and it makes me wonder if they shared an illness. The family lore says, though, that Maggie May was always the sickly child. Maude, however, married in 1914 at age 28 (a little old for the time!) to a William Battie Shay (just called Battie) and lived out her years in Santa Monica, a far cry from Missouri, but she was not the only one to leave the state! Jefferson and Loren would move to Colorado, and their children to California.

Joe and Martha’s eighth child, Marvin, was born in 1888 but did not survive the year. Two years later, however, their ninth child, Alice Mae, was born. She is seated next to Maude with her baby Martillus on her lap. Her husband, Leroy Staples, another tall man for the family, is seated next to her. My mother’s notes originally said that she and Maude were the twins, but this is unsubstantiated by the census records. Alice divorced Roy and married a man named Robert Armstrong. I do not know the reason behind the split, but she does look a little grumpy compared to Roy.

I promised you ten, and the tenth child of Joe and Martha also died young. He was born and died 22 September 1892, when Martha was almost 36 years old and Joe was 51. I do not have a name for him, he may not have ever had one, poor thing.

Now there are two children pictured whom I have not mentioned so far, the two girls on either side of our dapper Little Roy. They are marked as Gladys Foster (sitting with the pigtails and Mary Janes) and Marie (standing with the grumpy face and severe bangs). In the 1910 census, Gladys is listed as Joe’s granddaughter, but whose child is she? In my mother’s notes, she died in 1917, aged 11, of typhoid fever, so this is the only census she appears on. The household at the time is Joe, Martha, Maude and Maggie (both unmarried at age 23), little Gladys, and an Irish boarder named Frank Ellis. Is Gladys one of the twins’ daughter? If so, why isn’t she sitting with her mother? It’s a little mystery I’m working on. As for Marie, well, I don’t know whose child she is either. Could one of these girls belong to the deceased Dulcie, taken in by her mother’s family? Whatever happened to her husband Orion? I do not know. Yet.

Genealogy is great. It’s all about solving mysteries.


~ by glasslajora on December 27, 2011.

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