Plantation Homes Fort Worth
Henry Ancell (Harry) Foster
Henry Ancell (Harry) Foster was born July 18, 1814, in Tennessee. When he was still young, Harry’s family moved to Wilkerson County, Mississippi, where the Fosters became prominent business and plantation owners.
By the time of his marriage to the wealthy Martha Ann Davis on February 9, 1836, young Harry had moved to Madison County, Mississippi, where he was associated with the merchandising firm of Joseph A. Foster. He and Martha established themselves as members of the "planter class" in the thriving community of Vernon.
Martha Ann, born December 8, 1815, was the daughter of Lewis Davis and his wife, Polly Thomas Davis of West Louisiana. Martha was one of the heirs to her father's large estate in the Thompson Creek area.
Six children were born to the Fosters while they resided in Madison County:
Harry Foster, along with other relatives, made several trips into the new Republic of Texas shortly after it claimed independence from Mexico in 1836. Like many pioneers of that era, they came in search of the finest cotton land. The trips culminated with the Fosters’ 500 acre purchase in Milam County on January 1, 1850.
Family documents indicate that Foster sent a plantation work force to Milam County after his 1850 land purchase. Although the exact date of the family's move is not known, a letter dated January 22, 1853, which the Fosters received at the Post Office in Port Sullivan, indicates the family, accompanied by their eighteen slaves, and the R. J. Davis family, made the long wagon trip to their new homes in Texas in the latter part of 1852.
The family continued to add to their acreage, and by 1855 Foster had purchased and erected a gin where he ginned and baled cotton for shipment to San Antonio and Galveston. Despite facing many hardships and uncertainties in the new state of Texas, the Fosters became prominent in their community.
Martha Foster died in 1870 and was buried in the small family cemetery hidden in a deeply wooded area within sight of the log home that they built in the early 1850s. Harry A. Foster continued to live in the house with his bachelor son William Henry, until his death on November 19, 1891. He was buried next to his wife. Obelisk shaped stones mark both of their graves.
The Log Cabin Village preserves copies of Foster family letters. They give an interesting glimpse of the Foster family life and offer insight into the settlement of Texas, the Civil War, slavery, and everyday life in nineteenth century Texas. These letters are part of the Research Collection.
THE FOSTER SLAVES
played an important role in the economy of Texas all the way through the . After the war, many of the freed men and women attempted to start a new life. However, many of them stayed on as sharecroppers or servants of the families they had served for years. Many slaves remained where they were because of the lack of other opportunities.
Unfortunately, little is known of the Foster slaves except that they were heavily depended on to run the plantation. Two of them, who were referred to as “Uncle Jeff, ” who had come from Mississippi with the Fosters as a teenager, and “Aunt Molly, ” remained with the Foster family well past the twentieth century. Aunt Molly had moved with the Fosters from Mississippi when she was sixteen years old. She raised four generations of Fosters. In 1934, she died at age 101.