Benjamin FOSTER, who, with the exception of a brief period of two years, has resided continuously on his present farm on section 29, Evans township, since 1872, was born in Hopewell township, Marshall county, Illinois, July 21, 1844. He is a son of Joshua FOSTER, who was born near Columbus, Ohio, March 21, 1821, and passed away on the 3d of May, 1895, at the venerable age of seventy-four years. He devoted his time and energies to farming through a busy and useful life and in 1836 became a resident of Fulton county, Illinois, the family home being established near Fairview. At that early day he drove cattle across the country to the markets with his father. In the early '40s he came to Marshall county and cast in his lot with its pioneer settlers, aiding in its development from a wild prairie district into one of the rich agricultural sections of this great state. At the same time he prospered in his own business affairs and became the owner of extensive and valuable landed interests. He was married to Miss Betsy BRUMSEY, a sister of Nathan BRUMSEY and a native of North Carolina, born near Elizabeth City, August 8, 1825. They were married April 23, 1843. Their old homestead is now owned by Jacob STONER. John FOSTER, an uncle of our subject, lived at the end of the dyke that runs through the bottom land from the Henry bridge to the foothills in Hopewell township and this place is now owned by Samuel HOLMES. The name of FOSTER became closely associated with the pioneer development and progress of the county and Joshua FOSTER was one of the most respected and honored as well as most prosperous citizens of his community. His family numbered eight children, of whom Benjamin is the eldest. Edward, born August 13, 1846, was married July 10, 1873, to Mary RUTAN and died March 12, 1881; Lewis J., born March 18, 1851, was married August 29, 1875, to Laura MALONE and is now engaged in farming in Iowa. Albert, born July 31, 1852, is a retired farmer living at Saunemin, Livingston county, Illinois. George, born June 9, 1855, and now a retired farmer living in Evans township, was married in 1882 to Martha ALJOE, who died in 1888, and in March, 1906, he wedded Carrie McLAUGHLIN. James, born December 15, 1858, is engaged in general agricultural pursuits in Roberts township, Marshall county. Walter, born October 31, 1860, is also living in Roberts township. Wilbur S., born July 23, 1862, and now living at Saunemin, Livingston county, was married October 1, 1889, to Eva MALONE.
Reared in his parents' home, Benjamin FOSTER early became familiar with farm work. He began his education in the winter of 1854-5 in a school which was supported by contribution from residents of the neighborhood. He afterward attended the Fairview school in Roberts township and later was a student in the Wenona school in 1867. The occupation to which he was reared he chose as a life work and began farming on his own account in Evans township, Marshall county, on section 29. There he lived for four years, after which he removed to the place which is now his home, taking up his abode here March 1, 1872. This has been his place of residence continuously since with the exception of two years, from December 20, 1898, until February 26, 1901, spent in Toluca, Illinois. He still owns property in Toluca, while his farm comprises eighty acres of rich and arable land. He is now carefully conducting the work of the fields and has a good property, well developed.
On the 17th of October, 1867, Mr. FOSTER was united in marriage to Miss Adelaide GREEN, who was born in England, May 3, 1849, and was brought to America when only six months old by her parents, Mathias and Mary Ann GREEN, who settled upon a farm in Evans township, Marshall county. Both passed away, however, in 1852, dying during the cholera epidemic of that year. Mrs. FOSTER was thus early left an orphan. She was reared in this county and attended the Center school. In the family were thirteen children, but only four are now living, the others being George Roberts, who resides in Mitchell county, Kansas, where he follows farming; Mathias O. GREEN, who is engaged in farming in Pettis county, Missouri; and Mrs. Mahala DOVENSPIKE, who resides in Libertyville, Iowa.
Unto Mr. and Mrs. FOSTER have been born a son and daughter. Thomas, born January 15, 1870, is living with his father and operates the home farm. He has also had charge of a threshing outfit each year since 1895. The daughter, Minnie, born June 30, 1873, is the wife of Alexander KENNEDY, of Evans township, and they have one child, Irene Bell, born March 26, 1895. Mr. FOSTER has been a life-long resident of this county, his connection therewith covering a period of more than six decades, and his memory goes back to the time when there were various evidences of pioneer life still to be seen here, for the prairie was largely uncultivated and covered with its native grasses. Rapid settlement, however, soon wrought a transformation and the FOSTER family have borne their full share in the work of agricultural development, of which Benjamin FOSTER is now a representative.
Extracted July 2011 by Norma Hass from Past and Present of Marshall and Putnam Counties Illinois, 1907.
Benjamin Foster died Jan. 13, 1916, at 72 years of age.
Contributed 08 Mar 2016 by Mark Durham, Great (X2) Grandson of Benjamin Foster.
Portraits contributed 10 Mar 2016 by Mark Durham