My Beloved Wife Mary and My Two Daughters

Screen shot of Frederick FOSTER’s will.

To support my genealogy habit, I’m a teacher by day. This week was spring break week and it was much needed this year. On Thursday and Friday my husband and I took small day trips to get in some genealogy time. On Friday we went to Mt. Vernon, Missouri, and my mom went with us. We went to research Charles SEELY and his father-in-law, Frederick FOSTER. Both families were living in Lawrence County, Missouri, in the 1850’s and 1860’s. We enjoyed our time together and were able to find a couple of documents while there. This blog post examines what we found- a marriage certificate for Charles SEELY and Sintha FOSTER and a record of a will and probate for Frederick FOSTER.


Death- especially one’s own death- has a way of cutting through to the heart of a matter (or a life). Being faced with one’s own mortality causes a whole new mindset that others who haven’t done the same cannot understand. And sometimes in life, no matter how hard we try, we end up having favorites- and more importantly, showing favorites. I’m not sure in this case if Frederick FOSTER was showing favorites or if, after coming face to face with his own mortality, he was just disposing of his possessions in such a way as to meet everyone’s needs the best he could.


I work with a teacher and she is constantly telling the students, “Fair is NOT everyone getting the same thing. Fair is everyone getting what they NEED.” I love that. I’d like to think that was what Frederick was doing- being fair to everyone- meeting everyone’s needs the best he could at that time. (But then, as I’ve said before- we always want to think our ancestors were the nicest people rather than face the fact that some of them were NOT.) Having said that, here is a transcription of what his will says.

Will of Frederick Foster, Deceased
State of Missouri, Lawrence County,
“This being my last will and testament
Know all men by these Presents that I Frederick Foster; that I give and bequeath unto my beloved wife Mary Foster, my household and kitchen Furniture her lifetime or widowhood, and after her death to my two daughters Nancy L. Foster and Sarah E. Foster, I also give and bequeath unto my wife her lifetime or widowhood and at her death to my two daughters Nancy L. Foster and Sarah E. Foster, one forty acres of land with a Premson (?) on it; and also four acres of land where my house Stands, offen my eighty acre peace, I give and bequeath unto my wife and two daughters two cows and calves to wit: Nancy L. Foster and Sarah E. Foster. I give and bequeath unto my wife and two daughters one hundred dollars to wit: Nancy L. Foster and Sarah E. Foster.
“I give and bequeath unto the rest of my children the remainder of my Estate to wit: my cows and land, horses, notes and money if any to wit: Martha Stephens, Jemima Foster, Jane Paige, Susannah Bundy, Elizabeth Hicks, Cynthia Sealy, Mary Weldy, Delila Anderson I want them to hold after my death and all my just debts are paid, this being my last Will and Testament, and I hereby set my name and seal,
“Given under my hand this 27th day of February 1863.
“Frederick Foster (his mark)

“Testes.: Henry Johnson (his mark)
John Anderson (his mark)”

As you can see, his daughters were married except Nancy and Sarah so I would like to think that is why they received more than the others. I’m waiting on the probate record so we can learn more about this family at this time in their lives. Until then, you can think this one over and come to your own conclusions. (And by the way, Mary FOSTER’s maiden name was BURNETT- in case you want to research on your own. The John Anderson who witnessed the will was Frederick’s son-in-law who was married to Delila. John and Frederick seemed to have a close relationship.)

I Give and Bequeath Unto My Children…Cynthia Sealy

Frederick FOSTER’s daughter, Sintha SEELY (her first and last names are spelled many ways), married Charles SEELY on 15 October 1845 in Lawrence County, Missouri. They were married by Presiding Judge Joseph SCHOOLING. Theirs was one of the first marriages officially recorded in the county. This was also the other record we found on our visit. Sometimes women are hard to find and while I already knew about Sintha, this is just one more official record connecting her to her husband and her father. Old records are generally based upon the male’s transactions and activities so connecting a woman to the men in her life is very important when looking at older records.

SEELY-FOSTER marriage certificate.


While we were in Lawrence County, Missouri, on Friday we found some other miscellaneous information but I’m still looking through all that so maybe another time I will post on that information.

Until then,
Lisa @ Days of Our Lives

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