Note: !"Pioneer Families of Yamhill County, Oregon", VOL IV pg. 685, compiled by Mrs. Mercedes J. Paul and Mrs. Ralph Van Valin. (A-8)
!Biographical sketch: Family History Dept., Salt Lake City, UT.--Oregon Misc.
1800-1900 sketch 2. (A-63)
!Obituary notice of James Barber Foster. (B-68)
!Bible records: Bible of James Barber Foster, in poss. of Dorothy Melton.
!Biographical sketch of the Foster Family. (B-71)
!Pioneer Index: Oregon Historical Society. (B-72)
Family group record: compiled by Floyd Altimus. (B-73)
!"Portrait and Biographical Record", Chapman Publ. Co., pg. 707.
!"History of Oregon", VOL II pg. 109, by Joseph Gaston.
!"Family Tree of Jesse Cloyd Henderson", author unknown, in poss. of Dorothy
!Obit notice: James Barber Foster. (E-215)
!Bible records: James Barber Foster and Mary O. Peacock. (E-216)
Geneological Sketch--Baker City, Baker, Oregon:
JAMES BARBER FOSTER
In the early spring of 1856 a young man of ninetten summers, living in the open prairie country of Ohio, became imbued with the fever of the Golden West and joined a caravan of many wagons bound for the Oregon Country. He walked across the plains barefooted, driving a team of two yoke of oxen, experiencing the hardships usual to those sturdy pioneers.
One of the many incidents of the trip was experienced by him in the sage brush lands of Idaho. His train had stopped for a day or two in order to rest the stock, and while reconnoitering over the hills quite a few miles from camp he heard the roaring of what appeared to be many waters. He decided to investigate, but the distance to the cataract was greater than he anticipated, and thinking he would surely reach the goal, he kept on and on, but giving up the matter, decided to return to camp and report what he had heard. Just as he turned back to camp he noticed what he took to be a coyote, but which proved to be an Indian dog, for a Redskin was hiding behind some rocks, and thinking the young man had seen him shot with his bow, and arrow ledged in the young man's belt. He was fleet of foot it was not long until he reached camp with the arrow still sticking in his belt. He kept the arrow for many years as a momento of his narrow escape. He afterward learned that the roaring sound he heard was the Shoshonne Falls on Snake River.
He was headed for the Willamette Valley in Oregon, and finally settled near McMinnville, where he graduated from McMinnville College, married, and began farming, but the thirst for gold and the desire to follow the mining excitement was too much for the young man and he went from one gold rush to another, taking his young family with him.
He was in the Florence, Idaho mining excitement, where several thousand people had gathered, as they did in the early days at Auburn, Oregon. Everything went well with him for a time, but all of the sudden gold was discovered in Boise Basin, and within three days Florence was deserted; everyone had made a mad rush for Boise Basin, taking provisions and all. The ground was deeply covered with snow and no transportation. Having his family with him, and without money or provisions, he was in a real dilema. To stay there was to starve, he and his family.
The thought struck him to go to the headquarters of Rev. Henry Spaulding, a missionary, some fifteen or twenty miles distant, and making a toboggan about eight feel long and quite narrow, in which he could pack his scant belongings, leaving a place for his two babies, for he had four children at this time, he made some rope harness, hitching himself up like a horse, and started out on the trip to the mission; his wife following and helping to guie the tobaggan, with the other two little boys walking behind in the trail.
After pulling the sled amny miles he decided to leave the family with the sled and go on ahead to see Rev. Spaulding; get a few provisions, return to his family and make a temporary camp for the night. The Spaulding headquarters consisted of a small old log house of one room. The door was ajar, so he rapped, and getting no response, he rapped again and peeped in. The second rapping had arused this very generous missionary, to whom the Government had sent provisions to be given to the Indians. The missionary had been asleep but he was awakened and asked what was wanted. The young man explained his plight, going into detail, but the missionary who was sent out west to spread the gospel of the Lowly Nazarene, raised upon his elbow and drawled out these comforting words These provisions have been sent here for the Indians. I am told thee is good fishing down the creek."
The young man looked at the missionary for a moment or two, controlling the impulse to use the Henry rifle strapped to his back and to send this would be man of God to his happy hunting ground, turned on his heel, slammed the shanty door and returned to his family, discouraged and disgusted. In the meantime, two Indian savages of the west, out hunting for wild game, chanced to pass in that vicinity and seeing this little family by the wayside, made inquiry as to the cause. The woman understood the Redmen for she could speak their language. She explained the circumstances and told them where her husband had gone. They shrugged their shoulders and very plainly made it known to her that it was useless to appeal to Spaulding for assistance. He was lazy and "cultas" (the Indian word for no good). The savages offered shelter and a division of their supplies which proffer was gladly accepted. Which of these, my friends, thinkest thou was the true neighbor? This young man (afterward a Baptist minister) remained a number of years around the Indians and taught them many lessons from the White man's book.
Years afterward this man was a currier or scout, carrying messages between the different troops during the Nez Perce and Bannock Indian wars of 1878 and "79, and he could relate many incidents that occured which were very interesting, one of which is here mentioned.
While on one of his currier trips he saw what he thought were three Indians on horseback, and to avoid them he turned down a ravine, but too late, for they also saw him, and gave chase. They chased him for five miles and were gaining on him, when he reached the bank of the Snake River. He jumped down the bak, dismounted, leaving his horse in the brush, ran back to the bak to make what he supposed would be his last stand, but when the riders came within gun range, he saw they were cowboys/ They also had mistaken him for an Indian.
His life had been spent chasing the rainbow, as it were, by following the gold rushes from camp to camp, and in his declining years he said that he was like old Major, the dog he owned in his youth, who when just a pup would delight in playing with the bugs and ants, but as he grew older the squirrels and rabbits took his attention and still older, he would pay no attention to the squirrel and rabbit, but it was the lynx, wildcat, bear and tiger he wanted to hunt, but as old Father Time began to tighten his grip around him, he came back to the rabbit and squirrel and finally would paw again at the bug and the little ant.
He said his greatest joy now would be to scratch in the sand and gravel on the hillside, knowing that it availed nothing, but he was nearer to Mother Earth.
(A short but true synopsis on the life of James Barber Foster, born in Iowa, January 9, 1837, died in Boise, Idaho, October 1
NEWSPAPER CLIPPING FOUND IN FOSTER BIBLE:
EARLY DAY CHURCH WORK RE-CALLED
FATHER OF GEO. H. FOSTER OF THIS CITY, ONE OF FIRST MISSIONARIES
The files of the Idaho Statesman of 50 years ago records the following interesting item:
"Elder J. B. Foster, Baptist minister from Powder River, Ore. arrived in town night before last. He is spoken of as an excellent preacher and has been holding meetings in the Weiser and Payette and Boise valleys and has waked up a lively interest in behalf of religion wherever he has been."
Rev. Foster, father of George H. Foster, prominent resident of this city, was one of the first ministers of the gospel to do missionary work in Baker county and as located for a time with his family on a farm near Wingville, one of the first townsites in Powder river valley it was thought would become the principal town of the valley. With the change of county seat from Auburn to Baker, in 1868, the town of Wingville, and Pocahontas lost prestige and faded out.
Rev. Foster loabored in the role of missionary here several years, did zealous work and was beloved by all who knew him. He and his family later moved to Boise and became a part of the early day uplift and development of that state, then a territory, Rev. Foster serving in a number of public capacities with unusual ability.
RootsWeb.com is NOT responsible for the content of the GEDCOMs uploaded through the WorldConnect Program. The creator of each GEDCOM is solely responsible for its content.