How to Research your
Foster Family


Pioneer Era

On June 29, 1816, Indiana adopted a constitution, and on December 11, 1816, became the 19th State to join the Union.

Indiana was populated from the Ohio River north. At that time southern Indiana was covered by huge virgin forests. Walnut trees 40 inches (1,000 mm) in diameter and 130 feet (40 m) tall were common. Ancient oaks which had stood since before Columbus arrived were abundant. Migration, mostly from Kentucky and Ohio, was so rapid that by 1820 the population was 147,176, and by 1830 the sales of public lands for the previous decade reached 3,588,000 acres (5,600 sq mi; 14,500 km˛) and the population was 343,031. It had more than doubled since 1820. The first state capital was in the southern Indiana city of Corydon.



Down the Mississippi and its tributaries (the Ohio and Wabash) was to be found the sole outlet for the increasing produce of the Middle West, whose waters drained into the great valley. Districts which were not upon streams navigable by even the lightest draught steamboat were economically handicapped. The small, flat boat was their main reliance. Roads suitable for heavy carriage were few up to the middle of the century. The expense and time attending shipment of merchandise from the east at that time were almost prohibitive. To meet this condition, the building of canals (espoused by the constitution of 1816) was long advocated, in emulation of Ohio which took example after New York State. In 1826, Congress granted a strip two and a half miles wide on each side of the proposed canal. A very extensive and ambitious scale of main and lateral canals and turnpikes was advocated in consequence.

Work began on the Wabash and Erie Canal in 1832, on the Whitewater Canal in 1836, on the Central in 1837. Bad financing and "bad times" nearly wrecked the whole scheme; yet, the Wabash and Erie Canal was completed from Toledo to Evansville. It was a great factor in the development of the state, although it brought heavy loss upon the bondholders with the advent of the railroad. Upon completion, the canal actually increased prices of farm products three or fourfold and reduced prices of household needs 60%, a tremendous stimulus to agricultural development. By 1840, the population of the upper Wabash Valley had increased from 12,000 to 270,000. The canal boat that hauled loads of grain east came back loaded with immigrants. In 1846, it is estimated that over thirty families settled every day in the state.

Manufacturing also developed rapidly. In the ten years between 1840 and 1850, the counties bordering the canal increased in population 397%; those more fertile, but more remote, 190%. The tide of trade, which had been heretofore to New Orleans, was reversed and went east. The canal also facilitated and brought emigration from Ohio, New York, and New England, in the newly established counties in the northern two-thirds of the state. Foreign immigration was mostly from Ireland and Germany. Later, this great canal fell into disuse, and finally was abandoned, as railway mileage increased.

In the next ten years, by 1840, of the public domain 9,122,688 acres (14,250 mi˛; 36,918 km˛) had been sold. But the state was still heavily in debt, although growing rapidly. In 1851 a new constitution (now in force) was adopted. The first constitution was adopted at a convention assembled at Corydon, which had been the seat of government since December, 1813. The original statehouse, built of blue limestone, still stands; but in 1821, the site of the present capital, Indianapolis, was selected by the legislature. It was in the wilds, sixty miles from civilization. By 1910, it was a city of 225,000 inhabitants, and was the largest inland steam and electric railroad center in the United States that was not located on a navigable waterway. No railroad reached it before 1847.

Richard Foster 1820-1835 Indiana
Richard Foster, Civil War

Research coordinator
Jeanette Westcott


Foster DNA Group 28 Uncle Benny
(Glen Herman Foster)
 is Participant #220

Descendants of Richard Foster, born in Indiana 1820-1835

Join our Foster DNA Group to see if you are a genetic cousin sharing a common ancestor.

Historical populations
Census Pop.  %±
1800 2,632  
1810 24,520 831.6%
1820 147,178 500.2%
1830 343,031 133.1%
1840 685,866 99.9%
1850 988,416 44.1%
1860 1,350,428 36.6%
1870 1,680,637 24.5%
1880 1,978,301 17.7%
1890 2,192,404 10.8%
1900 2,516,462 14.8%
1910 2,700,876 7.3%
1920 2,930,390 8.5%
1930 3,238,503 10.5%
1940 3,427,796 5.8%
1950 3,934,224 14.8%
1960 4,662,498 18.5%
1970 5,193,669 11.4%
1980 5,490,224 5.7%
1990 5,544,159 1%
2000 6,080,485 9.7%
Est. 2006



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