How to Research your
Missouri Foster Family

Missouri

Originally part of the 1803 Louisiana Purchase, Missouri was admitted as a slave state in 1821 as part of the Missouri Compromise. It earned the nickname "Gateway to the West" because it served as a departure point for settlers heading to the west. It was the starting point and the return destination of the Lewis and Clark Expedition. River traffic and trade along the Mississippi was integral to the state's economy. To try to control flooding, by 1860 the state had completed construction of 140 miles (230 km) of levees on the Mississippi.

The state was site of the epicenter of the New Madrid earthquake in 1811-12, possibly the most massive earthquake in the United States since the founding of the country. Casualties were light due to the sparse population.

Originally the state's western border was a straight line, defined as the meridian passing through the Kawsmouth, the point where the Kansas River enters the Missouri River. The river has moved since this designation. This line is known as the Osage Boundary. In 1835 the Platte Purchase was added to the northwest corner of the state after purchasing the land from the native tribes, making the Missouri River the border north of the Kansas River. This addition made what was already the largest state in the Union at the time (about 66,500 square miles (172,000 km˛) to Virginia's 65,000 square miles (which included West Virginia at the time) even larger.

As many of the early settlers in western Missouri migrated from the Upper South, they brought along enslaved African Americans and a desire to continue their culture and the institution of slavery. They settled predominately in 17 counties along the Missouri River, in an area of flatlands that enabled plantation agriculture and became known as "Little Dixie". In the early 1830s, Mormon migrants from northern states and Canada began settling near Independence and areas just north of there. Conflicts over slavery and religion arose between the 'old settlers' (mainly from the South) and the Mormons (mainly from the North and Canada). The 'Mormon War' erupted. By 1839 settlers expelled the Mormons from Missouri.

Conflicts over slavery exacerbated border tensions among the states and territories. In 1838-1839 a border dispute with Iowa over the so-called Honey Lands resulted in both states' calling up militias along the border. After many incidents with Kansans crossing the western border for attacks (including setting a fire in the historic Westport area of Kansas City), a border war erupted between Missouri and Kansas.

From the 1830s to the 1860s, Missouri's population almost doubled with every decade. Most of the newcomers were Americans, but many Irish and German immigrants arrived in the late 1840s and 1850s. Having fled famine, oppression and revolutionary upheaval, they were not sympathetic to slavery.

Most Missouri farmers practiced subsistence farming. The majority of those who held slaves had fewer than 5 each. Planters, defined by historians as those holding 20 or more slaves, were concentrated in the counties known as "Little Dixie", in the central part of the state along the Missouri River. The tensions over slavery had chiefly to do with the future of the state and nation. In 1860 enslaved African Americans made up less than 10% of the state's population of 1,182,012.

After the secession of Southern states began, the Missouri legislature called for the election of a special convention on secession. The convention voted decisively to remain within the Union. Pro-Southern Governor Claiborne F. Jackson ordered the mobilization of several hundred members of the state militia who had gathered in a camp in St. Louis for training. Alarmed at this action, Union General Nathaniel Lyon struck first, encircling the peaceful camp and forcing the state troops to surrender. Lyon then directed his soldiers, largely non-English-speaking German immigrants, to march the prisoners through the streets, and opened fire on the largely hostile crowds of civilians who gathered around them. Soldiers killed unarmed prisoners as well as men, women and children of St. Louis in the incident that became known as the "St. Louis Massacre."

These events heightened Confederate support within the state. Governor Jackson appointed Sterling Price, president of the convention on secession, as head of the new Missouri State Guard. In the face of General Lyon's rapid advance in the state, Jackson and Price were forced to flee the capital of Jefferson City on June 14, 1861. In the town of Neosho, Missouri, Jackson called the state legislature into session. They enacted a secession ordinance, recognized by the Confederacy on October 30, 1861.

With the elected governor absent from his capital and the legislators largely dispersed, Union forces installed an unelected pro-Union provisional government with Hamilton Gamble as provisional governor. President Lincoln's Administration immediately recognized Gamble's government as the legal government. This decision provided both pro-Union militia forces for service within the state and volunteer regiments for the Union Army.

Fighting ensued between Union forces and a combined army of General Price's Missouri State Guard and Confederate troops from Arkansas and Texas under General Ben McCulloch. After winning victories at the battle of Wilson's Creek and the siege of Lexington, Missouri and suffering losses elsewhere, the Confederate forces had little choice but to retreat to Arkansas and later Marshall, Texas, in the face of a largely reinforced Union Army.

Though regular Confederate troops staged some large-scale raids into Missouri, the fighting in the state for the next three years consisted chiefly of guerrilla warfare. "Citizen soldiers" such as Colonel William Quantrill, Frank and Jesse James, the Younger brothers, and William T. Anderson made use of quick, small-unit tactics. Pioneered by the Missouri Partisan Rangers, such insurgencies also arose in other portions of the Confederacy occupied during the Civil War. Recently historians have assessed the James brothers' outlaw years as continuing guerrilla warfare after the official war was over.

In 1930, there was a diphtheria epidemic in the area around Springfield which killed approximately 100 people. Serum was rushed to the area and stopped the epidemic.

During the mid-1950s and 1960s, St. Louis suffered deindustrialization and loss of jobs in railroads and manufacturing as did other major industrial cities. At the same time highway construction made it easy for middle-class residents to leave the city for newer housing in the suburbs. The city has gone through decades of readjustment to developing a different economy. Suburban areas have developed separate job markets, both in knowledge industries and services, such as major retail malls.

Terry Jay Foster

Research coordinator
Terry Jay Foster Jr.,
e-mail
Foster
DNA Group 7

Participant #203

Kansas City, Missouri

My primary focus on Foster's is in the Counties of Benton, Henry & St. Clair prior to 1850.

Personal Website

 

 

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Historical populations

Census

Pop.

 %±

1810

19,783

1820

66,586

236.6%

1830

140,455

110.9%

1840

383,702

173.2%

1850

682,044

77.8%

1860

1,182,012

73.3%

1870

1,721,295

45.6%

1880

2,168,380

26%

1890

2,679,185

23.6%

1900

3,106,665

16%

1910

3,293,335

6%

1920

3,404,055

3.4%

1930

3,629,367

6.6%

1940

3,784,664

4.3%

1950

3,954,653

4.5%

1960

4,319,813

9.2%

1970

4,676,501

8.3%

1980

4,916,686

5.1%

1990

5,117,073

4.1%

2000

5,595,211

9.3%

Est. 2006


5,842,713


4.4
%

 

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Early Tax Lists  Census  Marriage  Wills / Land  Resources


Missouri County Map
Click on Maps to ENLARGE
Missouri 1888 Railroad Map
1888 Railroad Map of Missouri

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