Biography of Foster, Randolph
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In regard to the death of Mr. Foster, the following was published in the Galveston News in August, 1878:
Richmond, August 27th. “Editors News:
“To enable you to see what a mistake you made in your issue of 25th instant, in your extract from the “Four Counties,” I enclose both what you said and the obituary of Randolph Foster, which by mistake you convert into an obituary of T. M. Blakely, his son-in-law, at whose home Mr. Foster died.
“Randolph Foster, as may be seen by the very terse and beautiful obituary as published in the Four Counties, which would have been perfect had it been extended sufficiently to have presented `Uncle Ran’ to all admirers of true goodness and true manhood, just as he was known to those of us “has privilege it has been to know him personally, for so many long years, was no ordinary man. His character was one of a most unusual and marked type. Nature seems to have constituted him out of the very best materials of which pioneers are made.
“The solitude of the forest, with its wild, ferocious tenants, its rivers, teeming with fish and reptiles, the dangers, trials and hardships incident to extreme frontier life; all those had no terrors for him. On the contrary, he seemed to have had a strong and natural love for all these, and to have courted companionship with them with the same zeal with which he shunned and loathed the hollow-heartedness, the hypocrisy, frivolities and the arts of fashionable life, as so often witnessed. New Year’s Day, 1821, found Randolph Foster in the camp of Stephen F. Austin and party, in the capacity of ‘deer hunter,’ on the banks of the creek which has since been known as `New Tear’s Creek,’ in Washington County, Texas. For many years prior to this he was in the habit of taking his horse and gun as his sole companions, and leaving his home in Mississippi, to spend months in roaming, hunting and camping out, in what is now the State of Arkansas.
Finally, these pleasure strips were extended to Texas. It was during one of these that, in 1819, he made his camp, for a time at a beautiful point eight miles north of Richmond, and within two miles of the spot where he afterwards settled and lived for half a century, and where he finally ended his long and peaceful life, on the 18th inst. It was doubtless during one of these trips that, in 1820, he fell in with Stephen F. Austin, and became his ‘deer hunter,’ and went with him to San Antonio. He became one of Austin’s 300 colonists, and on obtaining his grant of land, he selected it where it would include his old camping ground. In 1827 he returned to Mississippi and married a Miss Lucy Hunter. With his bride he returned to Texas and settled down upon the spot where he and `Aunt Lucy’ lived so long and happily, surrounded by all the home comforts, with doors always open to all comers, and a hospitality unbounded. In 1872 ‘Aunt Lucy’ died. The magnet which for so many years had held ‘Uncle Ran’ so quietly in the home circle was now removed from him, and again his native migratory instincts seem to have, to some extent at least, reasserted their power over him. During the last five or six years of his life he was in the habit of mounting his horse and going for weeks at a time through distant counties of the State, seldom or never sleeping in a house. For some time past his rifle did not accompany him and his horse, as formerly the film of age had so clustered about his eves that they refused to draw the bead on the game as of old in its stead his fishing tackle became a constant traveling companion.
During the present year, when more extended trips had, owing to rapidly increasing infirmity, become impossible, the lakes and streams near his home received almost daily visits from ‘Uncle Ran’ and his horse, and seldom or never failed to yield bountifully to his ‘stock and store.’
“Above I have aimed to give others at least a glimpse of the character and habits of Randolph Foster, who lived so long a life, in times of great changes and trials, without ever having made an enemy, and who died calmly, without leaving behind him a better or purer man on earth.
“He was born on the 12th day of March, A. D.1790. Died August 18th, 1878.
I am yours truly, “Q. S. S.”