Why would we be interested in a man who lived only 30 years, long ago? First, he's an ancestor. Second, his line ties in to that of Miles Standish and Edward Doty, two passengers on the Mayflower. Third, he served in the Revolutionary War. Fourth, he died just three weeks after receiving a pension. Fifth, he is also the ancestor of the late Supreme Court Associate Justice Harry Blackmun, who served on the Supreme Court from 1970-1994, so we would, for better or worse, be distant cousins to him.
For a man of such importance to the family, there is not much information about him, and some of that is contradictory. He was born April 10, 1759 perhaps in Western, now Warren, Worcester County, Massachusetts, to Nathan Foster Jr. and Elizabeth Lunsford or Lansford. Some sources state he is born in Stafford, Tolland County, Connecticut; until I find proof one way or the other, I'm willing to leave his birth place as "unknown." He was one of at least nine children.
He would have been sixteen years of age when he joined Captain Josiah Putnam's Co. of Colonel Jedediah Foster's Regiment, to march on the alarm at Lexington. That service lasted just 8 days, and when he returned to enlisted in Captain John Grainger's Company of Colonel Learned's Regiment, and served three months, 1 week, and one day. He was also on a payroll return dated October 7, 1775. Next we find that he had enlisted January 1, 1776 in Jonathan Danforth's Company, Colonel Asa Whitcomb's regiment, and was shown as sick in hospital at Camp Ticonderoga. His service at that time lasted 10 months and 26 days. He recovered and was shown on Captain Daniel Gilbert's Compny, Colonel Job Cushings reiment, from July 13,1777 to September2,1777, a total of one month and four days, service at Bennington. There was another 3 months of service in Captain Thomas Whipple's Co, Colonel Abijah Stearns regiment, from March 30 to July 2, 1778, serving three months and three days "guarding Convention troops."
Somewhere probably following this last service, he married Sarah Goodenough (Goodenow, Goodnow). She is reported as being from Princeton, Massachusetts, which was near the towns of Paxton and Western. They appear to have settled in Paxton, also near Princeton, but there is a possibility that they also lived in Rowe, which was more to the north and west of Paxton. They had at least four daughters. Sally and Polly are sometimes shown as Sally/Polly, but I think these were two different girls. The others were Lydia, Judith, and Betsey. Sarah died sometime before Jude's death, because at the time of his death he was married to "Lydia M." It's not clear who she was nor how long they were married, but generally the children, except perhaps for Lydia, are thought to be Sarah's. Proof at this point is lacking.
Since Jude was awarded a pension in 1789, this indicates that he was an invalid and unable to earn a living. Unfortunately, it seems that the records from that time period were destroyed or at least are unable to be located, so we are left guessing. Did he have injuries, or was it a debilitating illness such as consumption (tuberculosis) that killed him at such a young age? He had served his state and country for over a year, at least some of that time under very difficult conditions (Ticonderoga comes to mind), and any of several conditions could have caused his death. He died March 28,1789, about 2 weeks before his thirtieth birthday.
I've not found a will or a true inventory for Jude, but I did locate partial probate records on AmericanAncestors.org. His administrator was his brother Joel. His assets totaled $364.90 and his debts, which were many, totaled $267.95. That would have left the widow with very little to live on. Jude's main assets were land in Paxton and in Rowe, which had been sold by order of the court, and also $31.67 owed in back pension from the United States. I need to trace the men who owed him money and the men to whom he owed money. One name in the list that leaps out at me is "David Goodenough", who I'm hoping could be Sarah's brother or father. (I don't know who Sarah is, at the moment, and I'd love to place her with her family.)
Lydia was still alive in 1801, but that is the last I could find of her. She apparently raised her daughters, or perhaps set them out as servants or apprentices, but they married and had families of their own. Jude and his wives must have done something right, besides Jude's sacrifices for his country.
I have clues to follow up from the probate records. I need to find where his land was, and why he owned land in Rowe. I need to locate birth records, which so far have eluded me and I need to trace the people named in the probate records, to see if any of them lead to Sarah's family. I'd also like to know how Jude supported his young family following the war, if he was able to work at all. I think I would have liked this man, and I certainly honor him now for his service to his country and to his family.
If some one reading this can answer any of my questions, I'd love to hear from you. Jude's full story needs to be found, and told. Please contact me via comments or at happygenealogydancingATgmailDOTcom. You'll know what to do with the AT and the DOT.
The line of descent is:
Jude Foster-Sally Goodenow (probably)
Betsey Foster-Josiah Whittemore
Mary Elizabeth Whittemore-Joseph R Holbrook
Fremont Holbrook-Phoebe Brown
Loren Holbrook-Etta Stanard
Gladys Holbrook-Richard Allen