Historically Fort Bend: Randolph Foster
Randolph Foster was an early Old 300 Texas pioneer who made his home on his land grant that straddled northwest Fort Bend County and southwest Waller County. Prior to settling in Austin’s Colony he served under Randal Jones, another of the Old 300, in the War of 1812. Born in Mississippi in 1790, he found himself in Texas not long after his wartime service ended. He explored and hunted throughout much of Texas and even camped for a time in what would be Fort Bend County. In 1821, he helped Stephen F. Austin in one of his early surveying trips in Texas.
In 1824, Randolph Foster received his land grant on some of the same land he had hunted a few years earlier. Soon thereafter, his father John and brother Isaac also joined him in Texas. John’s land grant is not far from Randolph’s on the north side of the Brazos northwest of Rosenberg. After John arrived, he started a school for his family, which became the Foster Community School. Randolph kept this school in operation after his father died in 1837.
Randolph Foster returned to Mississippi in 1828-9 and married Lucy Ruffin Hunter. They returned to Texas and settled on Foster’s land in Fort Bend County. During the Revolution, he helped to supply Sam Houston’s army and aided Wiley Martin in defending the Brazos crossing at Thompson’s Ferry from the Mexicans. The Texians delayed the Mexican army long enough to allow the Texian government time to escape Harrisburg. After this battle, he escorted his family and that of his neighbors as they traveled east during the Runaway Scrape.
Lucy and Randolph Foster had seven children: Isaac, Nancy, Mary L., Lucretia, Caroline, Matilda, and Randolph G. All but Nancy lived to adulthood and married. The Foster plantation flourished in the years after the Revolution, producing rice and sugar cane in the fertile Fort Bend County soil. Settlers moved in around the Foster plantation eventually forming the Foster community four years after Randolph’s death. Lucy Foster died on March 25, 1872 at 72. Randolph Foster died on August 18, 1878 at age 88.
Sowell, A. J. History of Fort Bend County. Houston: W. H. Coyle & Co., 1904. Reprint, Virginia Beach, VA: The Donning Company Publishers, 2014; Spellman, Paul N. Old 300: Gone to Texas. San Bernadino: by the author, 2014; Wharton, Clarence. History of Fort Bend County. San Antonio: The Naylor Company, 1939. Reprint, Austin: Eakin Press/Sunbelt Media Inc., 2001.
Historical facts and photos courtesy of the Fort Bend County Museum Association, Richmond, TX