Several origins have been suggested for the Foster surname, and it is unclear which, if any, is most likely, but all agree that it is an occupational name that can be traced back to at least the 12th century. Our own line, however, can only be traced back to 19th century Wales.
George Foster 1808 - 1864
George was born in Flintshire, Wales, most likely the son of George Foster and Sarah Catherall, though that has yet to be confirmed. Whoever his parents were, they apparently both passed away in 1817, and young George was taken in by an English family named Gibbs. As a young adult, he married Ellen Berry, and the two moved to the United States, likely as part of a Mormon migration, though Ellen was apparently not keen at first. Family history states that she was in fact often bitter about George's new religion, but at some point had a vivid dream that had her demanding to be baptized in the middle of the night. The two had five children, but all died in infancy, and Ellen herself died in 1845.
Upon his wife's death, George decided to return to England to visit the family that had raised him; he and one of the Gibbs' daughters, Hannah, promptly fell in love and were married in 1847. The couple made their way back to the United States, having two daughters while they traveled - the eldest, Sarah, was born in the Black Hills of Missouri, and their second, Ellen, along the Missouri River. They settled in Utah in 1850, and had three more daughters there. Hannah passed away when their youngest daughter was just a year and a half old, leaving George to raise them alone. Shortly thereafter, Brigham Young called for volunteers to create a settlement in Franklin, Idaho, and George was one of the first to volunteer. According to his biography, George, his daughters, and two other families were the first to arrive behind an ox-team. The night they arrived, a terrible blizzard did as well, and, afraid the children would freeze, the men worked hard and fast to create a dug-out shelter, making his daughters and the children of the two other families the first official settlers in Franklin. George went on to become a successful farmer and active church member in Idaho. He passed away in 1864.
Ellen was born in Iowa, while the family was en route from the UK to Utah. Her mother died when she was 8, and her father when she was 14, so it is not hard to understand how she became the third wife of polygamist Alexander Stalker at just 18. Ellen and Alexander had three children during their marriage. It is not known if Ellen simply tired of being a third wife - most records neglect to mention her at all - but by 1878 she was remarried to Henry Woodland, and they went on to have six children of their own. She passed away in Idaho in 1898.