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Re: Grandfather Ben SADLER ?
In Response To: Re: Grandfather Ben SADLER ? ()

Obituary for Emerline’s mother, Corinne Tate Foster, (Baton Rouge) Advocate, October 19, 1954:


Died Saturday, Oct. 16, at Our Lady of the Lake Hospital. She was 69 and a native of East Baton Rouge Parish. She was the daughter of the late Elie and Emerline Tate. The body will rest at Scotts Bluff Funeral Home with religious services scheduled for 2 p.m., Tuesday, October 19, at the Little Rock Baptist Church. Burial will be in Plank Rd. Cemetery. She is survived by her husband Ben Foster; two sons, Ben and Samuel, both of Baton Rouge; seven daughters, Emeline Saddler Tate [sic], Henrietta Costley, Mary Lee Morris, Picola Floyd, Henrietta Curry, Pearl Drwey [sic], and Corinne Valerie, all of Baton Rouge; three sisters, Rachel Cox, Edna Mott, and Della Hampton; two brothers, Eli Tate of Baton Rouge and Henry Tate of Greenville, Miss. She was the mother of 12 children, 52 grandchildren, and 19 great grandchildren.

Eli Tate died in East Baton Rouge Parish on October 26, 1916, at the age of 65. I have not been able to locate an obituary for him, but his death certificate can be ordered from the Louisiana State Archives for $5.00. Go here:

Click on “Advanced Search” – type in “Tate” and “Ely” – please note that his name is spelled with a “y” on his death certificate. Ordering instructions are on the website. (Or if you still live in Baton Rouge you can just go to the State Archives.) There is a good possibility (although not a certainty) that his death certificate will list the names of his parents.

Emeline Tate died in East Baton Rouge Parish on July 1, 1920. I have been unable to locate an obituary for her. Now, here is where it gets confusing.

On December 10, 1886, the Advocate published the following:

The clerk of the district court has issued a marriage license to the following persons since our last report:
Ely Tate and Emelia Allen.

It is established from the census that Ely and Emeline had a daughter named Isabelle. Isabelle predeceased her sister Corinne and is therefore not listed as a survivor in Corinne’s obituary, but here is an extract of her death record, which confirms that Emeline’s maiden name was Allen:

However, here is an extract of Emeline Tate’s own death record, listing her father’s name as Jack Johnson:

More research is required to hopefully shed light on this mystery.

I have been unable to locate an obituary for Ben Foster, but he died on February 23, 1956, at the age of 78. I highly recommend that you order his death certificate as well, using the procedure outlined above, because it will hopefully confirm the “educated guess” that I make below. (BTW, there is another Benjamin Foster who died in East Baton Rouge Parish in 1966, but I located his obituary and was able to eliminate him – he had only resided in EBR for 6 years and his children had different names.)

Now, assuming that Ben was born in East Baton Rouge Parish – which is the guess that I am making and why his death certificate and the input of other researchers on this board would be incredibly helpful – there is only one possibility on the 1880 census:

If this is correct, then his parents are Ely and Harriet Foster. I can’t find Harriet or children in the 1870 census, but I can find Eli with his mother Celeste:

During Reconstruction, Eli established a bank account with the Freedman’s Bank, listing his parents and a few of his siblings:

But prior to that, he served with the US Colored Troops. I cannot find him or his family on the 1860 census, so I do not believe that they were free people of color. Eli, along with his brothers Gabe (who survived), Samuel and Mike (both of whom died in the war) all joined the 50th Regiment on July 20, 1863, in Natchez, MS. Eli joined under the name “Elijah Foster” and it is noted that he deserted at Vicksburg. However, an “Eli Foster” shows up with the 58th Regiment with no enlistment record, so I believe that he got separated from his regiment in the chaos that was Vicksburg and ended up with the 58th. His widow Harriet was granted a widow’s government pension for his service in 1893, which would not have been done had he been a deserter. If you have an Ancestry subscription, you can view his military record here:

Harriet applied for a widow’s pension here:

You can apply for a copy of the pension file from the National Archives. Sometimes these can have extraordinary amounts of personal information!

We know that Eli’s parents were named William J. Foster and Celeste. Either (or both) of these may be potential children, so it is possible that Celeste’s maiden name might be Butler or Claiborne:

Celeste Foster died on July 16, 1918. (I highly encourage you to order her death certificate as well). And there is one final research present from her!

From the (Baton Rouge) State Times, July 19, 1918:

Here’s A Memorable Record-Breaker

105 Years Old, 200 Descendants, Survivor of Five Wars, Old Colored Mammy Passes Away

Not many bona fide Methusalehs live in these fast 20th century days, who have passed the century mark themselves and seen several generations of descendants.

But here is a case in the parish of East Baton Rouge where an old colored mammy, or rather great-great-grandmammy, has probably surpassed any previous record.

Celeste Foster, who spent her long life on the plantation now belonging to (either Lee or Leo? – difficult to read) Kleinpeter has just died in her 106th year. She, therefore, came into this world just about the time of the second war with England; was grown when the great excitement of the stars falling spread through the world in 1833; was a mother during the Mexican war, a grandmother at the time of the civil war, a great-grandmother during the Spanish American fracas, and died a great-great-grandmother, not being able to survive the greatest of all wars.

But that is not all. This notable oldest citizen reared ten children during all these troublous times, who presented her with 34 grandchildren, who in their turn added 151 to the colored population of East Baton Rouge, all of whom were great-grandchildren of Celeste Foster. And a fourth generation of five great-great-grandchildren were at her deathbed.

In other words, the world is 200 human beings richer by reason of the birth in 1813 of Celeste Foster, whose multiplying seed will by another century, according to the same proportion, be increased to the tremendous number of 83,000 souls – enough to defy the Kaiser himself in battle array.

18 Dec 2002 :: 14 Nov 2008
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