The Fosters of Leamington
This, my dears, is Euphemia Maria Foster Delaurier, mother of Grandma Madeline Foster Delaurier Wallace (Grandma often complained that she got stuck with Foster as a middle name. Maybe she would rather have had a girl’s name. But I think it’s great she got such an important name)
Pheme, as she was known was an avid photographer, which is pretty amazing considering that photography was still a very young art when she took it up. She even did her own darkroom work. My sister Lori still has one of her cameras.
The original patriarch and matriarch of Grandma’s family were Ralph and Ann (Wilthew) Foster. Ralph was born December 27, 1795, in the parish of Wardell, County of Durham , son of John Foster of the same parish. Ralph Foster was educated in the parish schools of his native town, and as a young man worked in the mines, principally in the lead mines. Ann, his wife was born on May 16, 1976 in the parish of Hexham.
Shortly after their marriage on April 25, 1817, they embarked for the New World, coming to Nova Scotia, and first settling in Prince Edward Island. Later they returned to Nova Scotia, where GG Grandpa Ralph Foster followed different occupations, and in time returned to New Brunswick, eventually coming to Ontario, and making their way to the County of Essex about 1826, nearly ten years after first arriving on Canadian soil.
“Squire Foster” as he was known, was a local magistrate, justice of the peace and was also active in local politics. It is said in our family that it was he who named the town of Leamington, which wasn’t much more than dense bush when he, Ann and four of their children began farming their 164 acres on the south part of present day Talbot Street.
Ann and Ralph had eight children: Ann, John, Thomas, Matilda, William Henry, Ralph Jr., James White, and George.
James White Foster, born on September 23, 1832 was our great Grandfather. In 1859, James W. married Sarah Jane Derbyshire, daughter of George and Mary Derbyshire (the Derbyshires were also a very large Mersea township family and a couple of the Derbyshires and Fosters of that generation married each other).
His brother, Ralph Jr., was one of the first teachers in the area, having gone all the way to Toronto to get as advanced an education as he could. Ralph Jr. is described in Grandma’s books as “a scholar and a man of refined tastes and culture”.
James W. was a farmer, and an excellent one, I am told. He and Sarah Jane had seven children — George Collingwood; Mary Ann (who married William Wiper); Eliza Matilda (who married George Jackson); (my great grandmother)Euphemia Maria (who married Frederick Delaurier); Rose Ellen (who married Frederick Harrison, a baker in Leamington); Chlora Annie (Chloe, as she was called, married Albert Evans of Mersea Township); and Louis, who died as a baby.
Euphemia Foster Delaurier and Frederick Delaurier had four children — Maurice, who left for Vancouver early in his adult life where he ran a hardware store; Otis, who moved to Hamilton; Madeline (grandma – who became a teacher and then married and lived on a farm on the 4th Concession, Rochester (between Ruscomb and Woodslee) and Edna (Ballard, who worked for H.J. Heinz in Leamington)
And then came five daughters to Madeline and Bill Wallace. And 22 grandchildren. And I haven’t counted how many great grandchildren and great great grandchildren.