Robert Foster, was born in Abbeville (Old 96 District), South Carolina in 1785. Robert came to Randolph County in 1808. He arrived on horseback with John Anderson. Their most probable route was via the Old South Carolina State Road to the North into the Cumberland Gap, then along the Warrior’s Path of Kentucky to Louisville, then along the Buffalo Trace to Kaskaskia. Quite a number of settlers came this way instead of using the rivers. He first settled near Kaskaskia, to the west of Ellis Grove, and then on Plum Creek. There is a listing in Original Patent Land Records for a Robert Foster receiving 160 acres on June 10, 1816. And another listing on June 10 1818 for an additional 160 acres. On Plum creek he built a horse mill and Steam distillery.

On June 27, 1809 he married Susanna McClinton. Their marriage was one of the earliest recorded in the County. Their license was signed by David Anderson the brother of John Anderson who rode to Illinois with Robert. She was the daughter of John McClinton and Betsy Anderson. They had come from Abbeville in 1804.

Robert served as a sergeant with Capt Absalom Cox’s Company of the Illinois Militia during the War of 1812. He served for 2 months and 14 days for which he was paid $19.75.

Robert was a Democrat, a Mason and a member of the Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church. It seems likely that he was a member of the Springfield ARP church near the Irish settlement. This church was later merged into the United Presbyterian Church.

Susanna died December 6, 1829. She is buried in Kelly Cemetery near the site of the first ARP church. There is a plaque on the site that says: “American Presbyterian and Reformed Historical Site No. 370 Kelly Springfield Cemetery Original site of the Kaskaskiak/Springfield Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church – Organized 1810 – First Presbyterian Church in the Illinois Territory.” Robert married Sarah Kell on September 9, 1830. Robert Died February 12, 1831 and is buried next to Susanna.

Robert and Susanna’s children were:

  1. Samuel
  2. John
  3. James Augustus,  owned and operated a Retail store in Sparta for many years.
  4. Parmelia
  5. Elizabeth Jane
  6. William
  7. David A.
  8. Nancy
  9. An infant that died young.

Robert Foster’s Service Record:

  • Soldier South Carolina. He served in the South Carolina State Troops under Brigadier General Thomas Sumter.


  1. Combined History of Randolph, Monroe, and Perry Counties Illinois – Biographical Sketches of some of their Prominent Men and Pioneers, Published by J. L. McDonough & Co., Philadelphia. 1883.
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