Moses and Elizabeth Duke, born about 1779

(And Foster, Mixon, Boucher, Wood, Tunnell, Belk)

by Gary D. Duke 2005

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Moses Duke and Elizabeth Duke were born in Fairfield/Kershaw District of South Carolina. They were brother and sister - possibly twins - with the best information indicating each were born about 1779. The gravestone of Elizabeth in Clay County, Mississippi says she was born in 1779 and Moses was certainly born within a year of that date.

In South Carolina, Elizabeth married to Thomas Lloyd Foster and Moses married to Nancy Keziah Burge.

The ancestors of Moses and Elizabeth and their spouses will not be considered in this story......I will only try to report on their lives after their marriages until their deaths.

If Moses and Elizabeth had other siblings, they have not been identified.

Moses seems to have married first, apparently in early 1801 in Fairfield County, as Nancy’s mother deeded a slave “to Moses Duke” in November, 1801, which represented Nancy’s share of the estate of her deceased father. Their first known child, a boy, was born there in 1806.

Elizabeth married Thomas in Fairfield about 1804 with their first child, a boy, being born there in 1807. Thomas Lloyd Foster was born in South Carolina about 1776-1780.

It seems necessary to understand the relationships between Moses Duke, Thomas L. Foster and several other families who lived in South Carolina because a large group of them moved together or about the same time, leaving South Carolina and winding up in western Alabama and eastern Mississippi, right along the state borders.

Moses Duke and Elizabeth Duke married Nancy Burge and Thomas Foster.

Jeremiah Belk, born SC 1778, married Anna Mixon, born SC 1779, and she was a first cousin to Ichabod Mixon, born SC 1779, who married Gatsy Belk, born SC 1779. Jeremiah and Gatsy were brother-sister.

Jeremiah & Anna Belk had a son William Alexander Belk, who was born in SC about 1798.

Alexander Mixon, born 1805 in SC, a son of Ichabod and Gatsy, married Susannah Foster, she born 1809 in SC and a daughter of Thomas L. Foster & Elizabeth Duke

James W. Harrell, born 1805 in SC married Mary Ann Mixon, daughter of Ichabod Mixon & Gatsy Belk.

Felix Wood, born 1792 SC married in Madison, Alabama, to Lockey Boucher, born 1802 Tn. Lockey’s brother Elisha Boucher, born 1805 Tn, married Sarah K. Duke, daughter of Moses & Nancy Duke.

Nancy Tunnell married Moses Duke Foster, a son of Thomas L. Foster & Elizabeth Duke. Sarah Ann Tunnell married Burrell Burge Duke, a son of Moses Duke and Nancy Burge. Nancy and Sarah Tunnell were sisters, both daughters of Stephen Tunnell.

So.......the Dukes, Fosters, Belks. Mixons and Harrells all came out of South Carolina while the Bouchers and Tunnells came from Tennessee. The Fosters moved into Tennessee and hooked up with the Bouchers and Tunnells while the Dukes, Belks. Mixons and Harrells moved directly from South Carolina with all of them winding up within a few miles of each other.

In the mid-1820's all of these families began moving to northwestern Alabama and northeastern Mississippi, and within the next 10 years all of them had moved and lived near each other in that area.

In the book “A History of Columbus, Mississippi, During the 19th Century”, written by W. L. Lipscomb and published in 1909, is stated:

In 1828 was originated the first Methodist Church in Lowndes County - The Piney Grove Church. Preachers assisting in the origination of Piney Grove were John Booth, Reuben Sanders, Roddy Smith, Stephen McReynolds, William Belk, Felix Wood, and Stephen Tunnell. In 1832 the Reverend Felix Wood brought into this section a large number of immigrants – Tunnells, Belks, Dukes, Fosters, Harrells, Boswells, Mitchells, Sparks, Wrights, Tennysons, Lusks, Stidhams, Arnolds, Lyons, McGowans, Fords, Skinners, and Youngs.”

This story about the “immigrants” suggests that Felix Wood was a strong motivating factor inducing the families to move to “the area” which was composed of Lowndes County, Mississippi on the west and Marion and Fayette Counties, Alabama on the east. But, considering it further, the Bouchers and Fosters arrived in “the area” about the same time in 1826-27 as did the Woods and they were all there for several years before 1832.


The first record of any of the family after their move was on 10-02-1823 which is the date of a land grant to Ambrose Foster in Marion County, Alabama. Two more grants were recorded on 6-15-1826 for Joel and Thomas Foster. It is highly likely that all three grants were obtained simultaneously but two were not recorded until three years later. Ambrose was 31, Joel was his 54 year old father and Thomas was his 43 year old uncle. Felix Wood and Thomas Boucher had grants in the same area by April, 1827. All of these families had lived near each other on the Alabama-Tennessee border and may have moved together to this new area, utilizing the “Jackson Military Road” which had been created by General Andrew Jackson during the War of 1812 and ran directly from Lincoln County, Tennessee, right through Marion County, Alabama.


In 1830, Moses and Nancy still lived in Kershaw County, South Carolina, but they soon also moved to the Marion, Alabama, area, although they settled a few miles west of Thomas and Elizabeth which placed them just over the State Line into Mississippi. Moses’ first land in Mississippi was a grant of 200 acres recorded on 4-20-1833, but I think it likely that he had earlier moved to the area, perhaps briefly living with the Fosters, while scouting out desirable land for himself. His land grant was located: W1/2SE1/4 section 21, T17s, R17w ..... 80 acres W1/2SW1/4 section 22, T17s, R17w ..... 80 acres NE1/4SE1/4 section 21, T17s, R17w ....... 40 acres which placed the eastern edge two miles from the state line. He was five miles northeast of the Mississippi town of Columbus and 10 miles west of the Alabama town of Milport.

On 10-24-1833, Moses bought from John McGowan and his wife Kizziah, another 80 acres adjoining his land: W1/2NW1/4 section 22, T17s, R17w. “James McGowan” was another man who lived in Madison County, Alabama, around 1820 and may well be somehow related. Moses’ son Bartlett S. and friend Felix Wood were witnesses to this deed. Bartlett personally appeared at the Columbus Court on 7-3-1840 and attested to it.

On November 12, 1833, Moses gave a Power of Attorney to son Bartlett, then 23 years old and still single, authorizing him to sell “all or any land which Moses then possessed in South Carolina”. Bartlett traveled back to South Carolina and, on 12-17-1833, for $82 sold 85 acres of land in Kershaw County to Peter Rush, then, on 12-20-1833, for $218 he sold another 147 acres in Kershaw to David Montgomery. (the sale to Rush seems very cheap - it was two blocks, one of 70 acres and another of only 15 acres - perhaps Rush was a relative? It is also interesting that the two are odd amounts but total exactly $300 which is the same amount Burrell - see next - received for the remaining land. Did Moses tell them to “get at least $300"?)

On February 7, 1835, Moses gave a Power of Attorney to son Burrell, only 19 years old, authorizing him to sell 300 acres of land owned by Moses in Kershaw County, South Carolina. The land was described as......

"...all that plantation or tract of land containing two hundred acres more or less, situated in Kershaw District and State aforsaid on Rocky Branch, a branch of Bear Creek and on Bull Bog branch a branch of twenty five mile creek, bounded to the North on lands now owned by Lewis Hogan, to the west on land now owned by Peter W. Rush on the South on lands now owned by David Montgomery to the east by lands said to belong to the heirs of General Z. Cantey...”.

Older son Bartlett had married in 1834 and was unavailable in 1835 and, Burrell, though only 19, had already been to medical school and was educated above the norm. Burrel did travel back to South Carolina and, on 4-11-1835, for $300 sold 200 acres of land in Kershaw to Landers Hogan. The records do not disclose any disposition of the remaining 100 acres mentioned by Moses.

On August 7, 1835, Moses and another neighbor, a 35 year old man named Robert D. Haden, agreed upon a land exchange. On paper, they each gave the other $100 with Moses giving Haden 40acres of his land - the S1/2W1/2SW1/4, section 22 - and Haden giving Moses 80 acres at E1/2NW1/4, section 22. I assume this was an “even” trade although Moses gained 40 acres, probably the 40 acres he gave up was more valuable land. After this trade, Moses owned a total of 320 acres immediately to the north of the small town of Steens, northeast of Columbus, Mississippi. I don’t know exactly where his house was on this land but expect that it was on the eastern end, very near to the Alabama line, because he was one of the originators of the Piney Grove Methodist Church and that Church is situated one-half mile west of the state line. The Piney Grove Cemetary is located just to the north of the Church and that cemetery is where most of the relatives of Moses and Nancy are buried. I believe Moses is probably buried there, too, although there is no stone with his name. But there are many old stones on which the writing has long disappeared and they still lived nearby when he died and this was the cemetery for his Church.

When Moses and Nancy left South Carolina for Mississippi, their oldest son, Richard, was already married and he moved with them, settling in Alabama, just east of Moses. Their next two sons were single but already in their middle 20's. Son Austin Peay chose not to go to Mississippi with them but instead went to Lowndes County, Alabama. Son Bartlett Smith did go along and he soon married on 4-10-1834 and got land of his own a few miles east in Fayette County, Alabama. The fourth son, Burrell Burge, was only about 16, moved with and remained living with Moses and Nancy.

During the year 1836, Burrell Duke went to Lexington, Kentucky, where he attended Transylvania College and studied to become a medical Doctor.

These were interesting times in Mississippi. The lands on the east side of the Tombigbee River where Moses lived were in Lowndes County which had only been established in 1830, while across the Tombigbee river to the west the lands were all owned by the Chickasaw Indian Nation with the US Government doing its best to move them out. In 1832 a treaty with the Chickasaw opened their lands for sale. This, overnight, increased the size of Lowndes County seven-fold. The population of Columbus, seat of Lowndes, jumped from 481 to 1623. From 1835 to 1837 a courthouse and a jail were built. A bridge over the Tombigbee and a railroad to Vicksburg were planned. There were two newspapers in Columbus, one of which reported “Columbus is prosperous enough to support a considerable community of prostitutes”. Cotton was the major cash crop and the best way to get it to market was by steamboat down the Tombigbee which was a 420 mile trip all the way to Mobile Bay in Alabama. During 1835 and 1836 there were 16 steamboats making this trip. By 1840, this had increased to 40 such boats. The trip took 7 - 14 days. The boats were over 100' long, had 30-40 deck hands (all slaves) and would carry up to 1000 bales of cotton.

A state census was taken in 1837 showing Moses Duke in Lowndes County. There was one white male over 45 (Moses), one white female over 16 (Nancy) and one white male between 21 -45 (Burrell). Moses owned three male and five female slaves. In the previous year, 1836, he had 55 acres of land in cultivation and produced 16 bales of cotton. This same state census showed 5,495 whites and 7,362 blacks living in Lowndes County.

Burrell had been educated and was an ambitious young man of 21-22 years old. We don’t know the particulars but it is obvious that Burrell recognized opportunities in the booming economy, because on 3-12-1838, Moses “sold” to Burrell “for $5000", his entire 320 acres of land which, of course, included his house and barns. This sale was immediately recorded on 3-15 and the next day, on 3-16, Burrell entered into an investment agreement whereby he purchased stock in a new transportation company which had a goal of improving navigation on the Tombigbee river by removing obstacles in the river channel. I must presume the company somehow intended to make a profit from this activity.

On 3-16-1838, Burrell signed a Trust Deed in which he promised to pay $2000 for Stock in the Columbus & Tombigbee Transportation Company. Cyrus S. Aikin, a local business man and entrepreneur who owned several thousand acres of nearby land, was the president of this company. William Puller and Ovid Brown, both clerks of the Lowndes County Court, acted as trustees in this agreement between Burrell and Aikin. Burrell put up the 320 acres he had obtained from Moses as security for his investment and he was to make five annual installment payments to equal the $2000. If Burrell completed the payments, the Trust Deed would be null. If he failed to pay, then the land would be sold to satisfy any remaining balance owed. Meanwhile, Burrell (and Moses who still lived there) would retain use of the land.

Many of Burrell’s neighbors, even some men who lived far off in Alabama, also invested in the C&T Transportation Company, using the same kind of “Trust Deed” in which they pledged assets to secure their investments. (But there is no record that any of the other relatives of the Dukes became involved in the C&T investment)

On 3-26-1840 Burrell married in Lowndes to Sarah Ann Tunnell and their first child, a boy, was born 2-7-1841. Burrell and Sarah apparently lived with or near Moses on the 320 acre property.

But plans began to go awry.

The boom suddenly ground to a halt. The bridge over the Tombigbee was completed but it was then discovered that steamboats couldn’t get under it if the river water was high and the bridge had to be torn down by 1850. There was a terrible drought in 1840 and low water in the river kept all boats from arriving. Crops could not be marketed. Many businesses went broke. And, as if a drought were not enough, there were also floods. There was a big flood in 1837, another in 1840, and extremely bad one in 1841. Also, the primary income for the Columbus area was the shipping of cotton. But, Columbus is on the east side of the Tombigbee and most of the cotton plantations were on the west side. If the river was too low, or was in flood, none of the cotton could get to Columbus. As a result, many competing shipping warehouses were constructed on the west side up and down the river. All of these factors turned the boom years into a big bust.

So..... on May 1, 1840 the C&T Transportation Company called for immediate payment in full of the $2000 stock note. Burrell didn’t have the money so C&T posted a notice of sale in the local Argus newspaper, advising they were going to sell Burrell’s 320 acres at public auction at the Columbus Court House on 6-8-1840. In the same paper, there are several other similar notices involving other investors.

It seems that, although he didn’t have $2000 cash laying around, Burrell was determined to salvage something from this deal. Either the scheduled land sale on June 8 found no buyers or, more likely, the sale was postponed.

By a deed dated 6-11-1840 Burrell sold to Moses for $1000 a male slave, one mule, one horse, five cows, 100 bushels of corn, eight plows, a thrasher, several saddles, assorted other farming tools, a table & eight chairs, a clock and all of his standing crops (wheat, oats, corn & cotton). He couldn’t sell any house or barn because they were part of the real estate but this appears to be all of the personal property that Burrell owned. He was still only 24 years old.

Then Burrell went to Aikin and worked out another deal. On 7-2-1840, Aikin informed the Trustees Puller & Brown that Burrell had paid the $2000 owed on the Stock Note in full and authorized the trustees to release the 320 acres back to Burrell. On the next day, 7-3-1840, Burrell executed another deed whereby he sold the same 320 acres for $1900 to the Columbus & Tombigbee Transportation Company. In this Deed, Burrell’s wife Sarah, released her right of Dower. On this same day, Burrell’s brother, Bartlett Smith who lived in Fayette, Al, personally appeared at the Lowndes courthouse attesting to the 1833 land purchase by Moses Duke from McGowan.

If I understand all this correctly, Burrell got Moses to sign over his 320 acres for a sham price of $5000. (If Burrell had had $5000, he wouldn’t have needed the property for security.) When he signed the deal with C&T, he probably paid them $100 cash. Then, when things went wrong, he again made a sham sale of all his personal assets to Moses so those assets couldn’t be attached and then talked Aikin into just taking the 320 acres in order to satisfy his remaining debt owed on the Stock Note. It looks like Aikin “paid” $1900 for the land and Burrell then gave the $1900 back to satisfy the note.

The end result of all this was that all of Moses’ 320 acres of land, including his home, were now gone but Burrell still owned stock in C&T. I suspect that Burrell & Moses also worked out some kind of land rental agreement with Aikin and that they continued to live on the same place for a few more months. There were still standing crops to harvest which belonged to Moses.

But, things continued to worsen. A lawsuit was filed by “Horne, Gurby & Baker” against “Burrell B. Duke, Cyrus S. Aikin, and members of the Columbus & Tombigbee Transportation Company”. Remember that Burrell is a member in good standing, a stock owner, of the C&T. The plaintiffs obtained a Judgement and a Writ was issued on 6-17-1841 directing Adolphus Weir, US Marshall, to seize and sell the same 320 acres at public auction. In this Writ, it is stated that John H. Hand and Thomas W. Brown are the representatives of plaintiffs. Note that, legally, the 320 acres now belonged to C&T.

The Marshall seized the lands and they were sold on 6-17-1841 at the Columbus Court House for $565 with John H. Hand and Thomas W. Brown being the high bidders! The Marshall attests that he turned the property over to Thomas W. Brown.....but the attestation is dated 10-5-1842 and I suspect, because of other legal actions reported next, that only 180 acres were actually turned over to Brown and then not until late 1842.

Moses Duke died during 1841, probably after the June legal actions and certainly before August because there is a notice in an Alabama Newspaper which states “Letters of Administration on the estate of Moses Duke, late of Fayette County, deceased, are granted to B. S. Duke on August 12, 1841". No further record exists about this administration because of Court House fires in Fayette at a later time. And then, on 12-31-1841, Nancy Duke filed a Court petition in Lowndes County stating that Moses had died and she is now a “poor widow” with no place to live. She points out that, when Moses sold the 320 acres to Burrell, she had never relinquished her rights of Dower. Therefore, she asks the Court to grant her dower rights and return a portion of the land to her. (All in all, I think this move was both smart and sneaky but the inspiration undoubtedly came from an identical petition filed by Sarah Tunnell in 1837 following the death of her husband Stephen. Sarah and Stephen Tunnell were the in-laws of Burrell Duke). Her petition was unopposed and the Court did grant 140 acres to her and appointed five “independent free-holders” to select the 140 acres and report back to the Court. At least one of these “free-holders’ - Willie Buck - was related to Nancy Duke.

On 5-28-1842, the land was selected - E1/2NW1/4 and 60 acres off the north end of the W1/2NW1/4, section 22, T17s, R17w. It is not so stated but I believe these lands included the house and barns where Moses and Nancy had lived. The “right of dower” law protected widows because married women basically had no legal rights. However, when their husband died, they did not deserve being kicked out of their homes so they were allowed to continue living at the same place and possess a portion of the land, usually 1/3 of the total, but only for their lifetime. If they chose to remarry or move away they lost control of the land and houses. They could not sell the land to others.

After this action, the Marshall probably “turned over” the remaining 180 acres to Thomas Brown. Then, on 2-7-1844, Nancy then sold her right of dower to the 140 acres to Thomas Brown for only $80. This small amount did not represent the “value” of the property, she was merely relinquishing her right to live there - Thomas Brown was the only person to whom she could “sell” her rights. She “personally appeared” on that date before the Court to attest to the sale. Joseph Wood and Joel Fields were witnesses.

Where did Nancy go after this sale?. For many years she had lived with Burrell. I’ve found no record that Burrell bought other land in Lowndes County or in Alabama. He may have lived with relatives, or rented his own place in Alabama and Nancy may have lived with him. By September 24, 1850 he had moved to Chickasaw County and my best estimate is that his move was sometime in 1849. Nancy’s son Richard had been living in Fayette County, Alabama for 20 years and continued living there until his death just before 1870 but he is never mentioned in any of Nancy’s records so I don’t believe she lived with him. In 1844 her son Bartlett S. was living in Fayette and he continued living there and even bought land on December 4, 1848 from cousin Andrew J. Foster. But he moved from Fayette to Chickasaw County between that date and Sep 24, 1850 when the census was taken. As will be seen, Nancy probably lived in Fayette for some time then moved to Chickasaw County where she died in August, 1849. She had a guardian in her last years - nephew Moses Duke Foster. Moses D. was a son of Elizabeth and Thomas L Foster and had been living for several years in Fayette County. His son Andrew J. was born there in 1849 but, by Sep 24, 1850, Moses D. Foster had also moved to Chickasaw County.

After she sold her Lowndes property in 1844, I believe Nancy went to Fayette County and lived with either her son Burrell or son Bartlett or her nephew Moses D. Foster. Probably within a year or two, she developed some kind of mental problem requiring that the State appoint an official guardian and this action was, naturally, filed in Fayette County where she was then living. For whatever reason, Moses D. Foster was selected and, in the minutes of Probate Court for September 26, 1851, in Fayette County, Alabama, there is a document entitled “Nancy Duke lunatic Estate”. (in those days, people with mental problems were officially labeled “lunatic” or “maniac”) On that date appeared Moses Duke Foster, in his status as Guardian for Nancy Duke, lunatic, who is now deceased and he presented his accounts of his guardianship. When his guardianship began - no date specified - he was charged with $455.66 and had expended all but $282.23. The Court accepted his accounting and ordered the balance be distributed among the “seven heirs interested in her estate” - unfortunately, they are unnamed. It is reported to me that this single document is the total of her “Estate File” because the Fayette Court House burned in 1870.

Moses Duke and Nancy Burge Duke had seven, perhaps eight, children, all born in South Carolina. At the time of Nancy’s death it is noted in the Probate Court document that she left “seven heirs” which would indicate they were all living in 1851. The lives of five of the seven are known but we can only identify the names of two girls - Elizabeth and Martha - with no other information about them.. As Moses and Nancy married in 1801, I would expect a child before Richard in 1804 but perhaps it did not survive.

1. Richard, b 1804 m Martha Unknown

2. Austin Peay, b 1806 m Lucinda Grace Edwards

3. Bartlett Smith, b 1810 m Sarah Jane Foster

4. Elizabeth ?, b 1812

5. Burrell Burge, b 1816 m Sarah Ann Tunnell

6. Sarah Keziah, b 1818 m Elisha Boucher

7. Martha ?, b 1821

We don’t know the exact age of Nancy Burge Duke - it was somewhere between 1780 and 1783 with 1781 being most likely. In 1901, a relative said Moses & Nancy had a daughter “Martha, who died young”. In the 1820 census, Moses & Nancy had five boys and 2 girls, all under sixteen, in their household. In 1830 there were only four boys and now three girls. All were gone by 1840. As the last girl, named either Martha or Elizabeth, was probably born after the 1820 census, it appears that a son may have died between 1820-1830.

So, by 1850 both Moses and Nancy Duke had died in Mississippi. Where was Elizabeth Duke Foster during these times?


Most of the children of Thomas L. Foster and Elizabeth Duke Foster were born in South Carolina but all came with them to Alabama:

1. Ambrose F. , b 1807 m Hannah Mixon

2. Susannah, b 1809 m Alexander Mixon

3. Moses Duke, b 1812 m Nancy Tunnell

4. Sarah Jane, b 1816 m Bartlett Smith Duke

5. Richard Duke, b 1819 m Sarah Woodham

6. Andrew Jackson, b 1823 m Mary T. Williams

7. George Washington, b 1824 m Amanda Milly Spruill

Elizabeth was 44 when her last child was born. They first settled in Marion County and were still there when the 1830 census was taken but soon moved a few miles into adjoining Fayette County I am told a Deed exists which details a land sale by M.R.Smith to T.L.Foster in Fayette on 11-3-1832 but I have not seen this record.

On 12-23-1835 Thomas L. Foster “of Fayette County” sold land in Lowndes County, Mississippi, to Robert D. Haden. I have found no record of when he acquired this land. Haden was then one of the Court Clerks of Lowndes County and he had been in Mississippi since 1818 as one of the original settlers of the Lowndes area. For $850 Thomas sold “that part of E1/2NE1/4, section 28, which lies north of the “Luxapallila” (a river running through the property) containing 50 acres and the N1/2W1/2NE1/4 of section 28, the N1/2W1/2NW1/4 of section 27 and the N1/2E1/2NW1/4 of section 28, T17s, R17w, all of which totaled 170acres. George Shaeffer and Henry J. Brown were witnesses. On 1-13-1836 Thomas L. and wife Elizabeth Foster both personally appeared before the Clerk and attested to the document. Elizabeth relinquished her right of dower and made “her mark” on it.

Thomas Foster is listed in the 1840 census for Fayette County. The only female is 60-70 years old (Elizabeth was then 61) and the oldest male is 50-60 with two other males 20-30 and 15-20. He owned seven slaves. This 1840 census is the last record of Thomas Lloyd Foster. By 1850 Elizabeth had moved to Chickasaw County, Mississippi, and was living with son Andrew J. on land adjoining her other sons Ambrose and George W. Their new homes in Chickasaw (later Clay) County were about 30-40 miles west of their place in Fayette Thomas L. left a Will which was submitted to Probate in the Court in Fayette County. His sons Moses and Andrew were appointed executors but the only record of this Probate is a single document from September 24, 1851, recording that Moses and Andrew both appeared before the Court that day and requested a continuance of the hearing for final settlement. The continuance was granted. We only know that Thomas L. Foster died sometime between 1840 and 1850, that it was in Fayette County, and we don’t know where he is buried..

When Thomas L died, almost all of the family still lived in Fayette, Alabama, and Elizabeth continued living there, too. But, in late 1848 or early 1849 Elizabeth and all of her children moved away from Fayette,.west to Chickasaw County, Mississippi, and settled there in the southeast section which was later split off to create Clay County.

When the 1850 census was taken in September, Elizabeth was 72 years old and living with her son Andrew J, then 27, and his wife Mary with one child. But, Elizabeth could not have been lonely ! It looks like her entire family all moved to Chickasaw at the same time, either late 1848 or early 1849. In 1850, living near Elizabeth in Chickasaw were her sons Andrew, Ambrose, Moses and George and daughters Sarah Duke and Susannah Mixon and nephew Jeremiah. There were fifty three members in these families still living at home ! And there were other nieces and nephews and cousins nearby with their large families ! The only one of Elizabeth’s children who was not in Chickasaw in 1850 was her son Richard Duke Foster who had moved on west to DeSoto Parish in Louisiana on the western boundary of that State.

By 1860, just before the Civil War, Elizabeth was still living in Chickasaw, Sparta Post Office. She had her own house but was living next to son Andrew J. Elizabeth still owned seven slaves but, as she had no land, a couple of the females probably assisted her in her home and the men probably worked on Andrew’s farm next door. Now there were even more relatives living all over the area !

Then the Civil War came. .............. our Fosters and their relatives had lived in the deep south for over 60 years. Many of them planted cotton and owned slaves. As best I can determine, 15 of Elizabeth’s grand-children or close relatives promptly joined the Confederate Army in Mississippi. The Confederate 24th Infantry Regiment was formed in the fall of 1861 with recruits taken from Chickasaw, Clay, Choctaw, Monroe and Lowndes Counties. Several Fosters joined this unit which fought at Corinth, Murfreesboro, Atlanta and other places. A few were killed, many were wounded.

In 1870 Elizabeth was still around. Her slaves were gone, some of her children were gone, things had changed. She was then 90 years old and living with a grand-daughter’s family, Jarret Luther, who had married Nancy K. Duke. The families lived near a small town named Montpelier where some of Elizabeth’s children had, once again, originated a Methodist Church.....the Palestine Church.

Elizabeth died at Montpelier on November 22, 1871 when she was 92 years old. She is buried in the Palestine Methodist Church Cemetery.


Most of the original generation came to Mississippi - Alabama during the decade of the 1830's and many of them passed away well before the Civil War. But they had many children who were then “natives” of the area and who participated in, or suffered through, the War era.

After the War, some stuck it out but many began to move on to other places. I will do separate reports on the lives of the children of Moses Duke and Elizabeth Duke Foster and I will include those children of the other related families only if they continued to interact with the Dukes and Fosters.