Foster, Samuel Thompson (1829–1919)

By: Aragorn Storm Miller

Type: Biography

Published: June 13, 2008

Updated: October 9, 2019

Samuel Thompson Foster, lawyer, businessman, Confederate officer, state representative, and government official, was born in Union District County, South Carolina, on November 9, 1829, the son of Isaac J. and Frances (Stribling) Foster. He was raised in South Carolina and as a young man was confirmed in the Baptist Church as well as initiated into the Masons. In 1847 Foster immigrated with his family to Texas, settling in Halletsville, Lavaca County. Here on January 11, 1855, Samuel T. Foster married Mary Ham. This couple had two sons and four daughters. That same year he began practicing law in Lavaca County. In 1858 Foster relocated with his family to Oaksville, Live Oak County, where he worked as county clerk from 1858 through 1860, and chief justice for the county court from 1860 until the beginning of the Civil War.

On August 5, 1861, following the outbreak of the war, Sam T. Foster joined a local militia and frontier defense unit, Capt. James Washington Winter's Reserve Company, as a private. In January 1862 he volunteered for service in the Confederate Army, mustering on April 10 as first lieutenant for Company H, Twenty-fourth Texas Cavalry Regiment. Sam and his unit spent the summer in Pine Bluff, Arkansas, where the regiment was dismounted and trained as infantry. In September Foster and his unit were transferred to Arkansas Post where he saw action until the surrender of that garrison on January 11, 1863. Following his exchange later in the spring of 1863, Foster was promoted to captain and company commander. He served at the battles of Chickamauga and Chattanooga in the autumn of 1863 and in the Atlanta Campaign during the summer of 1864. In April 1865 at the conclusion of the war Foster was in North Carolina where he was paroled at Greensboro on May 2 and returned to Oaksville.

In 1866 Sam T. Foster was elected representative for the Seventieth District (comprising Bee, Live Oak, Karnes, Atascosa, McMullen, Frio, LaSalle, Zavala, and Dimmit counties) to the Eleventh Texas Legislature. Because of the chronic lawlessness plaguing the Live Oak County area, he chose to relocate with his family to Corpus Christi where he joined a leading merchandising and banking house as a manager. Foster was active in community affairs as well, organizing and commanding a local militia unit, the Star Rifles, in the spring of 1875 and organizing the First Baptist Church of Corpus Christi, which initially met in his home, on August 18, 1878. In 1880 Sam and his family moved to Laredo where he resumed his engagement in the general merchandising business. Later in the 1880s Foster resumed his public service, receiving a presidential appointment as commissioner for the U.S. District Court, Southern District of Texas. He remained in this post for the remainder of his life. After his first wife died, Sam T. Foster married Bettie Moore in 1897. This couple had no children. Foster organized Masonic lodges in Texas at Laredo and Carrizo Springs and in Mexico at Nuevo Laredo and Monterrey. He was also commander of Santos Benavides Post 637 of the United Confederate Veterans. Samuel T. Foster died in Laredo on January 9, 1919, and was buried in the Masonic section of Laredo City Cemetery.

Norman D. Brown, One of Cleburne's Command: The Civil War Reminiscences and Diary of Captain Samuel T. Foster, Granbury's Brigade, CSA (Austin: The University of Texas Press, 1980). Ervin L. Sparkman, The People's History of Live Oak County, Texas (Mesquite, Texas: Ide House, 1981).


  • Eleventh Legislature (1866)
  • House

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.

Aragorn Storm Miller, “Foster, Samuel Thompson,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed December 09, 2021,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

June 13, 2008
October 9, 2019