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It is clearly apparent that William Sheppard Foster is the son of John Foster and Elizabeth Shepherd/Sheppard. The earliest mention of the name William Sheppard Foster is his grandfather's will. The will of William Shepherd, father of Elizabeth, states "...I give and bequeath unto my grandson William Shephard Foster, son of John and Elizabeth Foster, all my land and plantation..." This proves he was the son of John and Elizabeth. This also gives us an approximate date of birth. The will was dated 19 May 1718. So he was born before this date.

John Foster left a will in the following year in which he mentions a second child, John Foster, Jr. This will indicates that John Jr. was born before his father's will, but after his grandfather's will. In John Foster's will, he states that his friend Ralph Corbin is to see that William Sheppard Foster get at least three years of schooling. This indicates that William was still a small child when the will was written. So, we estimate the birth of William Sheppard Foster to be about 1718. The place of birth was Accomack County, Virginia.

In 1742, a deed abstract is shown of William Sheppard Foster of Craven County, North Carolina selling his land in Accomack County, Virginia to Thomas Smith, also of Craven County, North Carolina. Later we learn that William Sheppard Foster had married Martha Smith, a niece of Thomas Smith. No record has been found showing that Thomas Smith ever lived in Accomack Co. VA. Perhaps he bought the land to get William and Martha on their feet in North Carolina.

Early records of Accomack Co. VA show that the land William Sheppard inherited from his grandfather was a plantation facing the Atlantic Ocean. One would wonder why someone would leave that land behind to move to inland North Carolina. We must consider that the staple crop of both places was tobacco. Even today, North Carolina is rich in the tobacco industry. This may have something to do with Foster's move to North Carolina.

A marriage record between William Sheppard Foster and Martha Smith has not been found. We do know that Martha was a Smith based on her father's will. James Smith clearly states his daughter Martha as the wife of William Sheppard Foster. Sometime after marriage, William Sheppard Foster was granted 300 acres by King George II ... dated 15 Oct 1748.

There are some more interesting facts of William Sheppard Foster, gathered by Lynda Hassell ...
1. William served under Capt. Arthur Johnston in the state militia of Craven Co. NC

2. William was a signer of petitions to the Court as well as those appointed to provide solutions to the problems the county had with roads. He was sometimes appointed as overseer.

3. 1767, William purchased land from Bazell Smith ... a possible relative of Martha

4. 1778, William was ordered to appear for jury duty in which he did not show. Therefore, William was fined for failure to show up.

5. 1784, William sells 100 acres to Joshua Oglesby. Evidently, part of the land sold to him by Bazell Smith.

6. 1789, William petitioned and received two land grants. One for 150 acres. Other, 73 acres.

7. 1789, William and his neighbor John Ives executed a deed "to establish a boundary agreement that would be binding on their heirs."

The last finding I have found for William Sheppard Foster is the 1790 Census of North Carolina. In the home was himself and one female. He also owned 10 slaves. Ms. Hassell goes on to mention that William died 24 December 1792. He did not leave a will. Lynda has been able to find some records following his death which provide us with the fact that he owned 373 acres at his death, as well as several slaves. If you would like to receive any of the information, Ms. Hassell would like for you to contact her at

1. Kimmie Foster - born 1743; married Prudence Sanderson ~ migrated to Morgan Co. GA where he died 1816

2. William Shepherd Foster, Jr. - born 1745; married Phebe (possibly Phebe Truitt) ~ migrated to Wilkes Co. GA where he died 1829 ~~ Click here to go to a source page

3. John Foster - born 1749; among several land transactions of his father ~ no more in known of him except that he raised his brother's two sons

4. Bazel Foster - born 1751; married Sarah Ives and had several children, including Frederick, Polly, and possibly a William Foster ~ some of his descendants ended up in Putnam Co. GA

5. Martha Foster - born 1753; married Joseph Kinsey on 12 April 1780 in Craven Co. NC

6. Frederick Foster - born 1755; died before 1792 ~ had two sons, Jacob and Perice, who were living with their Uncle John Foster in 1792

7. Philemon Foster - born 1758; married 6 Aug 1784 Sarah Hickman ~ migrated to Hancock Co. GA where he died in 1816 ~~ click here to go to his page

8. Judy Elizabeth Foster - born 1760; married William Shephard Kinsey (according to marriage records)