Charles Augustus Foote

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Biography

Born in Crompound (Yorktown) Charles Augustus Foote grew to adulthood in Delhi, New York, son a highly politically active father and an accomplished mother. The name Delhi, in fact, was a tribute to his father Ebenezer, an officer who served under George Washington in the Revolutionary War. Charles's older brother Frederick was also in the military, serving as a Major General in the Mexican War.

Charles Foote studied law, apprenticed under well known lawyers in New York City, learned Dutch, married, and was elected to the 18th congress of New York as a representative of New York State's 23rd district. The combination of his father's and his older brother's accomplishments, and his older brother's early death from tuberculosis, seem to have set his standards high; perhaps unreasonably high, at least in his professional life. In his personal life, they were shadows; and as shadows are, never absent. He drank. He drank heavily enough for it to be noticed, and commented upon, in early 19th century Washington, D.C., which in itself is remarkable.

Raised by a town's founders and given comforts of a small "manor house" including enslaved house servants, may have only encouraged his sense of entitlement.

Academic Studies and Law Clerk

Charles Augustus Foote was a graduate of Union College. Attorney and Counselor at Law. Member of Congress from the State of New York in 1824;...Studied law at Kinderhook with Judge Van Schaack; of a number of men there at the time, who afterward became prominent in the world, it was the young Martin Van Buren, who most often came with him to Arbor Hill and in time became an aspirant for the hand of sweet Margaret Foote, Charles' sister, but she had already secretly given her heart to the young clergyman whom she afterward married, and thus lost the opportunity of becoming a Mistress of the White House.

After leaving Kinderhook, Charles was for several years in the office of Josiah Ogden Hoffman, Esq., in New York, then returned to Delhi, began an excellent practice, and was sent to Congress in 1824, "but his death ended all," according to Katherine Adelia Foote, his granddaughter. Col. of Militia.

Foote, Charles Augustus, a representative from New York; born in Newburgh, Orange County, N.Y., April 15, 1785; attended private schools in Newburgh and Kingston, N.Y, and was graduated from Union College, Schenectady, and practiced in New York City and later in Delhi, Delaware County, N.Y.; colonel in the New York State Militia, Sixth Division; trustee of Delaware Academy; president of the village of Delhi; elected to the Eighteenth Congress (March 4, 1823–March 3, 1825); resumed the practice of law in Delhi, N.Y., where he died August 1, 1828; interment in the private burying ground at “Arbor Hill,” the estate of his father. Biographical Directory of the United States Congress, 1744–1989, Bicentennial Edition, Washington, U S Government Printing Office, 1989.

Charles Foote, as described by his granddaughter, Katerine Adelia Foote

Charles Augustus Foote, was born April 15, 1785 at Newburgh, or Crompond, New York, to Ebenezer Foote and Jerusha Purdy.
He died August 1, 1828, at Delhi, New York. Married October 10, 1808, Marie, the daughter of Jesse and Margaretta de Hart Baldwin. She died August 29, 1824, and is buried in the tiny, family cemetery, at the family home, Arbor Hill.

Their children were: Frances Foote (b. 1809; m. Charles Marvine); Catherine Bruen (b. 1811; d. 1898); Rensselaer W. Foote (b. 1813; West Point, Capt; killed Gaines' Mills); Harriet Foote (b. 1815; d. 1815); Charles Augustus Foote, Jr. (b. Mar. 18, 1818; d. Feb. 28. 1896; m. Adelia Johnson, Sept. 11, 1845. who d. Aug., 1888); and James Bruen Foote (b. 1821, d. 1910. Married and had a girl, Mariah, presently unknown.)

One of Marie's sisters married the well known lawyer, Judge Aaron Vanderpoel of New York. While in Congress, Mr. Vanderpoel was one day called the "Kinderhook Roarer,” which, as often happens, clung to him through life. When I was taken to see him as a child, I remember him as the mildest of white-haired old men, and much interested in Charles’ little girl. The family now spell their name in various ways as regards capitals. All of the Purdys and Strangs seem to have been in the Assembly at Albany and in other offices.

Another sister, Catherine, married James Bruen of Newark, New Jersey, a brother of Matthias of New York. One of her (Jame's and Matthias's?) aunts, Laura Waldron, was the wife of the English Minister to France. [no Waldron's show connections to lists of 19th Ministers to France from GB. —dff]

Jesse Baldwin was an importing merchant, silks and wines, doing business at 161 Broadway, living at Newark.

Charles attended private schools at Poughkeepsie and Kingston, until he entered Union College, Schenectady, where he was graduated in 1805, going at once to study law with Judge Peter Van Schaack at Kinderhook, then to Judge Josiah Ogden Hoffman, New York. While with the latter he married, and soon after, at the solicitation of his father, came back to Delhi to live, and began practice in the different courts of the State, which he continued until his death.

He was in Congress, 1824-1825. His wife having died in 1824, he sank gradually into a melancholic state that increased until his death in 1828. but little over forty years of age.

He served in the militia in the different grades, being at the time of his death Colonel and Inspector of the 6th State Division. He lies in the family burying ground at Arbor Hill, the estate of Judge Ebenezer Foote, now owned by the Hon. and Mrs. John Davenport Clarke.

  • Ebenezer Foote—The Founder, An Epistemological Light on his Times, Katherine Adelia Foote. Delhi, 1927.

Family

Charles Augustus Foote was born at Newburgh, N.Y. 15 April, 1785 to Ebenezer Foote and Jerusha Purdy [fff, kaf, Foote Fam. Rec;1, Marv Bible;2, Bio. Dir. U.S. Cong]. He died at Delhi, N. Y. 1 Aug., 1828 and is buried “in the private burying ground at Arbor Hill, the estate of his father.” [Arbor Hill;g.s., kaf, Foote Hist;204, Bio. Dir. U.S. Cong.] He married at New York City, 10 May, 1808, Maria Baldwin, [ffpp, Catskill Recorder.25may08], Married by Rev. J. N. Abeel, of the Collegiate Dutch Reform Church, which seems to have been located at, Middle, Nassau and Liberty Streets, or North, Fulton and William Streets.

Maria was daughter of Jesse Baldwin and Margaretta de Hart of New York City, and Newark, New Jersey. An "importing merchant at 161 Broadway, New York. [kaf, Foote Hist;204.] She was b. at Newark?; she died at Arbor Hill? 29 August, 1824, apparently of consumption, and is buried in the family cemetery there.
Children born at ___ [ff pp, Foot Hist;204-5, kaf]:

  • i. Francis Foote, b. 1 Aug., 1809 [f.f.pp., Marv Bible;2]; she d. 27 July, 1891; she m. at ___ 15 Oct.,1832 Charles Augustus Marvin, son of Anthony Marvin and Abigail Paine [Marv. Fam.;378, Foote Hist;204-5]. Their children:
1. Charles Augustus Marvin, b. 8 July, 1833, d. 31 March, 1840 [f.f.pp., d. listed in Marv. Fam;378];
2. George Edward Marvin, b. 14 June, 1836, d. at ___ , m. 15 Oct., 1853 Harriet N. Steele [f.f.pp.], daughter of Dr. Eben Steele and Harriet Danforth [ibid.];
3. Margaret Maxwell Marvin, b. 9 Aug., 1840 [f.f.pp.], d. , m. 28 June, 1871 Isaac Horton Maynard, son of Isaac Horton and Jane Falconer, he was b. at Bovina, N. Y. 9 April, 1838 [ibid.] Their daughter, Frances Maynard, m. David Ford of Rome Georgia and New York City.
  • ii. Catherine Bruen Foote, b. 14 Sept., 1811 [f.f.pp.]; died Nov., 1897; “Never married but spent her time and money on good works.” [Foote Gen.;205].
  • iii. Harriet Baldwin Foote, b. 21 Jan. 1814 [f.f.pp.]; she d. at Delhi? 26 Sept. 1814 [Arbor Hill;g.s., f.f.pp., not listed in Foote].
  • iv. Rensselaer William Foote, b. 12 Nov., 1815. Soldier in the U.S. 6th Infantry. Died in combat, 1862.
  • v. Charles Augustus Foote, b. 18 March, 1818; died 28 Feb., 1896 at Delhi; married 11 Sept., 1844 Adelia Johnson, [Foote Hist;338] "Inheriting good competence while still a child, he erected a building during his minority, and for over 60 years conducted there a mercantile and manufacturing business, meanwhile busied with numberless outside interests. Held most of the town offices, was county treasurer for three successive terms. One of the organizers and chief pillar of his church, like his father and grandfather, Trustee of Delaware Academy, Director of the Bank, Com[misioner] of Railroad, and for a few years in business in California where his building was twice swept away, first by the great flood, then by fire. Always gentle and courteous, the village papers said of him at his death, 'The last gentleman of the old school in our midst has passed away.'” Their children were:
1. Katherine Adelia Foote, b. 27 Sept., 1845, “Active in local affairs, and with a large social acquaintance outside Delhi. Member of D.A.R. and County Regent for a number of years. Secretary of State Charities Aid for 25 years. Secretary for Columbia Exposition, etc.” [Foote Hist;338]. She was an editor of a book on her great grandfather, Ebenezer Foote. She lived Delhi, visited Manhattan every season for Grand Opera during which time she would stay in a hotel just around the corner from the Metropolitan Opera House [jpf;90].
2. Charles Augustus Foote, b. Feb., 1862, d. Feb., 1862 [Foote Gen.;205].
  • vi. James Buren Foote, b. 16 April, 1821 [f.f.pp.]; died 13 May, 1910 currently unknown burial location. [Foote;205,338 pencil note for death date, added prob. by Katherine Adelia Foote]. He married ____ and had a daughter,
Mariah Foote, b. ___ [from a letter to Rensselaer Foote from his sister and brother Charles, 1850.]

Letters

1820

A Slanderous Broadside, published before Foote's election to the 18th congress. From the graphics collection of the New York Historical Society

Text of the broadside, "Odd ! Odd ! Odd ! !"

To the Republican Electors of the County of Delaware.

FELLOW CITIZENS !

This is an odd world, full of odd creatures, odd things, and odd occurrences; but the oddest thing of all odd things is the nomination of Charles A. Foote, Esq. for Congress by republicans.

As everything in these odd times seems to be done in an odd way, and as I am rather an odd sort of thing myself, I must be excused if I give you my views of things odd nomination in a rather odd manner.

Fellow-Citizens, it would be odd, very odd, to see Republicans vote for a man born and bred in the very hot-bed of aristocracy, and educated and practised in all the high-toned notions of ultra-federalism.

It would be odd to see a peace-party man, an apologist for Great Britain, and an Hartford Conventionist, voted for by republicans.

It would be odd to see republicans vote for a late federal candidate for assembly, whom they once ran down and rejected with scorn.

It would be odd to see republicans vote for a man who keeps a little white shop, where in days of yore, odd things were Cook'd up about republican thieves.

It would be odd to see republicans vote for a man who lately slapped and scratched the face and tore the shirt of Gen. E. Root, merely because the General talked to him rather pointedly about toryism.

It would be odd to see republicans vote for a man who declared in the most public manner, that "Democracy was guilty of every drop of blood that had been shed during the late contest with Great Britain."

Fellow-Citizens, it would be odd indeed with all these odd things fresh in your minds, and some of them staring you so oddly in the face, and all of them creating such off feelings, to see you vote for such an odd candidate.

But it would be odder than all other odd things, to see the old fashioned republicans of this Country rejecting JOHN T. MORE, and voting for Charles A. Foote ! !

Fellow-Citizens, forgive me the odd supposition,—I know you will not vote so oddly. For as odd as this world is, and as odd as all of uf are, you cannot find it in your hearts to vote for this man, before he has done one single act "meet for repentance;" merely because he mouths out Republican ! Republican ! with a disgusting brogue with forever betrays his foreign extraction.

No ! Fellow-Citizens, you cannot be so odd as to vote for this man, whose very air, port, and gait are a burlesque upon all that's called republican, but himself.

No, no you will teach this man another odd lesson of humility—you will teach him to stand back a little—you will teach him this odd lesson ; not to aspire to hold on to the reins, before he has learnt to hold on to the crupper.

NO FOOTLICKER

1825

"It was the old thing, gay and splendid as ever. Gen. Lafayette was there, and all the 'big Bugs.'" Letter from Charles A. Foote, Washington City, to his sister Harriet, Delhi, New York, December 14 1825.

Dear Harriet.
I have just returned from Mrs. Adams'. It was the old thing, gay and splendid as ever. Gen. Lafayette was there, and all the "big Bugs." She always contrives some method of rendering her parties attractive. Last year she shewed Jackson on the 8th Jany. and now the Marquis.
It is to be hoped that another year will not change the scene as much as the last one has, for I imagine that as to her Talapoosic show, if she thinks anything about it, she wishes "her trump back again"— On August 9, 1814, the Creeks signed the Treaty of Fort Jackson, which ceded 23 million acres (93,000 km2) of land in Alabama and Georgia to the United States government] The old General [Lafayette] had his hands full again,—talked to everybody, and really appeared to be, what he seemed to be, a kind hearted fatherly old fellow, who had just returned among his friends and family after a long absence. I told him almost half a lie just to please him, that I had traveled almost a hundred miles to see him, and was disappointed after all. He was exceedingly sorry and very much obliged for the attentions and respect shown him, and ^"all^ that sort of thing" and one might have supposed there was something in it, if it had not been the same to every one. Now I presume, he did not know me from Adam's grandfather, and so with nine out of ten, whom he talked with. — But never mind, it all passes off, and helps to keep the thing agoing — — I had a letter to-day from Gen. Root, saying that Emma Wells is dead. I was about to say — poor girl! But there is no need for such an exclamation. She has made her escape, and for aught that we know in as good a time as it could happen. With respect to the little troublesome concern of this world, she can now say in the slang-phrase of Delhi— "that business is got along with." — I sat down to write you a long letter but it is too late. I feel very much like going to bed. Kiss the little ones for me. and with the usual commissions of love &c believe me
Your affectionate brother
Ch: A. Foote.

  • Katherine Adelia Foote's book on Ebenezer contains this letter, "As will be seen from the next, Charles was no stranger to Washington. Even before his election, business took him there, as well as to New York, for practice in the higher courts. I regret the slang, so different from the letters to Judge Foote, but one wrote differently to a sister, I suspect."

Other Primary Sources

"Foote finding himself not likely to support himself even by his name retired," Diary of Charles Francis Adams, Thursday. February 5th. 1824

I …returned home where I was shortly obliged to dress for dinner. The company consisted of Messrs. Holmes of Mississipi, Knight of Rhode Island and Ruggles of Ohio, Senators. Messrs. Archer of Virginia, Cassedy of New Jersey, Foote and Van Wyck of New York, Ingham and Stewart of Pennsylvania, Livermore and White of Vermont, Warfield of Maryland, and Wayne and Whittlesey of Ohio.

It is remarkable, that if the last dinner party was unanimous or nearly so against the bill of Roads and Canals this one was as strongly in favour of it and Mr. Whittlesey was very bitter about it, showing very plainly the feelings which actuate the Western people generally. They are considerably exasperated at the illiberality of the people on the sea board with a little reason I think. Mr. Foote of New York exposed himself considerably as he arrived here considerably intoxicated and declined eating any thing saying he had just dined. On the whole he appeared to possess the qualities of a gentleman to a great degree of perfection. Monsieur took it however in very good part, and laughed a good deal about him. This dinner was quite a pleasant one considering the general character of things of this kind. They are not pleasant to me as I have for the most part to break the ice myself with the person who sits near me. A circumstance which in a young man may appear rather presuming and which is sometimes repulsed and sometimes politely received. I know my motive to be good, and as I imagine myself generally conferring a favour, I persist. It is however a pretty hard task. After dinner we went upstairs and immediately some ladies and gentlemen came in, as Madame had wished to form a musical party this evening. Foote finding himself not likely to support himself even by his name retired. As did all the others of the party except Stewart who appeared pleased and stayed here the evening.

…Mr. Addington was here also and stayed till last. Two awkward circumstances occurred. Antonio came to extinguish the candles before he had gone and his carriage was announced to be ready two or three times. Retired in good season.

Bibliography of Foote Family Sources