Isaac Foote

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Isaac Foote 1835.png

Judge Isaac Foote, born Jan. 4, 1746 to Daniel Foote and Margaret Parsons.

He died 27 February, 1842 Smyrna, Chenango County, New York; buried in Smyrna West Cemetery, Smyrna, New York. [Findagrave id: 70294642]

He married Mary Kellogg at Colchester, Ct., May 31, 1768. She was the daughter of Jonathan Kellogg, Jr., of that place, and she was a descendant in the fourth generation of Joseph Kellogg, first of Farmington, Ct., and afterwards of Hadley, Mass. She died in Smyrna, Nov. 15, 1826, aged 82. [Foote Fam;84]


In the common schools of that town and in his early puritan home, he received that sound, but plain elementary instruction and that religious training which fitted him for a long life of practical usefulness, of strict integrity, and the most consistent piety.

In May, 1773, he removed from Colchester to what was called Square Pond Settlement, being within the limits of East Winsor, and bounding on West Stafford, Ct. In May, 1778, he removed to Stafford, and in the year 1779 he was by united application of the people appointed Justice of the Peace, which office he continued to hold until he removed from that state. He was frequently elected to represent the town of Stafford in the General Assembly of Connecticut, and was a delegate to the convention to consider the adoption of the Constitution of the United States. This was the character Judge Foote had attained at an early day in his native state. That he was a soldier in the Revolution is evidenced by the following extract from a letter written by him in the 87th year of his age, in 1832, to Hon. Elial T. Foote, and still preserved by a son of the latter, H.A. Foote, Esq., of New York, who has furnished the writer of this sketch with a copy of the same. He says:

"There was a mistake in the account that gives about Ebenezer's (Judge Foote 's younger brother, who was afterwards a prominent citizen of Delhi, Delaware County, where he was successively Member of Assembly, District Attorney, State Senator and County Judge,) swimming across the Hudson river in the winter. He was taken prisoner by the enemy at the evacuation of New York, I think in September (1776). I was there at the same time as a militiaman. He was taken by the Hessians in that retreat, but he got away from them and fled to the river, and he, with three others who made their escape, collected some logs and withed them together and shoved out into the river with setting poles, and the tide being going out then it wafted them toward the British shipping. Some people from the Jersey side seeing their condition manned a boat and went out and took them across to the Jersey side, and the next day they crossed back again and came into camp where I was."

No further evidence than this is needed of the fact that he was a patriot soldier in the stormy days of the Revolution. But to give a little further retrospective glimpse of the honorable ancestry of Judge Foote, we quote again from his letter above referred to, as follows:

"Grand father (Nathaniel Foote 3rd) was the first magistrate in Colchester, and sustained that office to a very advanced age; and my father (Daniel Foote), who was the third son, and always lived with him, succeeded him in that office, and held it about the same length of time."

The Judge in his worthy career was simply following on in the line of those who had preceded him.

Moving West to New York State

The graphic account of the removal of the family of Isaac Foote to what was then denominated the town of Sherburne, and of their movements for a few years prior thereto, is herewith given from the pen of Isaac Foote, Jr.:

"My father (Judge Foote) at an early day seemed to have an unconquerable desire to settle in some part of the then western country. In pursuance of this desire he joined a company in 1788 in the purchase of a very desirable tract of land adjoining the Susquehanna river in Wyoming County, Pa., but after spending two or three seasons at work preparatory to settle thereon with his family, the title proved insufficient, and he lost his land and all his labor, and several hundred dollars which he advanced in payment. Having sold his farm in Stafford, Ct., he purchased an hundred acres in Franklin, now Delaware County, N.Y., on which there was a log house and about 35 acres of cleared land, on to which he proposed to move his family and look for a better location. The fall after I was fourteen years old (1790) my father took me with a hired man and a team and a few cattle and set off for Franklin, intending to return for the family in the winter following. There was about 50 miles between Catskill and Franklin, where the State road was not cleared out so that a wheeled carriage could pass. We therefore left the wagon and took a few light articles on a sled and went through to Franklin. The first sleighing we returned to our wagon, put our goods on a sled and started back for Franklin — then a very new place. There was one place where there was ten miles between houses, and it was so that the day we passed over the ten miles was an uncommon cold one, and it was eight o'clock at night before we got through. Consequently I became so benumbed that I could hardly walk. My father hurried through about a mile and a half to the first house. My feet, hands and ears were badly frozen, so that coming to the fire put me in extreme pain. I will only add that we got to Franklin the next day.

"My father left me with a friend and returned for the family. But our misfortunes did not end here. When my father got home he found one of my sisters very sick, so that she could not be moved until the sleighing was gone; and then the neighbours, who were unwilling that my father and his family should move away, prevailed upon him to purchase a farm which was for sale at a low rate in that vicinity. "My father consequently returned to Franklin early in the spring, made arrangements for me to stay until June, and then take a pair of oxen and the horse, and as many articles as the team could draw on a sled and go to where the wagon was left and take as many things as the team could draw from there and so return home. I got home safe and had the credit of performing a service un usual for a boy of my age. ' ' My father being still bent on getting into some part of the western country, after improving his new farm awhile took a journey to Chenango; found the 8th township (present Smyrna) with but a very few settlers; made a contract for about 700 acres of land, returned home and made preparations for removing the family on to the 100 acres which he had previously purchased at Franklin, and there abide until he could complete arrangements for moving to the 8th township, (then part of Sherburne).

"In the year 1794, in August, my father hired a man to cut the timber on five acres, and sent me to cook and do what I could in the way of making preparations for removing the following winter, and he was to join us in two or three weeks and help roll up the logs for a house, and leave me to finish it as best I could. At this time there was a poor wagon road from Franklin to Oxford, and my father sent by a person going through with a wagon, a barrel with some meat, and some utensils for cooking, and also a bag of flour, to be left at Mr. Hovey's till called for by myself or his order. These articles were soon called for, and Col. Hovey sent the man who stored them to deliver them to me. They were put upon a sled, and supposed to be all right, (I had not seen the barrel which was sent from Franklin,) and we set forward. There was no road from Oxford to Sherburne excepting through what is now Norwich village, other than marked trees, and the underbrush cut out so that we could only get along with a sled, and we designed to get to a house four miles from our lot before dark; but in this we failed. Soon after sunset it grew very dark, and a heavy rain fell during nearly the whole of the night. We had a pair of oxen and a cow. We chained the oxen to a tree, secured our flour as well as we could, and waited for daylight. As soon as we could see to travel we set forward, and after travelling about one and a half miles we reached the house where we had contemplated arriving the night before. "After drying our clothes and getting breakfast, we set forward again and arrived at Mr. Joseph Porter's, adjoining our lot, where we made our home. But judge of our surprise, when on opening our barrel, instead of meat, we found a quarter of a barrel of hayseed! A blunder justly imputable to Col. Hovey's man and myself. But what must be donet It must immediately be carried back, and I must do it. I had to travel sixty miles on bare ground, but the business was soon done. "After a while my father came and helped to roll up the body of a log house, and then returned to Franklin, leaving me to finish it, which I did by changing works with a man who was doing a job of chopping about two miles distant. The house was finished and was called a good one. I remained on the lot until the latter part of December, and then went home to help move the family. As to the exact date of Judge Foote's arrival at his new home in the then town of Sherburne, present Smyrna, there are different statements, but Judge Foote himself, in a record made by him in the album of his grandson, John J. Foote, Esq., now of Belvidere, Ill., written at Smyrna, in the spring of 1832, says:

"In February, 1795, I removed to this place." And that may be taken as the absolutely correct date. The following further data is copied from the same record above noted: "In the year 1798 I was elected Member of the Legislature of the state, and procured the incorporation of the County of Chenango and was appointed First Judge of the Court of Common Pleas and General Sessions of the Peace, and in 1800 I was elected Senator for four years. And in 1806 I resigned the office of First Judge and retired from all public office."

In the above memorandum Judge Foote omits to state that in 1796, and the next year after his arrival, he was chosen as the first Supervisor of Sherburne, representing the town that year at the annual meeting of the Board held at Herkimer. And in the following year, 1797, he was appointed a Justice of the Peace for the town of Sherburne. Also he omits to state that his retirement from the office of Judge was by reason of his having reached the then constitutional limitation of sixty years of age, and not because of any inability on his part to discharge the duties of that office. Such promotion to public office and such oft repeated honors bestowed, and so soon after his arrival in that town and county, are remarkable and indubitable evidence of his ability and character, and that reputation was well maintained throughout his long and useful life. In fact, Judge Foote was a unique representative character of those early times, one of the best type of the sturdy sons of rugged New England who wrought well when ever work was to be done, and who helped to lay the foundations of the state and the nation. His religions faith was the strongest, most potent and controlling force of his life, and everything else was made subservient to it. While he was State Senator and County Judge he was active in the formation of the Society and Church on Sherburne West Hill, when the old records, largely preserved through h:s instrumentality, showed that he served as Trustee and Deacon and Clerk, some of the time filling all three offices. He was interested in every object which promised to conserve the best interests of the community where he lived, chief an1l first among which he evidently considered the Church, and to that he gave his strong and steady support. It is said of him that he was given "much to reading and writing, and especially to the study of the Sacred Scriptures, and commenting on the same, until wholly deprived of sight." The following quaint certificate of Judge and Mrs. Foote's early church membership is here given:

Stafford, 20th October, 1796. This certify, whom it may concern, that Isaac Foote, Esq., and Mary, his wife, were members in full communion in the church under my care and in good standing when they left this place. Esq. Foote was chosen a Deacon in this church and served in that office for a number of years before he left us, to universal acceptance. And is hereby with Mrs. Foote recommended to any Christian society or church wherever Providence may cast them. Attest, Isaac Foster, of the First Congregational Church, Stafford.

The above letter is doubtless the one presented by Judge Foote and his wife when they united with the Old Church on Sherburne West Hill, where they remained members until Mar. 4, 1831, when they, together with their sons, Isaac, Jr., Amasa, and Hiram, also Harriet, Sally Irene, Harriet (2nd), and Sally Kellogg (Mrs. Amasa) Foote, withdrew to join the Congregational Church at Smyrna. Judge Foote only had the benefit of the common school education of those primitive times, but that he improved it well there is abundant evidence. He was not an orator, but on occasion he was called upon to make public address. [Foote Fam;84–89]

Family information [Foot Fam;89]

Judge Isaac Foote, born Jan. 4, 1746; he died 27 February, 1842 Smyrna, Chenango County, New York; buried in Smyrna West Cemetery, Smyrna, New York. [Findagrave id: 70294642]

He married Mary Kellogg at Colchester, Ct., May 31, 1768. She was the daughter of Jonathan Kellogg, Jr., of that place, and she was a descendant in the fourth generation of Joseph Kellogg, first of Farmington, Ct., and afterwards of Hadley, Mass. She died in Smyrna, Nov. 15, 1826, aged 82. [Foote Fam;84]

  • i. Mary Foote, b. Feb. 27, 1769; m. Joseph Adams, a Deacon first of Hamilton, N.Y., afterwards of Sherburne, N.Y., Feb. 22, 1801. He was b. in New Ipswich, N.H., Dec. 13, 1765 ; d. at Sherburne, N.Y., Oct. 11, 1849. She d. Feb. 2, 1844. Ch.:
(1) Isaac Foote, b. Dec. 4, 1801, at Hamilton, N.Y.; Congregational clergyman; m. Laura Austin, Nov. 9, 1831; A. B., Hamilton College; he d. at Norwich, N.Y., Nov. 23, 1876. Ch.: (a) Charles S., b. Apr. 22, 1834, at Columbus, N.Y.; d. at Lahaina, Hawaii, June 21, 1861. (b) William P., b. Mar. 6, 1836; m. Jennie Dunning, of Manlius, N.Y., April 17, 1865; d. at Woodstock, Ill., Dec. 23, 1869. (c) John Milton, b. Nov. 19, 1837; d. at Eaton, N.Y., Aug. 11, 1840. (d) Joseph Henry, b. Dec. 21, 1839; d. at Horseheads, N.Y., Aug. 16, 1864. He was orderly sergeant of 38th Regt., N.Y. State Volunteers in Civil War. 1 dau. (e) Emily R., b. Mar. 1842; m. William C Korthals at Shanghai, China, Nov., 1870; d. at Heidelberg, Germany, Oct. 23, 1900. Ch.: (i) John, residing in Nice, France, (ii) Gertrude, m. and living in Heidelberg, Germany. (iii) William, d. . (f) Mary Alice, b. July 15, 1844; now living (July, 1906) at Battle Creek, Mich.; m. G.L. Marsh, June 9, 1886.
(2) Hiram Foote, b. Oct. 25, 1803, at Hamilton, N.Y.; physician; Fabius, N.Y.; m. Emily Rexford, of Sherburne, N.Y., Oct. 25, 1827. He d. at Fabius, N.Y., Mar. 9, 1865 Ch.: (a) Homer, b. Nov. 15, 1828; d. Aug. 3, 1867. (b) Mary, b. Sept. 8, 1832; d. Aug. 30, 1851. (c) Franklin, b. July 20, 1837; d. May 24, 1861. (d) Minerva, b. Aug. 21, 1839; m. Rial W. Talbot, Jan. 9, 1866; d. June 3, 1882. Ch.: (i) Maud E. Talbot, b. Jan. 10, 1870. (ii) Mary A. Talbot, b. Dec. 28, 1872; d. . (iii) Fannie E. Talbot, b. Oct. 20, 1874; d. Jan. 21, 1875. (iv) Edmund R. Talbot, b. Sept. 7, 1880. (Maud E. and Edmund R. Talbot are now (July, 1906,) living at Penn Yan, N.Y.) (e) Emily R., b. Sept. 22, 1847; m. Rev. Edmund M. Mills, Aug. 23, 1873; d. at Elmira, N.Y., Mar. 14, 1904.
(3) Mary Foote, b. Feb. 15, 1808, at Sherburne, N.Y.; m. Benjamin Pierce Johnson, of Rome, N.Y., Mar. 1, 1838, and d. at Albany, N.Y., Dec. 1, 1862. Benjamin P. Johnson died at Albany, N.Y., 1869. Graduated at Union College, class of 1815; attorney-at-law; secretary of New York State Agricultural Society. Ch.:
(a) Benjamin William Johnson, b. at Rome, N.Y., June 16, 1844; m. to Mary H. Bennett, dau. of Lorenzo Bennett, of Homer, N.Y., Nov. 11, 1868. Graduated at Hamilton College, class of 1865; now (July, 1905) assistant treasurer Albany Savings Bank, Albany, N.Y. Ch.: (i) Harriet Bennett Johnson, b. Oct. 31, 1869; res., Albany, N.Y. (ii) Florence Bennett Johnson, b. Sept. 16, 1872; res., Albany, N.Y. (iii) Benjamin Robert Johnson, b. Dec. 30, 1874; graduated at Hamilton College, class of 1897, and at the law school of Georgetown University, Washington, D.C., 1902; is practising law in Washington, D.C
(b) Gerrit Smith Johnson, b. at Albany, N.Y., Sept. 7, 1849; d. at Albany, N.Y., Jan. 22, 1851.
(4) Minerva Foote, b. at Sherburne, N.Y., July 7, 1811; d. at Norwich, N.Y., Mar. 30, 1887.
  • ii. Margaret Parsons Foote, b. Dec. 29, 1771; m. Jan., 1794, Henry G. Cady, of Monson, Mass. She d. 1862. Ch.: (1) Martin, b. . (2) Henry. (3) John Parsons. (4) Willard. (5) Isaac. (6) Sabra Green. (7) Mary Kellogg. (8) Julia. (9) Lucilla Stanley. 797.
  • iii. Isaac Foote, b. Feb. 22, 1774; d. in infancy. 798.
  • iv. Isaac Foote, b. Apr., 1776; m. Harriet Hyde, 1890-6. 799.
  • v. Amasa Foote, b. Mar. 23, 1778; m. Sally Kellogg, 1897-1903. 800.
  • vi. Ashael Foote, b. Aug. 19, 1783 ; d. Feb. 26, 1790. 801.
  • vii. John Foote, b. Apr. 30, 1786; m. Mary B. Johnson, 1904-14. 802.
  • viii. Hiram Foote, b. Aug. 22, 1789; m. Mary G. Strong, 1915-19.