Letters and Papers of Ebenezer Foote; 1795–1799

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About the Letters and their Locations

Letters and other written materials concerning the Foote Family can be read here. A small number of Foote family letters and papers were stored in a trunk belonging to R.W. Foote, which mainly held his letters and epaulets, etc. An additional trunk contained additional papers of Rensselaer's grandfather Ebenezer, his father, Charles A. Foote, his brother in law, Charles Marvine, some papers and clippings of Margaret Maxwell Marvin and Isaac Horton Maynard, and others of the family, along with the genealogical papers of Catherine Adelia Foote, assembled by her in the early twentieth century. There are newspaper clippings, business receipts and even a Masonic apron in the family collection, but in general, the bulk concerns personal matters and family concerns. Letters to be found today in libraries and other repositories relate to business, real estate and politics. A number of papers and significant autographs connected to both Ebenezer and Charles Augustus Foote were sold at auction in the 1940s by Frances Maynard Ford. Most of these are in the manuscript department of the Library of Congress, Washington D.C., but other letters reside at depositories around the Eastern U.S., especially Princeton University, the University of Virginia, Yale, the Franklin D. Roosevelt Library in Hyde Park, and even in Detroit and Florida. Due to their quantity, it is beyond my ability, or desire, to transcribe all of these papers. Many of them deal exclusively with real estate, legal proceedings in civil and estate cases, and business proceedings. Letters, papers and direct quotes from other sources dealing with family matters, politics and other pertinent material, will be transcribed and put on this website, as a kind of primary source portrait of this family. As additional relevant papers come to light, they will be transcribed here. Many of these letters, before they went out of the family, were transcribed by Katherine Adelia Foote in her book about her great grandfather, Ebenezer Foote, the Founder [abbreviated here as: EFtF, or kaf].

The Eighteenth Century

1795

Van Gaasbeck Peter, Letter to Ebenezer Foote, “N Burg 6 April, 1795"

I send you inclosed my last Will and Testament in favor of C.F. you will discover undoubtedly that it wants many Corrections Additions and amendments All which I submit to the Judgement and Care of yourself. . . I began Last night at Candle Lighting and finished by about two oClock. I have only Looked over the Last page — if I may Judge of the whole from the Mistakes made in that Bro Conrad will have a Devil of a Job to make the Corrections Necessary — he must mind and Strike out all Sentences which will Enable them to take the Law of me and put me to Damages. unless you and he will agree to pay it for I Cannot afford any. . .”

1796

“Burr is a Damd Cunning fellow. you know that.” Letter from Ebenezer Foote to Peter Van Gaasbeck, Sunday Feb 14th 1796:

My Dear Sir
I just take hold of my pen to tell you I am alive and Recd yours and the order in favour of [V/Nasntuyl?] — I have not got the Cash from Ra/umsen but all things shall be attended to immediately — my time has been taken up in the Business of the Mayor & it was Decided on Friday the petition was Dismissed. 51– to 10– The abolishon Bill I believe will not make much more Noise. it will hardly be Brot up again if it is will be Last — Our District will have three more Senators at Least if we adopt the [prossen?] plan — if so you must both watch and pray that you may be found with your Lamp trimd and Burning. three members are likely to be added to Ulster County in Assembly — therefore I say unto the Watch — I dined with Burr on friday wee toasted our friend Peter — your land as yet has tempted no one to make an offer — I am Standing by the Sideboard to write this — Fornication is in my mind and unless My Girl comes down I can not tell how to get it out — God Bless you and your Sally — Burr is a Damd Cunning fellow you know that — Love to all friends tell them every one that I mention all their Names to you — if it is a Lie — it will be forgiven — Adieu Bro Peter E. Foote

  • Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum, Hyde Park.

Letter from Peter VanGaasbeck Esquire, Merchant, Kingston," from Ebenezer Foote. 13 May, 1796:

I Recvd. [for.?] Dodge a Sort of a Dutch letter without any Date and as was to be Expected I Could understand about one half of it. I however learnt by it that your people are dispossed to [boss?] and [Dam?] me about that Insignificant [Thotteltas?] affiar. well if they Choose the[y] must Dam on I Cannot help it. this much I am Sure of I did nothing but what is Right — and furthermore any persons who are desposed to Condemn another without a hearing or without knowing what it is fore Cannot be very Good or honest men and Certainly they aught not to find any fault with Either the Mayor or Aldermen for if wee allow all that is Said of them to be sure they did no more than try Condemn and punish without having the Evidence. which your people are doing every day. and Still go on Cen[sur]ing others for doing it. I am at a Loss to know what your people should have against me particularly on account of that Business. unless it is Respecting the [Supprizing] testimony and if they are not Satisfyed with the Unanimous vote of the house that the insinuation was unfounded and Scandalous and that we had discharged our Duty with Integrity &c. I am Sure it will be out of my power to Say or do anything that will Satisfy them. It is and has always been my. study and pride to Conduct myself so as to meet the approbation of my friend in Kingston. but if they are not to be Satisfied with me unless I Step aside form the paths of Rectitude and integrity in order to Gratify any Sudden impulse of passion they may happen to feel, I am ...

they and me will Sometimes differ — for although I am a yankee I have some Little Scruples of Conscience about doing things that are Dishonest and Dishonorable and I am not yet so fond of pleas of trust to believe that all measures which may be taken to secure and obtain them are Honest — I have taken pains in this part of the Country to have that business Explained to the people in Such manner that I am very Sure the Majority of those who have uniformly been opposed to me are perfectly Satisfyed on that head — I think Addison ought to make a Statement of the proceeding (now Election is over) and publish them together with the Reasolutions of the House of the Subject, in your newspaper and if the [Country/Gentry] will not be satisfyed with it, let them in Gods name Remain unsatisfied. — I should with the Greatest pleasure Come up immediately and See you (as I want much to Converse with you) But I Cannot leave home at present. I have been so long absent that I must attend to Bussines. I intend however when the Curent Court Sets to Come and Spend a few days with you. I shall however Expect to see you here before that time. It is Necessary for us to See Each other — you are very diffident about writing to me that no bussines Can be arranged as it aught — by Letter and unless a Different System is adapted in Some Respects our political Fabrick in this Country will Crumble to Dust. a fairer oppertunity to break all Antifederal measures in this and of the Country never presented itself, tan has been this Spring and no advantage has been taken of it — Will God Bless and prosper you. because I believe you are a pretty Clever fellow
Adieu. Ebenezer Foote. Bro. Peter

  • New York Public Library

1797

Addressed Letter, from the Gaasbeck Collection, Franklin D. Roosevelt Library, Hyde Park, New York.

From Stephen Van Rensselaer, 10 Feb; 1797.

Dear Sir
Mr Justin Foote has lately communicated to me part of the Contents of a Letter written by you to him on a Subject of an interesting nature on which perhaps it is necessary that I should something to remove some suspicions ^but^ may perhaps have arisen in your Mind. I am well aware the Subject is a delicate one, and tho Caution ought to be observed on my part yet Candor seems to be necessary—
When your friendly note by your servant was handed to me, I was then busily engaged in arranging some papers which I was to take with me on the next morning to Orange County— I however resolved tho it was late at Night to write you a Letter which should contain a delicate allusion to the case, but not so pointed as to offend. Accordingly the enclosed was prepared in the presence of Mr. Foote. But in the Hurry of my business the next Morning having been obliged to set off more early than I expected, the Letter was forgotten & not sent— Mr Foote observing that I had not sent the Letter to his House & finding I was gone, wrote himself to you as he afterwards informed me. In your Letter to him he informed me you are desirous of knowing his Author, & perhaps you would wish to know mine. I shall only say at present that my Author is a person who feels the warmest affection for you, that he is a Brother, & that he has spoken to me on the Subject in a manner which will revise him in your esteem if you knew who he is, rather than excite any unfriendliness towards. If however it becomes necessary to have his name & you insist upon it, I do assure you, I shall comply— as I know that he has never made any improper use of what he supposed to be your Case.
I am, Sir with real Regard your’s
Newburgh S V Rensslr

  • The New York Public Library, Manuscripts and Archives Division. Letters to Peter Van Gaasbeek and Peter Marius Groen. (Purchased from Stan. V. Henkels, 1923. Compiled by Susan P. Waide, 2014).

1780

The Revolutionary Era

Ebenezer or Charles Foote wore this signet ring with a likeness of the Classically Roman Washington.

"From Captain Trotter, Brigade Major, with Guard for cattle," Monday Evening 2d Jan'y 1780 [6]:

Dr Sir. I had this day, previous to the receipt of yours, Ordered One Corporal and Six privates to Crom- pond, to be under your direction, as I thought you had that number there, and indeed informed the General you had,—they have seven days provisions with them, and mean to furnish you with that number untill countermanded,—beg you will not detain the men you have, as Constant duty is apt to create inattentiveness. I shall think myself extremely happy in your company and that of your lady on thursday next to dine, and give you a friendly Camp dinner,— wish I had it in my power furnish you with fare more delicate, but in our present situation, I think apologies needless. I am Dr
Sir with the warmest Sentiments of Friendship, Your most Obedient Hble Servant, John Trotter.

  • During 1780 Captain Foote was raised from the rank of captain to that of major—still with Crompond as his headquarters—until the unit to which he belonged was disbanded in 1782, pursuant to the gradual dismemberment of the army taking place after the formal acknowledgement of our independence by England which, it will be remembered, took place in 1781, though New York was not evacuated until 1783, and Irving tells us that it was not until 1785 that matters were in a very settled condition, notwithstanding the restlessness of the troops eager to get back to their homes and families.
I am putting capitals and spelling as I find them, both a matter of uncertainty in the early days, even with people of culture and station; history tells us and we know that many words obsolete now were considered in good form then.

Letter from Caleb Swan, West Point, to Ebenezer Foote, 6th January 1780

Dr. Sir. I have had the misfortune to loose thirteen head of the last drove Cattle which I had of you, if they have gone back to Crompond, likely some of your men have taken them up, if they have, or Should hereafter find any of them;—by Securing them till I can get them again you'll Greatly Oblige your Very Obedient Hum'le Servant, Caleb Swan, A.C. Issues.

  • In the next we hear something of Mr. Swan's cattle, a little confused but real information of what was happening to troops of 1780. [7]

Letter to Ebenezer Foote, Esquire, from William Frost, West Point Jan'y 7th 1780

Dear Sir.
The Eighteen Head of Cattle you sent me by Mr. Higgins with Commissary Swan's drove, with part of his that were not bro't over the River that Night, all strayed away, & the Eleven that my Corp'l bro't, twelve he said he received of you, but one of them was very lame and tired out [No wonder, walking from New England. —kaf] so he delivered him to Commissary Forsyth's clerk at Continental Village, and took a receipt for him in these Words, "Recev'd on Beef of Corp '1 Brumigion, in behalf of Commissary Forsyth, did not mention my name, which I suppose will not answer to make a Charge of, hope to see you here shortly. I have lost five in the whole, without counting Commissary Swans,—the Guard on the Issues let Eight run away the last night they were bro't on, and we hear they were seen almost to Crompond, going back—and I hope they did, as our People will bring them back again. Pray Sir be kind enough to write me a few lines if you send any more by Mr. Swan's butcher or mine, this time, than the Number they Receipt for now,—I mean of those that have Strayed away from us, that there may be no disputes when they arrive here.
Your ob't Hum'l Servant, William Frost.

  • The river mentioned was the Hudson, and Constitution Island in its midst made a break often mentioned in these letters—as the crossing on the flat scows used was a difficult matter, especially in the winter. Comfort Sands, who writes the next, had been one of the "Committee of 100," in 1775, and well known until his death. (Lossing, vol. 12; p. 793.)

Letter from Comfort Sands, Fishkill Jan'y 10 1780

Sir. Yesterday I came from West Point, and found that the Cattle you had sent there was not Merchantable. I desired Mr. Newcomb to take them, and have Appointed Appraisers, and if there was any more in your Drove not to fitt to kill, to take them the same way. Don't send any more that is not, but if more come to hand to you, do what you think best with them. I am mo't Hb'le servant. Comfort Sands.

===Letter from William Frost, West Point Jan'y 13, 1780. Dear Sir. Your favour of the 12th inst Received last Night, and humbly thank you for it, please send as many Cattle and Sheep as possable. I am very sorry you cannot give me an account of the Cat- tle lost, there is so much Dam'd Iniquity (Why Wm.!!) among the Drovers or in the Guards carelessness, that I am almost discouraged in sending after cattle at all. Pray Sir be kind enough to send a Bill of the No you now send, with my Respects to you, and am Your most ob't Hb'le Servant, Wm. Frost. [8]

Letter to "Mr. Foote, Division Commissary Gen'l Issues. Crompond," from Thomas Cartwright, "Headquarters," Highlands, Jan. 21 1780

Sir. Complaints have been lately made that the parties on the Lines, have suffered for want of Provisions. Mr Gen Heath requests that you would pay particular attention to the advanced post, and keep it well supplied with Cattle as from time to time may be necessary. I am Sir, Your ob't Servant, Th. Cartwright, Aid de Camp.

  • The Quire of money alluded to in the next does not sound as strange as it would have before our German brethren began to trifle with their currency, but Continental or paper money was a sorry joke for the soldiers of 1780.

Hartford Jan'y 26, 1780

Sir. By Mr. Moss I send you a Quire of Money to deliver to the drovers as they return, to pay for the Expense of their droves,—you will be careful to take their Receipts, which you will send me after you have paid it all out, & I will send you Mr Moss' rec't to exchange for yours—you will leave notification at Mr Boyd's and Cap't Drake's for the drovers to Call on you for Money, as they return from Headquarters. I am with respect yours and Mrs. Foote's Hb'le servant, Julius Deming, C. P. (Julius was a relative. —Kaf)

Camp Highlands Jan 30 1780

Sir. The Difficulty that Attends Procuring Salt Provisions at this Present time, Necessitates me to Apply to you for Fresh Beef. When I saw you the other Day I was not Sensible of being in want so soon, but as I can have no Supply from Fishkill of Salt Provision I am under the greatest Necessity, therefore if it is not in your Power to Send twenty or thirty head, a Less Number might answer a Noble Purpose. I am Sir, your very Hub'l Servant Joshua Harding.

Fort Arnold Feb 27 1780

Sir. I would take it as a favour if you would let me know by the first Opportunity, if I can employ a butcher to kill for the tropps I serve,—as those I now employ, will be discharged the service in a short time, also what price is allowed. I am Sir Your Hb'le Servant Sam'l Marshall.

  • Irving and others tell us that General Washington's plans were constantly overturned by the generally short terms of enlistments. No sooner were the raw troops trained to their new duties, than their time was out, and new recruits had to be broken in. Asa Worthington was a Colchester boy, and an intimate friend.

Camp Feb. 1780 [10]

If Brother Foote will be so kind as to send the Continental Horse to span the one I have, he will much oblige me. I want to send the sleigh to the Barracks, to have some rods fixed to it, and wish to have a pair of gallant horses. The ladies expect the company of Mrs. Foote this aft, and I will send the sleigh for her if it returns in time, as I make no doubt it will do. Yours Asa Worthington.

  • Ebenezer seems to have been the only one married among the Colchester boys, and also from letters it seems that all three lived in houses instead of barracks. The next indicates that Ebenezer and his wife had gone to Squire Daniel Foote's at Colchester to pay a visit; speaks of the Staff Department of which Asa as well as Ebenezer was a member; and recalls the fact of how many were serving with no pay for even ordinary everyday expenses.

Morristown Apr. 30, 1780

Dear Sir. Your favour of the 4th inst, I have with pleasure rec'd, and this is the first opportunity of conveyance since it came to or I should have paid an earlier attention to answering it. It is uncertain whether I remain in office this summer or not. We have now a committee of Congress in town to make good the depreciation, and regulate the Staff Departments. If they allow me a generous pay, I am at their service,—if they continue their usual parsimony, I am as much at my own. I have at least served them long eno for nothing, & think it time now to be paid. My compliments to Mrs. Foote, hope she experienced no events that might make her repent the ride (on horse- back, West Point to near New London. —kaf) [11] and make my Devoirs to the good family where you are. Adieu. Asa Worthington.

  • Asa wrote on April 30, about the committee of Congress being in Morristown to arrange certain matters.

On July 25, three months later, he writes:

The Committee of Congress are so far from Compleating a few matters relative to my department, that they have only begun to form a system for the Commissary General of Purchases at Large,—this day—when they will compleat it, is —I believe, equally beyond my wisdom or theirs to determine. I am not certain but the French Troops will send you a quantity of soup, as will leave you but little to do in the beef way. When I was at West Point the other day, I left my bridle at Col. Brookes' if you have a safe opportunity, will thank you to forward it as I have to ride with a halter. God save me from the gallows. In haste, Asa Worthington.

The West Point Conspiracy

  • I can find no more until August, but this brings us to an important epoch in history, viz., the accession of Arnold to the command of West Point. It will be recalled that earlier Arnold had been tried by a court martial and although, through the efforts of General Washington the sentence had been a nominal one, the self-esteem of Arnold was touched and vowing vengeance he cast about for ways and means. History tells us that probably as soon as the project occurred to him, he began a correspondence with Sir Henry Clinton, relative to the delivery of West Point, the most important fort of the Northern Army forces— and really the key to all—into the hands of England. As a requisite step to the completion of his plans it was necessary that he gain command of the place. This was most difficult we are told, but finally by artifice he succeeded in persuading General Washington to comply—the latter having no suspicion of Arnold's disloyalty and little foreseeing what was to follow—at last signed the order, and Arnold took possession on August 3d, 1780. His headquarters were established at Robinson House, the handsome residence of Beverly Robinson, who, shortly before, after efforts to avoid it, had been convicted of disloyalty and the estate confiscated.

The house was not far from Crompond, and family tradition says that constant communication took place, both official and [13] friendly, between the two Connecticut men. But alas, with thousands of other letters, from Washington down to persons of little importance, preserved by Judge Foote, and a common subject of conversation with the elders of his family during his life, no proofs are left except the comparatively few contained in this volume. All through my girlhood the trim cases stood, from floor to ceiling, filled with the precious letters, which must have been mutely beseeching us to want and care for them, but all were too busy, and now I, at least, am filled with unspeakable chagrin over having helped to lose the treasures that at last have come to seem priceless to his family, if to no one else. We loved the traditions but were willing to take them on hearsay, instead of looking for ours ourselves, until fifty years after Ebenezer's death the house was sold, the letters destroyed, and opportunity fled forever. As I am about to die, I have determined to take the time and save from oblivion a good many facts concerning the life and times and friends of a man who was a soldier in the Revolution, a man of affairs in the State, and who died here at Delhi, New York, in 1829.

Arnold took possession of West Point on Au- gust 3d. Whether he had set to work at once to produce an impression of great activity, or if the Congressional Committee, after three months, had thought best to appear busy, I know not, but on August 8th, several letters of elaborate new instructions are sent Captain Foote, so exactly like the old ones for all your humble scribe can see, that one should suffice for all. [14]

Peekskill, August 8th, 1780

Sir. You are hereby requested to take Charge of Supertending Cattle for the Troops, agreeable to the annexed directions from the Commissary General of Purchases,—Ephraim Blaine. In ad- dition, you will deliver what Cattle may be neces- sary for supply at the post at Continental Village, —Kings Ferry—and the detachment on the Lines, which is on this side the Hudson river. You will pay the strictest attention to these directions, and advise me as often as maybe, of the state of your supplies, and situation. Your Obt serv't Asa Wokthington. N. B. The person you fix at West Point, will be entitled to one ration of Provisions per day. A. W. Asa's official and personal letters are of quite different types, as see the following. Scrowlingsburgh, 1st Sept. 1780. Dear Eben. Your favour per bearer, came safe to hand. D'n the farthing of Cash I've seen since I saw you, except two hundred dollars I won of Deming and Bigelow yesterday, at All Fours. Whatever instructions you have had from Col Blayne, must be your guide, as well as those rec'd from the Commanding officer. In great haste, yours &c. Asa Worthington. N. B. Davie is as dead as Hell. He breathed his last 7 days ago, in the arms of Bigelow. A. W. The next is endorsed: "From Capt. Henry Champion, P. C," which means Commissary of Purchases.

Colchester Sept 12 1780 [15]

... I am exceedingly mortified that it is out of my power to send you any Continental Cash. Every endeavor which I could make has hitherto proved unsuccessful, & yesterday I had an Express arrive frm Boston, (where has been my greatest dependence) informing not a shilling can be obtained. It is really strange but true, that with orders on several states for 6. or 8. million dollars, I can't obtain eno' for your demands. I sincerely thank you for your attention to my interest in putting into your acct, which I settle,— what services you can. I'll discharge the first money I get, and no means shall be left untried to obtain it. I am Sir with regard, your ob't serv't Henry Champion.

  • My disappointment is great, that I have so few letters of August and September, 1780, from Arnold's command at West Point to Andre's capture, September 23. Did the most methodical of men preserve them, and someone else not recognizing their value allow them to be destroyed? And also it is more than probable that in a journal that Ebenezer kept during his army days, these events were chronicled, and would have seemed invaluable to some of his descendants. My father as a boy and young man remembered it well, but later in life when he came to the point of wanting to read it carefully and make sure of its contents, it had disappeared, and he was never able to find any trace of it again.
One detail we get from an article by Judge Dyckman of White Plains, published in July, 1889, in the Magazine of American History, edited by Miss Martha Lamb. As a member of a Westchester family he liked to unearth items of [16] happenings of his own "terrain" and as Judge he possibly had easier access to old documents than most people. However this may be, I was intensely interested in 1889, on taking up an odd number of the above-mentioned magazine, to find my relative's name in one of the series of articles entitled, "The Last Twelve Days of Andre." To add to my other infinite regrets, a friend of mine, and also of Judge Dykman's, was also interested in the article, and said she would take pains when next I came to town that we meet, but alas, we never did, they both died, and I am unable to find as I might have from him, two facts which I know to be true, first the short details of Ebenezer's testimony at the trial of Hett Smith, which I once saw in a book at the Public Library in New York, copied and then lost and have never since been able to find the book again; second what Pierre or Philip Van Cortlandt said of Ebenezer in a speech in 1837.
What Judge Dyckman wrote I will give next, as a prelude to the very few letters left of this exciting period, in my possession.

Magazine of American History, July, 1889, by Judge J. O. Dyckman:

... At King's Ferry (now Garrison's) Andre crossed to the Westchester side, to Verplanck's Point, thence up the King's Ferry road to the Albany Post Road, then to Peekskill, thence to Crompond Corner, about eight miles from Verplanck's Point. In the early morning of the 23d Sept., accompanied by Joshua Hett Smith, and a colored servant,—at Crompond Corners, they were stopped by a sentinel in the road, and taken to Captain Ebenezer Foote, who had a guard there at that time. [17] It was still so early in the morning that Captain Foote could not read the pass without the aid of a lamp. (Note. Having done so and knowing well both Arnold and his signature, suspected nothing and allowed the party to pass on. –kaf) Smith made particular inquiry respecting the troops which were stationed below, and Captain Foote informed him that there were no troops on that line, except the cavalry of Col. Jamieson, some miles east of Pine's Bridge.

  • I had hoped to learn more of this occasion from some of the papers used, but was told that none of them had been kept. Beside Judge Dyckman's article, I append the lamentably few letters which have been preserved to me of Captain Foote's part in this momentous epoch. There used to be two from Arnold, in bygone days, but only one remains to me. The date is just a month after Arnold had been given the command at West Point. General Washington had set out on the first of September for Hartford, where he was to hold a conference with the French officers, and this would greatly simplify plans, making Arnold Commander in Chief until his return. Always astute, he recognized that the crucial moment had arrived, and besides hasty verbal commands he probably wrote many other orders as incisive as the one which follows.

Headquarters Robinson House September 4 1780. Sir

The Enemy from their Preperations seem to have some important movement in Contemplation, their Object may be an Attack on these Posts but illy supplied with Provisions, I much desire therefore, You will make every possible Exertion to hurry on the Cattle designed for the [18] Main Army. I have reason to believe the Garrison here will be greatly augmented. (Note. If his plans succeeded as he hoped, it certainly would be—by British soldiers. –kaf) The demand for Cattle will of Course be greater, and if we are not better supplied in future, than we have been for some Time past.—in Case these Posts are invested, they will be lost,—as well as the Garrissons, for Want of Provisions. I am Sir, Your Humble Servant, B. Arnold.

  • From the following we see that Ebenezer had replied to Arnold's letter of the 4th, just transcribed, on the next day, and taken occasion to complain of the intrusion of one of the other commissaries, Stevens, into his affairs. The letter practically acknowledges that Stevens had been sent by Arnold with the letter. Why did Arnold write an urgent order, and at the same time send Stevens to tamper with a fellow officer's command? Only his feverish haste to begin acquiring everything possible before the eventful moment of surrender, I think we may suppose.

Headquarters Robinson House, Sept 8 1780

Sir. I am directed by Major General to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of the 5th, and to inform you that Mr Stevens conduct though not strictly regular, agreeable to the Powers of Issuing Commissaries,—was very justifiable on the Principle of Necessity, inasmuch as you were absent, and no person could inform him to what place,—it was necessary he should give directions for supplying This Post with Cattle, as it would have been left without Provisions of the meat kind. I have this day given orders that you be furnished with an addition of one Corporal and four men to your [19] Guard, as this is all that can be spared at present, your Humb'le Servant Richard Varick.

  • Ebenezer's office was one of much responsibility. He had to cover posts in three counties, and the accounts were difficult. Cattle counted and shipped in good order from New England, and other points, strayed off along the route, jumped overboard while crossing the Hudson, developed illness, and otherwise deported themselves in unseemly ways, generally unanimous in but one thing, viz., failing to round up according to schedule at their destination, and causing all those responsible for them endless trouble. Five days later, Arnold again sends personal orders through his Aide-de-Camp to hasten supplies.

Headquarters Robinson House, Sept 13 1780

Sir. Two Milch cows are immediately wanted for the Flying Hospital. The General therefore de- sires that you will pick two which give the most milk, from the first droves that come to your hands, and send them to this place without Delay. Your Hub'le Servant Richaed Varick.

  • The pass which was shown Captain Foote at Crompond is put in all accounts of the occasion, but may be new to someone and I include it.

Headquarters Robinson House, Sept. 22 1780

Permit Mr John Anderson to pass the guards to the White Plains, or below if he Chuses, He being on Public Buisness by my direction. B. Arnold, M[ajor] Gen.

  • Mr. Irving in his "Life of Washington" says the latter wrote to Colonel Jameson, "Send Mr. [20] Andre to this place by some upper road, rather than by Crompond." One of the few treasured letters I have relating to Andre, is the following from Alexander Hamilton, and about which controversy has arisen as to the exact meaning—a hundred years after it was written.
The tradition has come down that at the time of Andre's capture, E. was temporarily, with others, put on Washington's personal Staff, and he was raised to rank of major at that time, as we have proof, but if he was sent an "Officer with a Flag of Truce," it was certainly a new responsibility, and when the sentence from Irving was found, it seemed to belong to my letter, although it may be fallacious reasoning—I have come to believe that Mr. Hamilton's note means that General Washington had written Ebenezer a personal note (which Ebenezer did not receive) relative to conduct, when Andre should reach Crompond, but later changed his mind, and sent Hamilton to confirm the letter, of change of route, who, understanding all the circumstances, wrote Captain Foote my note, which follows.
Major Foote thus endorsed Colonel Hamilton's letter: Rec'd from Col. Hamilton, Aide to his Excellancy, Sept 28 1780. ordering the return of the Flag of Truce, sent out from New York on acct of Arnold's desertion.

Continental Village, Sept 28. 1780

Sir. Your letter to the General was delivered me on the road. You will on receipt of this, permit the Officer with the Flag to return, delivering him the enclosed letter.

"Capt says reports about a Spanish war are various,— but it was all preparation for war when he left England." Letter to Ebenezer Foote, "New York" from his brother Justin, in Winton or Murfreesboro, North Carolina, 16 Sept 1780

Dear Eben. Been too busy since my arrival from Carolina to write, but thank Heaven The Harlequin (one of his trading vessels) sailed this day with a fair wind, and in good order, and I take passage for [37] Guilford this aft. Met P Van Gas Beek,—a plain honest, genteel Dutchman. A brig arrived from London last night, Capt says reports about a Spanish war are various,— but it was all preparation for war when he left England. A letter from France, mentions all peace between Spain and England.
More than brotherly affection from Justin.

  • Eli, older brother and the father of Roxana Foote Beecher, as well as Justin, had gone into trade in Carolina, doing well, and on the point of coming home for a visit when stricken with fever and died with accounts all awry, which forced his wife and large family to find a home with Mrs. Foote's father, Gen. Andrew Ward, the other grandfather of all the Beechers, to be born later on. I have already copied letters written from New Brunswick, so that Ebenezer must have begun some small trade in furs before the letter of John Jacob Astor, the first, which follows:

"This I thought extravagant," Letter from Eli Foote to his younger brother, Ebenezer, Guilford, Connecticut, 5 October, 1780:

Dear Brother.
...Should have answered sooner, if I could have satisfied you respecting a carriage. Am now to Inform that have made Enquiry here and there is none to be had except second hand, which am not able to say if it will suit you. If you will be so good as to take your route this way on your return, may be had.
I wrote to Mr Clarke of New Haven, he informs that a new one could not be had under $2,120, this I thought Extravagant. Yours Eli

Eli Foote, Ebenezer's brother and one of the twelve children of Daniel, whose daughter, Roxanna, married Dr. Lyman Beecher and became the mother of the clever Beecher tribe—Henry Ward, "et al." I know not why my people should have wanted to set up the very unusual luxury at that date of a carriage, but Jerusha had her own money, and may have become tired of always riding. The price was undoubtedly paper money. [kaf]

Letter from Asa Worthington, to Ebenezer Foote, 18 October, 1780:

Camp Preakness Oct 18 1780. Dear Sir. Business would not permit my coming from Colchester by way of Fishkill as I had proposed. —wish to hear how Dan Watrous is, whether mending or not. The bearer brings your watch. ... In haste, your obt servant. Asa Worthington.

Letter to Ebenezer Footer from Hendrick Wyckoff, Oct 18, 1780

Sir. Have just come in from Fredericksburg, so many Cattle coming in have not time to come to you. Have no place to put droves, can you re- ceive any, should be glad, ... If it be not too much trouble, will you come and spend a few hours with me.

In great haste, your most obt. Humble servant. Hendrick Wyckoff.

Letter to Ebenezer Foote from Asa Worthington, Dec 24, 1780

Dear Brother [Masonic brothers were referred to this way –kaf]. I will thank you to engage Mr. London to send to Albany by the next post, for a Black Martin Skin well dressed with the furr,—for the purpose of binding a Vest. I want it of the best Kind,— and wish to have it as soon as possible. It is a matter of doubt whether I ever get from West Point,—but I assure you my inclination will make every effort to take off with myself as soon as possible.

I am cordially yours. Asa Worthington.

Asa writes:

No Thanksgiving here!!!! what a people!!!! Conn, wouldn't stick at having half a dozen,— however to my joy, the lads in Blooming Grove are planning a dance where I shall be a partaker. General Heath wants to know if he can have a milk cow, and Colonel Blaine writes about cattle stolen by Hasbrouck. After business about the droves,

  • Asa wishes to be in the "mode." [kaf]

1781

Daniel Watrous writes: West Point. Jan. 5th 1781

... I intended to carry this to you myself, but having no horse at the moment, old age and infirmities would overtake me if I tried to walk...My most respectful compliments to Mrs. Foote and Miss Foote (a sister). Pray when shall you be at this place. With Esteem, your obt. Daniel Watrous.

Blooming Grove, Jan. 9th 1781

Dear Sir. I am no longer a Staff Officer. Yesterday was the happy day when I began to anticipate the pleasures of freedom, and my resignation given and accepted. Col. Blaine quits the Department the first of March. He appears to pay the greatest attention to our wants...In extreme haste your obt. Asa Worthington.

Mrs. Foote's relative, Major Joseph Strang, is now State Member from Westchester, and writes of the well known mutiny, quelled by Gen. Philip Schuyler's prompt action. Albany Jan. 1781.

Sir. Possibly before this reaches you, you will be informed, our troops which lay at Sihenctida! on the 24 inst, began to mutinise, they have not beer very disorderly, neither have they refused to let their officers come among them. The reasons they assign, are want of flour, with long arrears of pay... In order to quiet them Gen. Schuyler and some other gentlemen have undertaken to purchase some flour on their own credit, and two Commissioners appointed to liquidate their claims, therefore hope that things will soon be settled.
Sir your most obt humble servant, Jos. Strang.

27 chester lads, but continues to influence his friendships through life. The Colchester youths we are hearing about seemed to have been in advance of their time, full of spirit and humor, but not one thing to indicate wrong-doing.

West Point March 3d 1781

Sir. The inoculation of such of the troops as have not had the smallpox being on the point of taking place at the New Hampshire huts,—the gen directs that you will please supply Dr Eustis with such quantity of beef cattle as may be necessary for the patients while under the operation. Sir. Your obt, Servant. H. Sewall, Aide de Camp.

Letter to Ebenezer Foote, Colchester Apr. 13 1781.

Dear Sir. Reapeated losses, Idleness, and the love of the Bottle, have reduced me to the lowest State of Indigence.—I will tell you plainly I have spent all my money, and not only that, but I have engaged to raise a very considerable sum of Hard Money soon which obliges me to wish to dispose of Sir Harry, to raise a part. I have had repeated offers to sell him, but I could not gain his consent,—he is very loath to be sold, and I am as unwilling indeed, but I have determined to sell him against his will,—instantly. I imagine he would be nearly willing to be sold at Fishkill, as his parents live at Aaron Van Vlackrens.
Beg you to make a market for him if Possible, and write me by first post. Perhaps if you inform his father, he can find a Master that would suit the boy. He is an exceedingly fine healthy boy, 14 years old large of his age,—my price is £70 which I could have taken if I would have Sold him Against his will,—but I would take something less if I could find a place that would please him.
I am Sir with Esteem, your obt, Daniel Kellogg.

  • This is addressed as others often were, "Col. Ebenezer Foote, Fishkill," and though one despises the acts, there seems to me something quite touching about the letter, and I hope any reader will be as filled with pity as I have been on reading it—the interest is in the slave, and absence of prohibition of the early days.
  • The two following were written on the same day. Dan on furlough, and as pleased thereat as usual, and both filled with the usual boyish chaff (none of them was much over 20).

Letter to Ebenezer Footer from Daniel Watrous, Colchester June 3d 1781

Dear Sir. I arrived at this place the third day after my departure from your Quarters, performed the journey with great cheerfulness, and have been no stranger to diversion since my arrival at Elysium, and the Beauties of Spring are not confined to the flowers of the field, I think. I had the pleasure the evening before last to receive your Letter of the 29th, ult. and strictly observed the contents and am very happy in hearing that you have not moved your quarters to Poughkeepsie. As to your being destitute of Cash and Grogg, I fear I cannot at present, feel so sensibly for you as I shall on my return. Have obeyed your orders in regard to issuing Warrants for Worthingtons Damnation, which has employed me busily in my Leisure hours,—think there is a prospect of Cash by & by, concerning which Worthington will write you. Expect me back by the 15th inst.
I am Sir your most Sincere friend and Hub'le Servt Daniel Watrous.

Letter from Asa Worthington, Colchester "Sunday after Church," June 3d 1781

That my Brother can swear I am now fully convinced, I used to think him proficient, but now find him an adept, & I am of opinion he ought to be under full Pay, and Rations. All this takes its rise from a perusal of your letter to Dan Watrous, which he showed me as we came out of Church, about one hour and a half, and twenty one minutes ago (with our pockets full of Grace) —but—for a D'd hole in my pockett,—my Grace and my penknife, have experienced one fate, and both have gone to the Devil.
Brother Champion has Promised he will send you some of the Needful, as soon as it is in his power. He now gets nothing but State lumber, nor that neither, but I am told the present sessions intend to emit another Bank, if so, 'tis hopefull we shall have money again. What value they mean to put upon it is undetermined, but I conclude it will bear the current price of paper at the retail shops. Am happy you are likely to live till fall, and hope you will be in no jail but Mrs. Footes till the consummation of all things.
What Lady did you mean, give your reason with that brotherly freedom which ever charmed me.
Cordially yours, Asa Worthington.

General Washington gives a kindly order to Major Foote at Col. Hammond's. Headquarters. July 28 1781

Dear Sir. His Excellency requests you to deliver the bearer, Mrs. Brush, she is proving her property, two cows that were taken by the Army from Morrisania,—the cows were taken by the Refugees some time since.
I am dear Sir, your most obed't Servant. David Cobb, L't Col. Aid de Camp to ye Commander in Chief.

  • The next is addressed to "Ebenezer Foote, at Headquarters." It is from Oliver Phelps, State Agent, about receipts he has lost or mislaid, or something—too long to copy. One omitted from Asa, says the Lodge has been "Constituted," Brothers Little and Coleman, Wardens, and Coldridge and Worthington, Secretary and Treasurer.

Camp 5th August 1781

Sir. The cow you were so kind as to offer me the other day, I should wish sent by the bearer,—the one sent me by Col Stewart, is so wild she will not answer to keep in Camp, if the one you send sutes, I will call and Receipt for her. You recollect my Speaking to you about the horse you were then on,—I have one which appears to be a Dead Match,—will you sell him, or exchange for a horse much Larger, nearly 5 years old. Your answer will oblige Yours Sincerely, Jn Glover, B. General.

  • Daniel writes to his son, mentioning some light literature he had struck off and read to Ebenezer, by way of amusing him on one of his infrequent furloughs.

Letter from Daniel Foote, Colchester, Connecticut, to his son, Ebenezer, August 20 1781

Dutiful Son. ... Do you remember when you were here, hearing me read some observations about Original Sin,—you manifested a liking to them and Inclination to have them made Publick, which I then declined, but upon further thought, have sent you a Copy of them to Peruse, and Liberty if upon advising with proper persons, you shall see fit, to Publish same, (secreting the author).
I remain your loving Father Daniel, Foote.

Family and Business Letters

1782

Young Justin writes, giving us a glimpse of a dress of the period. Justin Foote, letter to his brother, Ebenezer, Colchester Dec 5th 1782.

Dear Brother. Yesterday Capt. Deming returned from New London where he attended a Vendue, and saw Rum sold for 8/2 by the hog'd, Common proof and other things in proportion. On account of late news from Boston Tea has kept to 12/10, Coffee 2/- lb, Chocolate, 1 /4 per cake. Capt. Deming and Brother Ely, set out for Boston this morning. When Ely is equipt for riding, I think he has the resemblance to Sancho Panza. He has got him a new coat of thick brown coating, lined with baize, a broadcloth jacket, with a pair of corduroy breeches, and over them, large pair made of thick coating, buttoned to the knees, instead of strings & to top all, his neck muffled up with red baize.

From your friend, Justin Foote.
  • In 1782 Elisha Foote of Colchester, Conn., married Phebe Sabin of the same town. The boy Justin speaks of in the next letter, 1783, became the Hon. Judge Elisha Foote of Cooperstown, N.Y., where he died.

1783

Colchester 9th April 1783

Dear Brother, ...Our cousin Elisha has got a boy, and Sabin s has put the gran C? upon him, whether he has paid the money or given his obligation for it, [33] I do not know. Your cane head I shall get from Mansfield, the first opportunity. Your friend Justin Foote.

  • General Van Cortlandt and Ebenezer were excellent friends as I know from many sources, but the only letter I have is on the subject of pork. In Westchester annals Mrs. Foote's ancestor, Daniel Purdy, is set down as buying a thousand acres of the Cortlandt Manor in 1760 and we find her father paying rent for his lands, presumably the whole or a part of the thousand acres which his grandfather, Daniel, bought, as it is in exactly the same location. It should be remembered that none of the great manors gave warranty deeds, and undoubtedly Daniel and Abraham and all the others continued to pay rent until the 1840's, which saw the Anti-Rent uprisings, during which the clever, brave young Osman Steele of Delhi was shot down at Andes, in 1845, while in the performance of his duty as an officer of the law, by the pseudo Indians, in ambush there.

1784

Manor of Cortlandt. Feb 27 1784

Sir. Being under the necessity of going to New York this morning, and fearing least my family should want provisions before my return, makes me take the liberty to request you will deliver the bearer, one barrel pork,—which I will call and pay for on my return, about the 15 March. I shall place dependence to have the other barrels you may have to spare.

I am Sir, Yours most Sincerely. Philip Cortlandt.
  • We know that Major Foote after the war started as a merchant at Crompond, and later several places, [34] at Newburgh and surrounding small villages [Marlboro?—dff]. This is addressed to Hanover and may mark the year when he finally left Crompond. The next may be of interest in reference to the smallpox, one of the deadly scourges of those days. —kaf

Letter from Justin Foote, Colchester Connecticut, August 6. 1784:

Dear Brother I want you to advise me about having the small pox, I think it necessary to have it somewhere. Yours, Justin.

  • In the next Justin sends 8 loaves sugar and 1 box tobacco. The pistole was a Spanish coin much in use at the time, and generally accepted as proper currency, as were many other foreign pieces.

Justin Foote, letter to his brother, Ebenezer, New York April 23 1784

Dear Ebbe. I send you by the bearer, 8 loaves sugar, & 1 box tobacco, as per bill.—the pistole you sent, Miller refused to take,—I enclose it & the bill. Friend Storrs is in town and well. Tell Mrs Foote I could get no teapots except plain ones, so did not get any. Justin.

1787

"Care of Doctor Wainwright, Queens St." 10 Dec. 1787,

Theodorus Bailey sends a letter speaking of the Hasbrouck Business, "I want to see you as soon as possible to confer with you on the business of Hasbrouck and others. I have obtained a Rule at the last Court, to compel the putting in of Bail," etc., etc. Theodorus Bailey is often spoken as P.M. in New York in 1804, and this might easily be the same man. But why a Hasbrouck Matter, concerning which I have two or three letters dated before the war was ended, should still be carrying on, I cannot see, but it sounds the same, and yet I have too little evidence to put in the long letter from Mr. Bailey. The next is the first one I have of numberless letters sent by the writer, until his death a politician, a merchant, a good man of Kingston, N. Y.,[36] but coming to grief at last in business.

Dear Brother (Mason). I am anxious to hear from you, where the Devil are you and Delamater, can't you give us something to amuse us send an old magazine if nothing else. Now more serious,—I will give you a History Compleat from here next week, by De Zerg Most effectionately
Peter VanGas Beek.

  • Miller tobacco £2. 2.6. Hoffman Sugar £3.13.8.

1788

  • June 10, 1788, Peter Frazier acknowledges receipt of "3 doz Martin skins, & 6 Otter skins," which he had given James Geiger to be sold, "Mr. Geiger lives next door but one to Mr. Scotts. M! The letter is addressed to Mr. Foote, "at McPhersons Coffee House. St. John. New Brunswick. By this we see that as well as by the one letter left of Mr. Astor's, that furs were still in mind, [35] but they evidently came to nothing, or instead of the lime which melted in storage, the horses which died, or the butter which spoiled before it was sold, he might have a very small fraction of the money which Mr. Astor did.

Newburgh Jan. 10, 1788

  • A meeting was held at Peter Nestell's house, to establish a Free Mason's Lodge, in the Precinct of Newburgh. Mr. Ebenezer Foote was chosen chairman, and begged to petition the Grand Lodge for a Warrant. Next Thomas Roche deplores the fact that he left town without paying his indebtedness, and trusts that his friendship will not be given up. As Ebenezer's friends, we find from many records, rarely paid their debts to him in 1788, or before or after, we may assume that Thomas was forgiven as usual.
  • Ebenezer was very much installed at Newburgh by this time, as merchant, supervisor, on school board, in church, and in the general politics which were to send him to the county, nameless as yet, where he died. In the next we hear of the perils to be encountered in going a short distance back from the river, if a storm occurred.

1790

Kingston Oct 25. 1790:

Dear Sir. ... It grieved me that I was absent when your brother arrived yesterday, as it deprived me of his company, he having engaged to dine with the Royal Family of this place—or a branch of it as they feel themselves. About our little journey, the place is so situated, that should we meet with a deep snow, we should encounter great difficulty my Friend, and great danger.—let me hear from you again on the subject of our jaunt into the Western country. With every sentiment of Respect and Esteem, yours. Peter Van Gas Beek.

1791

Letter from John Jacob Astor, New York to "Mr Ebenezer Foote" 10th March, 1791

Dr Sir. I just recd your favor of 25 ulto. It is not in my power to say whether anney Person is gon from this City for Sant Johns for the purpos of purchasing furrs, tho I am prety sure theare is not. Yet thare are Several Persons who frequently Send furrs from theare to this Market —which are in my opinyon no judges of furrs from the quality they Send I have Reason to Supoes South—I should much aprooff of your going thare for that Porpus and make not a Doubt that you and me will agree in the errand as I much have wished for Som Person in whom Confidence could be placed to go theare In my opinion theare is not a doubt but it will answer well, [38] but I think it would be necesry and much better on several accounts to Set out before the Month of May. First I think thare will be an advantage in being early I should supoes in getting the furrs before other buyers, and 2d I am afaraide that furrs Sold high in London this Last Feby, of which the Merchants theare will be informed by the March packet, and if so they will of cores hold theare furrs high. Thearefor if a Person could be theare before that time it would be better. All kinds of furrs are very high, in Partikeler otter and musrat Skins, and wil no Doubt Remaen so all the yeare. Good otter from St. John will bring 6 Dollars here and musrat 1/8 per skin. I shall be glad to here from you agane as soon as posebill with your Determination on this Business. Annexed is price of some Country furrs at Presant,
I Remaen Sir with Much Respect Your Most Obdt Servant J. Jacob Astor.
No 40 Little Dark Street

  • Price Currant of Furs Good otter skins ... 40/ Do Beaver 34/ "red fox 10/ Minks 4/6 Martin 3/3 Musrat ... 1/6 I should say the friend referred to in Mr. Wain Wright's letter was the one I have, of Mr. Astor. Mr. Wainwright was a solid business man, a well known merchant.

New York, 21 March 1791

Dear Foote. ... I hope the return letter of your friend, [39] may be of such a nature as to make it an object for your intended journey to N. Brunswick. Very affectionately yours, Francis Wainwright.

New York April 2d 1791

... In answer to the subject written on, I have still to say, that it is my intention to try my luck in the fur trade, and am very sorry my finances will not admit of agreeing to your friendly wish at this time, but our arrangements are such that we cannot possibly think of it this season. I hope and wish to see you before you set off, that we may have some conversation on the subject. Remember me particularly to Mrs Foote, and believe me your sincere Francis Wainwright.

  • It looks as if E. had been questing for money to accept of what was probably Mr. Astor's good hard business bargain, and failing to raise the necessary amount, set off by himself again.

"Western Fever" Begins

  • Judge Delamater was a Kingston friend, who died not long after. He was very nice and I wish I knew if they boarded at the "genteel place." There was no Delaware County, but the river was being explored, and the western fever beginning to stir in the veins of the river dwellers.

Middletown June 10 1791

My dear Sir. Indisposition deprived me of the happiness of embracing you in Kingston. I left home with the pleasing hope of seeing you, but the pain in my side increasing I was bled the moment I reached Kingston,—it gave me no relief, and the Dr advised me to return home immediately,—I thought myself dangerous—care and attention in my situation was therefore necessary. This will apologize for my not calling upon you in that place. I congratulate you upon your election (assembly). I hope you will not engage your quarters for next winter in New York, we must board together,—I shall engage if you please, board for you at Mr. Elsworth's Maiden Lane, No 19.—there is not a Genteeler place in the city, the people are agreeable, kind and affectionate.!! I write you this scrawl from the East branch of the Delaware, where I am in company with Oliver and Van Gas Beek, exploring the country for a road into the western territory of this state. I anticipate the pleasure of a line from you.
I am Dear Sir, Yours faithfully and affectionately. J. Delamater (Jacob).

New York 2d August 1791. [41]

Dear Brother. . . Since my absence from home, I have passed my time rather pleasantly than profitably, but money getting was never a business for me, and I am beginning to bear up pretty tolerably without it. Our society on N. Carolina consisted principally of merchants from various quarters, generally polite and well informed. The country contains many sources of wealth which have never been tried or found out by the inhabitants. . . . Your affectionate brother Eli Foote.

  • Brotherly love in the next.

New York 1st September 1791

Dear Eben. . . Yesterday arrived after a tedious passage of 19 days from Edmenton. On Eli's return in August, I shipt by him in the Juno, a cargo, one half of which I expected would have been used for the payment of my private debts,—on his arrival he found himself under the necessity of making use of all the proceeds for the payment of his own debts, and I find myself a little in the dark, but I have so often been in that state, I am not much depressed. Tell me when Col Deniston's reg't meets and whether I had better come up or not. Unalterably Yours, Justin.

Letter from Justin Foote to his brother, Ebenezer, "N. York Sept 19. 1791"

Dear Eben. I this day sent off the Harlequin for Carolina, and am hourly expecting my small Schooner with Naval stores, when she arrives and is discharged, I shall visit you. . . Justin. [42]

1792

Winton N. Carolina. Feb. 7. 1792

Dear Eben. ... I yesterday wrote Daniel Cromwell, respecting some brandy I wished him to engage of Clock Selluck & Co, to be kept on hand till the Juno arrived in New York. Please call on friend Cromwell at Peck Slip, who will show you my letter, and I would rather give 5/ pr gallon, than fail of having it. . . . affectionately. Eli Foote.

  • Instead of the card of admission to the Tammany Society of the day, which is in another book, I include the notice of it from Lossing, vol. 2; p. 247:
"Tradition commonly reports the Indian Chief Tamene, or St. Tammany, was buried near a spring about three miles west of Doyle's, in Bucks County, Penn. "When Col. George Morgan of Princeton visited the Western Indians, by order of Congress, in 1776, he was so beloved for his goodness that the Delawares conferred upon him the name of their venerated chief. He was called by politicians St. Tammany, and established as the patron saint of republican America. Tammany halls were dedicated and on the 1st of May (the festival of the saint) meetings of the Societies formed were held."
This was written in 1852, now 70 years ago, and now in 1924 I am afraid Ebenezer would find a vastly different atmosphere from that of 1792 when he joined the "Columbian Order," which was another of its names. Benjamin Strong, Sec., puts an N.B.: "The Initiation Fee which was when you were admitted Five dollars will be expected previous to your being admitted." [45]

New York 14 Sept 1792

Dear Eben. Thank God that at last I find myself in New York after a most tedious passage, in good health, and left Eli well. . . Justin.

  • Justin speaks of having left Eli well, but he had died on September 9th, 1792, while Justin was at sea. Ebenezer has endorsed the letter he wrote to his wife: Part of a letter Written by Eli Foote in N. Carolina during his last illness, to his wife, but before he could finish it, his fever raged to such a degree, as deprived him of reason and he died in a few days,—leaving it with other papers, in the care of strangers,—but friends. Ebenezer Foote. Justin went up to see Eben, and writes of the journey back to New York from Newburgh. Arrived safe and should have had a good pass- age of about 16 hours, but got on the oyster beds at Tappan. however arrived in 24 hours from Newburgh!!. Shall set out for Guilford tomorrow morning if the wind will permit, if I do not sail tomorrow will leave Robert Lennox's due bill enclosed with a line with Mrs. Weaton
Justin.

Kingston Feb. 18. 1792

Rec'd a letter from Mr Gansevoort, member of the legislature, who informs me that Mr Jay is held up as a Candidate. I have written Mr Gansevoort, let me advise you to consult with him and the others.

  • The next are from Judge Josiah Ogden Hoffman, three within a week, but so related in topic that I put them as one. [46] He was related to Mr. David Colden Murray, as well as to Mr. Murray Hoffman, a descendant, who was at the Murray house a great deal and made one of the many parties which Mrs. Murray (a most delightful woman) led to her box at the opera, to balls, concerts, and everything that was gay, when I was in my girlhood, but had the great happiness to be included when I was stopping at the house.

My grandfather, Charles, was in Judge Hoffman's office in New York a number of years, after his graduation from Union, and in the law school of Judge Van Schaack, until his father's pleas prevailed, and he came back to Delhi to live.

Letter from Josiah Ogden Hoffman, New York 20 April 1792

My dear Foote. I send you papers, pray attend to them without delay. The reply of has enraged the Clintonian party, pray make good use of it, everything goes well,—take care of your own county, and spare neither time nor expense. Your friend most truly. Thank you for inquiring for Mrs Hoffman, she is now much better, but is mindful of your at- tentions, and returns to you her best wishes. Do with this hasty scroll as it merits,—and believe me truly and sincerely your friend. . . The election has been a warm one, the city is nearly divided, the District though will not afford Clinton a greater majority than 300. This is far below the expectations of his party. How will Ulster turn out. Pray give me your Candid opinion by the first opportunity, and oblige your sincere friend, Josiah Ogden Hoffman.

Judge Delamater writes:

Why did you not come with me a few days. [48] or say anything more on the subject, I was willing that my name should come up, but I would not have a contested election on my account for any consideration, and I know the other half of me would be very much opposed to it. the only inducement for me to accept would be to remove from peoples minds, the old prejudice you mention (tory father) which for my Countrys sake, I am sorry to find still exists.

That you may serve your country and preserve your peace of mind, and happiness, is the hope and desire of your sincere friend and Very humble servant. Cadwallader Colden.

1793

1794

Kingston Jan 18 1794.

Dear Sir. It is with the utmost pleasure I hereby acknowledge the receipt of your favor of the 10th inst.— not only because I thereby find myself considered as your friend, which it is my earnest wish to continue,—but shall endeavor by every laudable means in my power to merit,—but also on account of the agreeable information it contains, respect- ing the disposition of the present House of Assembly. Let me hear from you as often as convenient, for every line dropt to me will be gratefully ac- cepted, by Sir, Your friend and Humble servant, Jonathan Hasbrouck. Charles, my grandfather, has been sent over the river to school.

A teacher writes: Poughkeepsie Feb 8th 1794. Dear Sir. At your request, I give myself the pleasing task of informing you that your son having been here several weeks, has conducted himself with a degree of propriety not usual in youth of his age (between 8 and 9). His disposition appears soft [49] and agreeable (why soft? —kaf). Master Charles by this presents his love to you.

I am dear Sir, Your obedient servant. Matthias Hildreth.

Later, Dr. Fowler writes: "Mrs. Foote imbarked for Poughkeepsie, to visit Charles, and on account of the state of the ice in the Hudson cannot get back." A long letter asserting a prior deed to a piece of land Eben thought he owned. Never any ill luck about that Ebenezer doesn't come in for a share. I omit the legal part.

Cooperstown November 24. 1794

I take the field in the spring, but not for Burr, as your Co intends. Yes my name is among the List of Candidates for this District, how it will terminate I know not, and I am happy to tell you that I care not, as I now see Clearly, the federal government will stand alone. This Penn. affair hath been of infinite conse- quence. A few months ago, I was anxious to go, as well to keep out, as to gratify a sort of itch, for to be doing and saying about things that Perhaps I do not understand as well as—gitting Prior titels to those of my Friends. What think you of I should say not I commend you to the care of the Deity. * William Cooper.

A letter from Albany says: "Your old friends Spencer and Gilbert are here for Court." "Friends" was quite right at this date, but ten years later Mr. Spencer was calling Heaven to annihilate my ancestor, and ten years later still they were friends again!!! * Judge and founder of Cooperstown. D

Rejection of Aaron Burr

  • Aaron Burr, who writes the next, was a personal as well as political friend of Ebenezer's, and should have many letters from him. Only a few are rescued.

Philadelphia 10 Dec 1794

Dear Sir.

Your very friendly letter of 29 Nov. came to hand two or three days ago. I have brought into Senate, a bill to alter the post road from Wards Bridge to Kingston, so that the mail shall pass through New Windsor and Newburgh, which I have no doubt will soon pass into a law. We have a prospect of a temperate political campaign in- deed from present appearances, little will be done. The Bankrupt bill will be talked of and laid aside as heretofore. Mr. Hamilton has formally announced his determination to retire before the close of the Session. Mr. Knox also gives out and I believe with sincerety, that he will retire.

I am Dr Sr your assured friend. Aaron Burr.
  • Ebenezer must have had a difficult task in choosing whom, when so many of his best friends were rival contestants for the same offices, but a majority overturned the fascinator Burr, and his very good friend, the Chancellor, Mr. Jay, was an equally good friend, and the Patroon never wa- vered till the end, so that I can only hope that Ebenezer was not called upon to do much in this nomination. [51]

1795

Albany Saturday Feb 7, 1795

Dear Sir. I had the pleasure of receiving your letter this morning.—the Clintonians have nominated Yates for Gov. & Floyd for Lt Gov. They have left friend Burr in the lurch, and the Chancellor.—our friends have agreed to support Jay and myself. I am much obliged for your partiality expressed in your letter,—and that of my friends in Ulster. I shall be glad to hear from you on this subject, and will you be so obliging as to inform me whether the Chancellor is a candidate. Your friend Stephen Van Rensselaer. Judge Hoffman speaks of the difficulty of choosing, and adds:

New York Feb. 12 1795

Dear Sir. ... At a very large meeting in this city, Mr. Jay and Mr. Van Rensselaer have been nomin- ated, and they will be supported with great ar- dor,—our friends from the country all attended, and our decision was the effect of great deliberation. His Mission has proved successful and we, —authorizes to say, he was to leave London dur- ing the present month. Judge Yates would have been honorably supported by us, but he declined on the eve of the Election,—Gov. Clinton was his opponent. Mr Jay is now his opponent,—the man whom he three years since, warmly recommended, and he consents when the opposite party bring him forward, to be a candidate. Surely his present decision makes his true political creed. Pray let me hear from you without delay. . . . God bless you. Josiah Ogden Hoffman. New York March 4th 1795. Dear Sir. I had the pleasure of receiving your letter of the 18 ult, [52] on my return from Philadelphia, since which the business of the Election has assumed a different aspect,—the former supporters of Clinton are decidedly in favor of Yates, from whom they will not swerve, consequently Burr is out of the nomination. I observed in Greenleafs paper, there has been a meeting in your county, with all the usual Formalities. In Albany, the party there have publicly declined being on committees to support Yates, among which I recall A. G. Lansing, R. Lusk, Jere V. Rensellaer, & Wendell, the most active. Van Vechten writes me that our majority will be larger than at the late election,—for Jay in the Western district, a like count in the Eastern, and the Southern they allow us 500 majority, but the leaders here claim 1000 so we have nothing but the Middle district, and Columbia to contend with. I therefore hope for the attachment I feel for you and Gasbeek that you will come out boldly.

Pray let me hear from you, your friend S. Van Rensselaer.

New York March 6, 1795

Dear Sir. Before this reaches you I can but hope that all our friends have once more rallied around the standard of Mr Jay. Whitbeck writes that Burr by his own consent is out of the question, and exerting his whole strength, to ensure the success of Mr Jay. Everything looks well. Write often and believe me yours J. O. Hoffman.

  • Again from Cadwallader Colden. He has been writing an article for the paper which he asks E. to criticize. He adds: I wish you would have my Herald sent with [53] yours, I have had only three this winter. asks E. to get something else, Excuse all this trouble, From your friend Cadwallader Colden. The next is from Cadwallader David Colden, son of the C.C. above, and so grandson of Governor Colden. A lawyer of repute, mayor of New York, etc.

Poughkeepsie March 17 1795

Dear Sir. As you have frequent intercourse with this place, I have taken the liberty by the enclosed letter and Draft, to direct the Sheriff of Orange to pay into your hands in my acct. £90.4.5. You will do me a great favor if you will receive the money, and transmit it to me by some safe opportunity. In return it will give me great pleasure to render you my services whenever you will favor me with your commands. I am Sir with esteem, Yours, Cadwallader D. Colden.

From Aaron Burr about nomination. New York 30 March 1795

Dear Sir. I have written to the committee of Kingston, declining to be a candidate at the ensuing Election, which you also will be pleased to consider as my determination on that subject. I reserve till I have the pleasure to see you, in person, a review of the manoeuvres and intrigues which have taken place. Accept my thanks for this new instance of your friendship and attachment, which has been particularly flattering to me, and of which I shall retain a lasting recollection.

I am with much esteem, your assured friend. Aaron Burr.

1796

Mostly Family Matters

Newburgh Jan 11. 1796.

My dear fellow. Arrived here after a pleasant voyage of 28 hours!!!! from New York. Found all the family well. . . Justin.

  • The account spoken of above has come to light. Ebenezer, as postmaster at Newburgh, sends in his account to the General Post Office for the three months, July 16 to Oct. 16, the total footing up, $9.87 1/2. Fancy in these days—

To Peter Van Gasbeek, from Ebenezer Foote. New York Jan 20, 1796

My dear Sir. . . Yours have come to hand by Morris, and shall be perfectly and punctually attended to. You may rest assured that the business shall be attended to in the manner you wish. It affords me pleasure to have it in my power to oblige one whom I have long regarded as a friend. I am at present very busy being Chairman of a Committee who are to examine into the conduct of the Mayor.
God bless you E. Foote.

  • The mayor at this time was the most respected Richard Varick, and although I have several allusions to the matter, I cannot entirely find out what it is all about. Mr. Varick and Ebenezer had been friends since 1780, when Varick was private secretary to Benedict Arnold at Robinson House, [69] near Crompond, where Captain Foote was stationed (see Sept., 1780). I wish very much that I knew all about it. Mr. Varick's cautious letter which follows is endorsed, "From Richard Varick, on Kettletas Business."

New York January 28 1796

Dear Sir. I have avoided all visits or communications with any gentlemen of the committee, since Monday morning,—to prevent a malevolent illiberal scoundrel from involving them in any abuse on my account,—but as I do not precisely recollect to have stated to you, upon what ground the Court adjudged Alderman Furman to be in the execution of his duty, when insulted by Burke O'Grady —I will now mention to you, that they confined themselves to the transaction and insults at the Fly Market Ferry stairs, as testified to the Court and Com., by Alderman Furman. Alderman Furman states that he was insulted and abused at Brooklyn,—that when he came to New York he meant to take no further notice of it than to caution those men from such conduct in the future,— his doing this act which was doing his duty as a good Magistrate, and had a tendency to prevent insult, and consequent Breaches of the peace. I consider the case as parallel to the following. Two men are quarrelling in the street, and about to engage in combat at Fisty Cuffs, or clubs or horse whipping. A Magistrate comes up at the Instant, and orders the Combattents to desist,—and in doing this act, or giving this order, one of the persons insults and assaults him. I ask, will not this be considered an Insult or Assault upon a Magistrate when in the Execution of his office? I could instance a quantity of others, but perhaps trespass on your time and patience, and that of the Committee,[70] for all of whom, I bear too much respect to offend.

I am with esteem, Yours, Richard Varick.

Kingston Feb 8th 1796

Dear Fellow. Your favor of the 3d, recd. Please to retract your resolution of not writing again on politics, we are all equally anxious to hear, be watchful,— we all feel for you. Let me know about the lands, what you can get &c. Your sincere friend. Peter Van Gasbeek.

  • The next from Justin to E. speaks of Betsy (Elizabeth Colden, daughter of Cadwallader, 2nd, of Coldenham, which was eight miles from Newburgh). Justin was so fond of nice girls that he could never choose which he wanted most, but he later goes to Betsy's wedding with Robert Murray, and she probably chose which she liked best. He finally married Marie Evertsen, who may have been "the girl from the East" he speaks of, where she may have been living with a sister who was the wife of John Cotton Smith, Governor of Connecticut, or with another sister, the wife of the Rev. Isaac Lewis of Greenwich, Conn., which would make her the girl from the South. I know not. Would have been in those precious lost letters, without doubt.

Newburgh Feb. 1st 1796. My dear fellow. Yours reed will be forwarded this day to Brown (Justin's partner in N. Carolina). We have had several weeks of fine sleighing, which I have improved, and have danced and flirted with the girls more than usual. Betsy was with us yesterday, [71] and was duly squired through our William St. by your humble servant, on her shopping,—she looked more tempting than usual, but—do you see Sir!! her sister and Aunt John were present, so of course nothing was said, a poor apology you will say,—well better a poor one than none. Our house here is much like a Coffee House, a continual round of the Major's (Ebenezer) friends, and "mighty glad to hear the Major is well," they think the "Major a mighty nice man," and while it lasts, would vote for you to go to Congress or to Heaven. Your situation as Chairman of the Committee, I can easily conceive to be a very dis- agreeable one, but walk uprightly, don't swerve to favor anyone. Indeed it will require all your caution not to have your character overhauled, but at all times and in all places, while you con- tinue to act squarely, I am at all times and in all places, Your affec. brother Justin. P. S. Your Spouse says she will come down by the first boat going.

Letter to Peter [van Gaasbeek?] from Ebenezer Foote, Sunday New York Feb 14 1796

My dear fellow. ... I have not got the cash from Remsen, but all things shall be attended to immediately. I dined with Burr on Friday. We toasted our friend Peter. Your land has not yet tempted any one. I am standing by the sideboard to write this, Burr is a mighty cunning fellow, you know that. . . .
Adieu, E. Foote.

Newburgh Feb 14 1796

My dear fellow. . . Write me how Rum is—and nankeen, and if any Spring ships are in. As to the Mayor and [72] Kettletas, I don't care about them,—your own part in the play,—from information, I am disposed to think well supported. Although I am no politician myself, my decided opinion is that when a man embraces an opinion from a firm conviction of its being right, he should never give it up, without being convinced of his error. I think you did well in having it decided which was to rule, the legislature or the mob. Indeed I should think lightly of you, if you would suffer the partisans on either side to influence your resolves. God be with you. Justin.

Letter from Justin Foote, Newburgh Feb 16 1796 to his brother Ebenezer

My dear E. Yours of the 11th came to hand yesterday, impatient to hear from the South, if any accident has happened to the sloop it will not be in our power to pay Swartwout for his rum. I wish you to call on him and tell him that the country people have done drinking rum. Please call on him and tell him I can send him back all that has not leaked out from his inattention,—the hogshead was stopped only by a small cork, in the head, and leaked out about 6 pounds' worth. The rascally Post has not crossed for four weeks. Our letters and papers are in Fishkill Office. You ought to complain to the Postmaster General—the public is injured, individuals are injured, the office brought into disrepute, and all of us obliged to listen to grumbling. Your three eldest are measly! I have had fun sleighing with the girls. Murray would have wrote, but his negro is sick, and he was called home. John and Dart Davis are disputing with our Toplady (Mrs. Foote) on Predestination,—if he is right, it is decreed from all eternity, whether or not, you will be able to sell the tobacco and tar, [73]—but if the tar will bring 20/ cash,—you had better see if the decree can't be reversed,—for God has decreed that tar should leak like the devil at this season of the year, and it will be as vexatious as trying aldermen.
Good night, God help and deliver you says Justin.

Addressed to Ebenezer Foote, Esquire. At Mrs. Parker's, Wall St. New York April 16 1796

My dear Sir. . . Whether for the best or not, Time will disclose, but,—our meeting unanimously fixed on you as a candidate, this however you will have been appraised of, together with the General Policy we hope to have pursued.
Your affectionate friend. P.V.G.

New York May 31, 1796

Dear Eben... I have just come in. I went to the Theatre, but it was so full I could not get in, so home I came in the rain. I send papers which will give you news, both true and false. I am sending a Riding chair, have it taken out of the vessel very carefully, and put somewhere out of the rain.
Yours Justin.

Ebenezer Foote, letter to Peter, October 7th, 1796

...I wish to know if you will take my Son Charles to board until Spring, I should like him to learn a little of the Dutch language, which he may do by living in a Dutch Family. E. Foote.

Peter van Gaasbeek letter to Ebenezer Foote, March 24, 1796 [74]:

Charles does well and I hope he will become a worthy member of Society.
Affectionately. Peter V. Gaasbeek.

Justin writes

The children are better, but still confined to the nursery. Mrs. Parker says it will not be in her power to keep more boarders at 6 dollars,—three may be well accommodated at her price, which is now 7 dollars, and she would wish you as a boarder. Citizen Murray is with you I conclude. He said nothing about change while in New York, altho I think there would have been no harm in paying us, as his acct is mostly cash sent. Your aff. Justin.

Pat sends compliments and a yard black velvet.

Coldenham Oct 31st 1796

Dear Sir. Last night Mr. Tenbroeck of Otsego lodged with me, on his way to New York, when conversation turning upon the choice of Electors, after reading a piece in Greenleafs paper, on that subject, he said he differed from the principle therein held up, that it was his opinion that it was the business of the Legislature to appoint the most Respectable citizens, in the different Districts of the State, as Electors,—whose judgement and integrity might be depended upon. Now to be ranked among such, would be esteemed as a great honour, and give particular satisfaction to
Your sincere friend, and Humble servant, Cadwallader Colden.

Letter from Peter Van Gaasbeek, Kingston, New York, Sunday Nov 6, 1796

My dear fellow. I am I must say disappointed in not receiving [75] a letter from you by yesterdays mail. Jno. and Charles took a six mile walk to Rhinebeck to obtain a letter but not one. By the by I must caution you,—there is no safety in the mail at Kingston. This is a fact, that my letters have been and still are pilfered. Charles has become one of our family, as far as we have gone we agree
Yours sincerely and affectionately. Peter Van Gaasbeek.

Letter to Ebenezer Foote from Robert Troup, New York, 10 Dec 1796

Dear Sir. I have the satisfaction of informing you that from the returns of the election for President and Vice President, already made known, Mr Adams has a clear number of Seventy, which is a majority of all the votes, we therefore consider his election as President beyond all doubt. The probability is that Mr. Jefferson will be Vice President, several of the Eastern States having declined to support Mr Pinckney, lest he outrun Mr Adams. In Virginia he had but one vote. It was supposed his great strength lay there. He has not a vote to the Eastward of the Delaware. We have lost our election here for representative in Congress. We were compelled from the refusal of several more popular candidates to be held up,—to support Mr Watson, and he appears to have lost so much ground, that we could do nothing with him. Mr. Edward Livingston will doubtless be the member returned. What success have our friends in your quarter had? This will be delivered to you by Mr Thomas Waters,— he has from the earliest infancy of Federalism been decidedly with us, and is in all respects a man of good character. His friends have insisted on his being a candidate for the office of Sheriff of Orange co. I shall do what I can to help him in relation to this object, and I recommend him to your support likewise. When the legislature [76] meets, you will have an opportunity of serving him.
Very respectfully I am Dear Sir. Your Humble servt. Robert Troup.

  • P.S.J. Miller as an elector, was as sound as a roach, and as solid as a rock. I do not know if Mr. Troup belonged to the Albany family of Troup or not. Later Peter begs Eben to get him the loan of two or three thousand pounds, "The aid of that sum would place me so that I could prosecute my business with more rigor and so to much more advantage."

To Peter Van Gaasbeek from Ebenezer Foote, Albany Feb 2d 1797

My Dear Sir. This will be handed you by my wife. I have made all the inquiry in my power to find the one thing needful,—but depend on it,—you may as well try to get men's souls. There is cash to be had in two or three places, but for not less than 6/0 per month,—and I was assured yesterday at dinner with Mr Van Rensselaer, Thomas Morris, Mr Staats and Mr Walsh, that they knew of a person in this town, who did last week, give at the rate of 6/9 per day, for 2000 pounds, and was likewise under obligation to repay the whole in sixty days—thus you will infer that usury is known here as well as in other places. If you have any observations to make Concerning the Western Co (Delaware, which E. was working hard for) let us hear from you as soon as possible. God bless you. I hope your son may inherit all his Fathers virtues.
Adieu I am your friend E. Foote.

Letter from Justin Foote to his brother Ebenezer. [77] Newburgh Feb. 7th 1797

My dear fellow. The enclosed letter was written to send by Col. Colden, who had his horses harnessed and in readiness to start last Wed. The day being stormy it was delayed, and in the evening the old gentleman was taken suddenly ill,—he is very low. I went to see him and returned yesterday. My opinion is Cadwalader Colden must die, and that before long. He desired me to inform you he was too weak to attend to any business, indeed he is already hovering on the border of that country from whose bourne no traveller returns. The greater part of the time he is deranged, and unable to converse. The sleighing is gone hence no business doing. Your affectionate brother. Justin Foote.

  • Note. At the New York Historical Rooms, 170 Central Park West, I copied the following facts. "Cadwallader 2nd was the third son of Cadwallader 1st; b. 1722; d. at Coldenham, 1797; aged 75 years." One of Cadwallader's son was Cadwallader David, many of whose letters are copied in this volume. Cadwallader David was born at Coldenham, 1769; died 1834. He was Mayor of New York, 1818 to 1821. Elizabeth or Betsy has already been spoken of, in Justin's letters, and he later goes to her marriage with Robert Murray, of whom Justin also speaks, a family friend.

Justin goes to Col. Colden's funeral.

Newburgh 20 Feb. 1797

Heigh Ho. Well my dear fellow here I am. I have just returned from paying the last tribute of respect to our old friend Col Colden. He is dead,—he is buried,—his sufferings have [78] been great, but he has borne them with a manly fortitude, and I have great faith that he died as good a man as any of them all. The family are in deep distress. Could I help them I would, but all consolation or condolence loses its effect at such times, so I went and saw him interred, took my leave of the family quietly, and returned home. Is it a consolation or is it not, that the great must die as well as the small. Cadwallader had the good things of this life, and saw many good days,—but Cadwallader is now food for the worms. God conducts us to it in his own good time. Your letter of the 16 met me at Coldenham. I am sorry for your misfortune [Ebenezer's house, Arbor Hill, had been on fire –kaf] but cheer up, if you had been burned up, the worms could not have eaten you it is true. Sleight Murray & myself were invited over to a certain damsels for Tea. Very enjoyable.

Justin to Eben. Saturday eleven o'clock

My dear Sir... Do what bisiness you can without crediting. I believe you will find it to your advantage to come to town in Nov. as I leave for N. Carolina tomorrow. I take 3 or 4 hundred pounds worth of dry goods with me. You note my mention of happiness at the play, and ask who the girl was I took. I have no difficulty in telling you it was Gitty Wynkoop, and that your brother thinks her a very fine girl. ["Gitty" Wynkoop was a fine and well known girl in the New York of that day –kaf] I have fixed on Mr Daniel Penfield of Water st [downtown New York City, on the Husdon river] as a friend to whose care I shall direct all letters I send to you from Carolina, and get him to forward me all of yours. I have this day given our friend James Parsons an order on Coleman due from our Nantucket venture.
In haste Justin.

1797

The Founding of Delaware County, From Philip J. Schuyler to E. Foote. Rhinebeck 4 March 1797.

My Dear Sir.
Your favor of the 20th has arrived, I only regret that I had not the pleasure of seeing Mr Warers. I am happy to learn that you will probably soon have some deliberations on the subject of the ensuing elections, it is highly necessary that arrangements were forming. On the subject of Senator for the Middle District, it will become the party to act with much caution and discernment. . . .

On this subject it has struck me that should Delaware be annexed to our District that the most proper and the most eligible method of giving it a part in our senatorial representation, would be as you now reside in Ulster, from whence two candidates must on this occasion be taken, that you submit yourself to be in nomination,—first because Ulster will be satisfied in having her full proportion,—secondly should you as you have contemplated, go in to Delaware, it will give them (in case of success) a residing member, and of course, some title to your continuation. Orange has now more than she is entitled to, and at the election succeeding the now ensuing one, the deficiency of Ulster may be satisfied by taking one from Orange, and thus effect a greater equality throughout the District. To offer this suggestion for consideration, and should it meet your concur- rence, as we are all alike endeavoring to promote the same views, I hone you will not hesitate to enform me that every proper measure may be pursued. Nothing would give me more pleasure [81] than to see you for an hour upon this and other business. Yours with respect and esteem.
Philip J. Schuyler.

Letter from Solomon Sleight to Ebenezer Foote, Newburgh 6th March 1797.

My dear Sir. It really affords me the greatest pleasure imaginable, to hear that the bill for erecting the new County (Delaware) has passed both Houses. I hope your difficulties are now got over, for I cannot conceive how the Council can prefer any person to you, in the choice of Clerk, if merit and services are to be regarded. [Note: The Clerk was appointed by the Council of Appointment, not elected. –kaf] But I am well convinced, that however much the Governor is disposed to appoint deserving characters to the offices of honour or profit, yet other considerations may weigh with other members of the Council, and how far you will succeed is a matter which I cannot conjecture, but you have my earnest wishes for success. It is utterly out of my power to set off for [82] Albany at present,—the Circuit sits in New York on the 20th, and I have a number of causes to be tried there, some of them of great consequence. . .
Yours Sincerely Solomon Sleight.

  • Ebenezer stood for and won the election for Senator for the Middle District, his tenure of office lasting until after the downfall of the Federals. The office of clerk of the new counties was most important. I have copied and lost several extracts from valuable histories, attesting to this fact. The clerks in the new counties were very carefully chosen, as they were expected to actuate the opinions of the inhabitants toward their special politics, and thus it was a position of great responsibility, and required a man of considerable cleverness. I believe I have said already that Mr. Sleight was an eminent lawyer of his county. EFtF

Letter from Peter Van Gaasbeek to Ebenezer Foote, Kingston 7 March 1797.

My Dear Sir.
I hear that Delaware County has passed!! and that you mean to apply for the Clerk's office. If you wish it I sincerely wish you success. While that is the case, permit me to recommend John Moore of Pata[?] in Colchester, "of the Moore of Stamford." Beg your interest for our John Moore for Sheriff. How stand Money matters. Don't lose sight of that, let me hear by return post. Yours Affectionately. Peter Van Gaasbeek. [received New York, 8th March, 1797? unclear in EFtF ]

Letter from Phillip Schuyler, Rhinebeck, New York, to Ebenezer Foote, March 13, 1797.

Rhinebeck March 13, 1797.

My Dear Foote. Your last was duly handed me. I thank you for the candor it contains, and the confidence with which it is written. The circumstances you use against your own nomination, without having the least color of reason, are unhappily, such as affect the people uninformed, therefore more easily imposed on. The considerations however would not be sufficient for me to relinquish the impressions suggested in my last, were it not that your own [83] opinion appears adverse to it, and from reasons which do honour to your candour, and disinterestedness. I would still advise you and the residue of your friends not to be frightened by imaginary bugbears. The party at Kingston may, readily,— contrary to your expectations, come in to the measure. If so, would it not be politic, if you and they think proper,—to feel their pulse, here and elsewhere throughout the District. Those illiberal and malicious objections would not avail,— this good effect would however result from your standing. A certain lawyer is said to be a trimmer, and that he has offered himself to the Antis, as a candidate. If this be true, it will go to his exclusion, and excluded he ought to be, from the confidence of every honest and independent politician of any party. I believe Oliver to be firm and constant, his nomination, if it takes place, will,—from what I can learn, be acceptable to Ulster, and I flatter myself to the District at large. Assure him that my little services, and those of my particular friends, shall be contributed with cordiality, and enforced with exertion,—everything on this occasion, must depend on industry, and it ought strenuously to be enforced, too much stress should not be laid on our late success, it may have a bad effect, by giving a confidence of success, which ever abates exertion. How could Hasbrouck carry himself if you determine on him (for he is spoken of) ... if he should come in as the new member, and during that year, act in violent opposition, and our opponents afterwards determine to countenance him,—how shall we object. . . . Let me hear from you soon.
Yours with esteem Philip J. Schuyler.

  • Dr. Richard Bailey, an ancestral relative of Mrs. Franklin D. Roosevelt, I am told, but I may put it elsewhere. I have been asked to include more of the political letters which are in my possession than I want to do, but even to me this long one from Mr. Schuyler is of interest. Eben was up for both Senator and Clerk, but was never very good at urging his own merits, as the letter shows.

E. Foote to Peter VanGaasbeek. Albany, New York, 26 March, 1797:

Albany March 26 1797.

Dear Sir. Yours came safe to hand yesterday. I am well aware of all the facts you mention, but cannot help it,—as it will affect my political situation, I think it a matter of no great consequence. I have long foreseen that jealousy and enmity would sooner or later turn many of my pretended friends against me, and of course made my calculations accordingly,—but, thank God, they can accuse me of nothing I need be ashamed of,—I have never yet, been induced, from any motives whatever, to sacrifice my sentiments as they regard public measures,—nor do I intend to do such an act, to gratify C—d, Roggan, or any of their associates. I hope to enjoy the pleasures of Domestick ease in my log hut, on the banks of the Delaware, in spite of the malice they, or any such may possess. Your injunctions shall be carefully attended to, as to disclosing any circumstances I may hear or suspect in that quarter. If your assertions respecting Addison are true, I shall be glad of it, and I wish most sincerely that he would be careful never to give either his enemies or friends cause to suspect his firmness or decision. There is a strong suspicion in the minds of many here, that he has acquiesced in the nomination intended by the anti-federal party,— it is a fact that they have said,—he was to be their man if Cantine resigned his pretensions,— whether they have done this to injure him in the estimation of others, or are really in earnest, I cannot say,—time will discover,—but be it as it may whoever they nominate, in my opinion will [85] be elected. (E. was.) Their measures are much better taken than those of their opponents. The District is so large that it will not be in the power of a second set of men to be held up with equal advantage. I think it will by no means be an enviable situation to be held up as a candidate this year by the Federal party in the District—only as there is more honor in being named by them than by the Jacobins—but by no means the same prospect of success. I wrote you yesterday, and sent it by way of the Flats,—but you are mistaken about General Schuyler sending his son to. I can assure you he knew nothing of his being in Ulster, till since Phil left this town, nor do I think Dutchess will hold up Dewitt,—Cantine will in my opinion be their man. We shall adjourn the third of April. I shall go home and set out for Delaware the last of the month, when it is probable I shall have the honour of seeing you on my way thither. Nothing of importance has lately transpired, only that our good Allies intend to give us a fraternal embrace. Damn them, and God bless you, says Your ould Yankee friend, Ebenezer Foote.

  • The log hut on the Delaware was a figure of speech used to a friend, who would understand. Arbor Hill was [84] begun immediately on E.'s arrival in the spring and moved into the same fall, though it was years before it was entirely finished, as to small details, owing to difficulties of transportation.

Thomas Tillotson to Ebenezer Foote, Rhinebeck, New York, 16 April, 1797:

Rhinebeck April 16 1797. Dear Sir. The information you had is not well founded, —beside I have always supposed that your standing in society was such as to place you beyond suspicion from any but the narrow and contracted part of it and your independency would make you set those at naught. I am Sir with great respect, yours, &c. Thomas Tillotson.

Justin Foote, New York City, letter to his brother Ebenezer, 18 April 1797 [86]

Dear fellow. Do you know of any saw mill man, or man without a sawmill, or sawmill without a man, who will furnish us. . . boards,. . . payable in anything we can muster. I go at once to get your Saddle bags, and may those bags when on your saddle, always furnish you the needful, is the prayer of your faithful Justin.

Early Days at Arbor Hill

  • It seems probable that E. came out, started the building of the house, stayed for a certain time, and then went back for Mrs. Foote, probably at the end of July. There is a great deal about the goods stolen on the way, but it is full of the atmosphere of the times and I shall risk including the most of it. We have both large and small spoons marked with "E. F. J." (Ebenezer and Jerusha Foote), salt cellars lined with gold, but none with blue glass, now. Abram Van Vechten writes first.

Letter from Abraham Van Vechten, Albany August 8th 1797.

Sir. I have reason to suppose that a part, if not the whole of the Trunks and Goods detected, and now in the hands of the Recorder of this City are yours, many of the pieces are marked with the family letter, F, many without marks, Salt cellars Silver lined with blue glass, E. F. J. on side. The trunks 4 in number, were found on board a Sloop at the Dock, and are supposed to be brought here by one Alpheus Vincent—a line to ABRM Oakes, City Superintendent, shall be attended to. There are China Images, Silk gowns, linen both mens and womens, a variety of female clothing, with some shop goods. . . . Abram Van Vechten.

Letter from Jacob Wright to Ebenezer Foote, August 9th 1797

Dear Sir. On Sunday morning I was called on to view a Book, which was some of Popes works. The Book had your name in it, and found in a trunk of Goods, [88] under Suspicious Circumstances, and at first, was supposed to have been taken out of my House by some evle person (E. had boarded there once) but farther discoveries were made this gave rise to the enclosed letter to you, which I believe was by the direction of the Recorder.... Jacob Weight.

  • The enclosure is lost, but Mr. Wright's letter is addressed to Newburgh, and the following one to "Ebenezer Foote, Esquire, Clerk of Delaware County. There was as yet no Delhi. Their old friend writes:

Newburg August 12 1797

Dear Sir. I happened to be at your house when your brother arrived (evidently Justin had accompanied them at least a part of the way) and I was cursedly disappointed in not receiving a letter from you. I cannot however divest myself of the thinking, that if you did not write, you wished to have done so. Your brother will probably tell you how many questions I put to him respecting you and the family. I wish I could get rid of business and duties I have to perform here, and I should infallibly come and live with you.
Adieu my dear friend, I conclude with a wish of Bolinbrokes,— May you have as few physical ills as the nature of things admits of, and as few moral ones as you desire." Yours most affectionately and truly. S. Sleight.

Pray make my most affect, respects to Mrs. Foote, and assure her of my warmest regard and esteem, after your very fatiguing journey.

Letter from Justin Foote, Newburgh New York to his brother, Ebenezer, 8th Sept. 1797

Dear Brother. I wrote you some time since, via Catskill, to [89] ease your and Mrs Footes alarms about your lost goods. I am inclined to believe the most of them will be reclaimed, as I suppose the most of them, in the hands of the Magistrates of Albany and New York. I left Newburgh yesterday, and am thus far on my way to Albany in order to reclaim for you the goods and at the same time see about Lands '1 Militaire." If I cannot reclaim the goods, shall make such arrangements as I think most expedient to secure them where they now are. Justin.

  • The next from Alderman Beekman should have been put in before.

Thomas Beekman, Albany August 16 1797

Sir. On searching a vessel belonging to Alpheus Vincent, for stolen goods last night I found a Quantity of Receits, accounts, Vouchers, and Letters, which I suppose to be your property,—part of the papers were found in a Tin Canister, an answer will oblige. Your Humble Servant. Thos. Beekman. It would appear from Justin's letter that the contents of the large trunk had been lost, as Justin puts the small trunk in it.

Catskill September 12 1797

My dear Fellow. I wrote you on Friday last from Kingston, and from this place, since when I have been to Al- bany, and am thus far on my way home. I re- claimed and packed such of your things as could be found, and have put them in the small trunk, together with 4 small books I bought for the chil- dren. I then put the small trunk in the large one!!! and secured with cords, it will be brot down here and lodged with Captain Day to for- ward to you. You are much indebted to Mr Van

90 EBENEZER FOOTE—THE FOUNDER Vechten and the Wrights, for efforts in securing those I have. Am much concerned to hear you are in ill health, may God restore you. Send list of things in trunk. . . Justin.

4 silk gowns, 1 chintz ditto, 2 caloco ditto, 4 pr blk hose, 4 yds velvet binding, 4 muslin aprons, 4 prs silk shoes, 1 remnant muslin, 3 womans shirts, 9 yds white ermine, 1 screw!!!, 1 gauze handker- chief, 1 apron ditto, remnant muslin edging, 3 prs white silk gloves, 1 silver salt cellar, 1 silver fruit basket, 3 prs beaver gloves, 1 box containing ribbon, edging, &c., 2 muslin caps, 6 marble images, 1 glass pepper caster, 1 white lutestring cloak, 1 salmon colored ditto, 3 silver salt spoons. Books—1 sporting magazine, 1 Smiths Wealth of Nations, 1 Wycks Practice, 1 Law grammer, 2 Robertsons History, 1 Letters Dr Cachet, 1 Spirit Laws, 2 Paper words, 1 . . . Pindar, I History England, 1 Newmans Frederick, 1 Lees Memoirs, Ream paper, & 4 small books.

  • Eben was never robust after his escape as pris- oner via the icy Hudson on that December day. Probably to lose a great part of their treasured goods, homesick in this wilderness, still wondering if it had been wise—it must have been a dismal stage of their new adventures.

Peter Van Gasbeek writes a cheerful letter to Ebenezer Foote. Kingston, New York, 13 Sept. 1797

Dear Sir. I have greater wish to see you than any man I know. I am anxious for your welfare, I know it is impossible for you to know what will be the fate of your enterprise at this period, . . . but, persevere in the Lord, . . . with that honest heart I have ever found in you. ... I intend to see you this winter if I can.

My good wishes to the last. Peter Van Gasbeek.

Levi Dodge writes [91]:

"God bless you, I am going to see you next winter.

Letter from Solomon Sleight to Ebenezer Foote, Esopus. No date

Dear Sir. Justin has arrived from Albany. I congratulate you on recovering a part of your goods, on their way to Catskill, where you may send for them. It was really providential. A man happened to be up very early in the morning, saw a woman coming up from the river with a bag on her back, he made toward her and receiving no very satisfactory answers to the questions he put to her, seized the bag, opened it and found silk gowns, and other valuable articles, detained them.

Mrs Wright heard of it, going to see, recognized the gowns at once, and the vessel was then searched, and what was there secured. You see a kind Providence still watches over you. May it continue. I lament the loss of you more than I can say.

Foreign news we have little of, except that John Bull is bombarding the Spanish in Cadiz, and that probably the whole fleet of 30 sail will fall into his clutches. It is said there will be a peace, the Plenipis are in sitting at Lisle. The Russians it is reported are going to join the Emperor against France, which if true, will at last tend to curb their insolence, and bring them to terms of common civility.

We will now come to this country. Philadelphia is in miserable plight—the newspapers say that 6 or 8 days ago 84 persons were said to have died in one day from the Yellow Fever. I saw Mr Dewint lately who told me he had seen a letter from Dr. Rush, in which he says that on the day of writing it,—viz. 7 Sept., he knew of 55 persons taken sick on that day,—and that the City was half unpeopled, and the rest going out as fast as they could. Our Capital is very [92] healthy just now. Murray to be married to Elizabeth Colden.

Congratulate Mrs Foote on the recovery of her cloathes, it really would be hard in that country to go without any. You say you have plenty of wood and fine trout, but if you were not there, they would be no temptation to me to venture out there. . . Your faithful and affec, S. Sleight.

Levi Dodge writes

... if you are only blest with health, your usual Philosophy and animal spirits, will be sufficient to surmount all the difficulties you may meet with in your new enterprise. Justin has been to Albany to get what he could of your goods. A great part of the men of Kingston will be with you next month to arrange your Courts. . . .

Your sincere friend. Levi Dodge.

Justin writes, Newburgh 30 Sept 1797

Dear E. . . . Rejoice to hear you are in tolerable health and to find from the tenor of your letter, that you are not borne down in spirit, but retain a share of the true Ebenezer, you will it in the first gloom. Wish your trunks have arrived. Justin.

Judge Wm. Thompson writes to Ebenezer Foote Esquire. Clerk of Delaware County. Favored by Mr Stockton (Walton). New Antrim 2d October 1797

My Dear Sir. . . . Am hoping to find your account favorable respecting your new Situation when I have the pleasure of seeing you in Albany next winter (Ebenezer going as Senator) [93]. You have my hearty prayers for your success in the conversion of the unbelievers in your quarter. I met this neighbor of yours accidentally, and he waits while I write you.
With real esteem... . Wm. Thompson.

  • In 1797 the County of Delaware was set off, in 1798 the Town of Delhi, but the village was not incorporated until 1821. The first court of the new county was held at the house of Mr. Gideon Frisbee, not the one still standing a little above the village, built in the early 1800's, but a log one in practically the same situation, when Mr. Frisbee came out in the 1780's, where, like many settlers, he kept an inn or tavern as it was generally called, and was a large and commodious building. I copy from Ebenezer's bound clerk's book.

Ebenezer Foote, Clerk of Court Book

At a meeting of the Judges, Assistants, and Justices of the Peace, of the Co. of Delaware— State of New York—holden at the house of Gideon Phrisby Esq in Kortright, in said Co. on the 5th day of October 1797 at 10 o'clock A. M. Present. Joshua H. Brett, 1st Judge. Patrick Lamb William Horton Gabriel North Judges Isaac Hardenburgh Alexander Leal Assistants. Benajah Beardsley Ephraim Barrot Hugh Rose Erastus Root Justices. Resolved.—That the Supervisors of the County above said, be requested to make early application [94] to the Honorable the Legislature, in the next session, praying that a law may be passed empowering the Supervisors of said County of Delaware, to raise a certain sum of money for the purpose of erecting public for the reception and convenience of the Court, and for the confining of prisoners within said Co. That the clerk of said Co. transmit an attested copy of this resolution to the Board of Supervisors with all convenient dispatch. Ebenezer Foote, Clerk. [current location of the book, unknown. 2017. —dff]]

The Court House and Jail were completed in the summer of 1799. Also resolved that, as it appears to us necessary for the convenience of the inhabitants of this County, that there should be an additional term of the Court of Common Pleas, and General Sessions of the Peace, within said Co. to be begun on the first Tuesday of June, and that the Clerk of our said Co. present to the Honorable the Legislature, early in their next session, a memorial representing the necessity of such an additional term, and praying that a law be passed for that purpose and also praying that some legislative provision may be made respecting the monies appropriated by Government, for the use of schools within this state, so that the Co. of Delaware may be benefitted thereby, and that our said Clerk be hereby authorized to subscribe said memorial in behalf of the Court, and to transmit a copy of this resolution therewith. The first Term of our Court seems from the letter following to have been the scene of "ructions" conceived by an outsider with whom Mr. Ten Broeck desires to have it understood he has no interest or connection.

Letter to Ebenezer Foote from Peter Ten Broeck, Kingston 12 October 1797

Dear Sir.
I saw a letter you wrote Elmendorf relative to [95] the behavior of Nathan June, at the Court at Delaware. I am sorrow that his conduct should be supposed by gentlemen, to have been instigated by us. I believe his conduct among you is well known generally, and I suppose ours is,—that man must be either ignorant, or wickedly inclined, who can suppose that Mr Elmendorf would encourage such unexampled impudence. The fact is that June in our company,—but not at our desire,—it is true we paid his bail to Frisby, but with reluctance,—however the whole thing is a farce, and the Lord send you more agreeable company at your next court. With sentiments of esteem.
Your friend Peter Ten Broeck.

  • Very worthy men, for the most part, composed this first Court, and I suspect an indignation meeting had been held and Ebenezer chosen to inform Kingston that Delaware County expected to be treated in a manner becoming its dignity. Both Mr. Ten Broeck and Mr. Elmendorf were personal friends of Ebenezer's. Dr. Fowler was the family doctor. One wonders at all the friends who want to come and be near Ebenezer.

Newburgh November 1797

My Dear Friend ... I sympathize with you in all your cares, and hope the pleasing prospects before you, will compensate for the toils of the present. Time has not passed so agreeably with me since your departure, if I can find a purchaser for my place, I desire to take up my residence near you, when we might spend some time in social converse. . . . Your affectionate friend and Humble servt David Fowlee.

  • Elias Butler I have found with infinite pains, [96] was the descendant of an Irish gentleman who settled in Connecticut, but when the acquaintance began I cannot tell, only from letters I have I know that Ebenezer's family stopped at his house on their first coming out, and presumably, from the same source, until the house was ready to give them a shelter. The wall was built and is still there, as well as the same door. Mr. Butler was the first Sheriff of the new county and continued until his death an intimate and esteemed friend. I also like him so well that I regret Walton seems to have forgotten him.

Letter to Ebenezer Foote from Elias Butler, Walton, New York, 9 November, 1797

Respected Friend. I am informed that last Sunday, in attempting to come out of your West door, your foot slipped and being nothing for you to hold by, you slipt down that steep bank into the river, and got a severe ducking. I confess I was not much surprised at the information,—from the time I saw where you had set your house, my mind has foreboded such an event. I warned in season, of the fatal consequences that might attend your laying a foundation at the very brink of a frightful precipice,—you slighted my advice, and it should seem as if the Almighty has begun to punish your temerity. I advise you to build a high wall at the foot, if you can find anyone willing to risk his life to do it. I will end by saying that there is none that loves and esteems you better than I do. There is something in that Phiz of yours that engaged all my softer feelings at our first interview, and a further acquaintance has only strengthened the agreeable impression.

I am dear Friend Your Humble servt Elias Butler.
  • [97] As the trunks were found in late August, it must have been most discouraging not to have received them yet in December. But except by horseback transportation was a matter of chance. Robert Murray and Elizabeth Colden are the happy pair.

Newburgh, Dec 1st, 1797

Dear Ebbe... I would gladly send you molasses sugar &c, but there is no way of conveying it to you, I would it were in my power. . . Murray and Betsey are married,—I had the honor of divesting the hand (perhaps taking off the bride's glove for the ring). The family made the party, and cheerfulness reigned in the Halls of Cadwalader. I stayed and enjoyed it until word was sent me from home. When last in New York, I obtained 15 vol. more of your books, some sets complete, some not, but when you will get them God only knows, but they are now in my pious keeping. Your trunks at Catskill were no doubt wrongly described by Day, but I doubt not all will be well in time. Ever Yours Justin.

Henry Caldwell to E. Foote. Newburgh Dec 3d 1797

Dear Foote. . . . Rejoiced to hear the house is up enough to make you comfortable for the winter. ... I dont know about your getting newspapers out there, and send you the latest. French Republic as usual raising the devil. The three Democratic members of the Directory have become the sole Dictators to France. They have announced a conspiracy against the nation, which they say (they don't prove it) that the two Directors, Barthelemy and Carnot, with General Pichegru [98] and about 60 others of the two Councils are concerned. They have accordingly arrested the conspirators, and condemned them to banishment in true French style,—without the formality and trouble of a trial, or even of a hearing—the negotiation for peace of course broken off, and Lord Malmesbury has returned home,—the scoundrels will never rest easy, till they have a rod of iron over their heads, instead of a Liberty cap on.

Sincerely your friend. H. Caldwell.

S. Sleight to Eben, or "Hal." Newburgh Dec 5th 1797

Dear Hal. It would take a week to write all I would like to. How I am to get through the winter I know not. If I could have one good talk with Mrs Foote!!!! Not one farthing have I been able to get out of all of the people who owe you, but still hope. . . . Sleight.

  • I have countless harrowing letters from poor Peter begging Eben to find money for him in his struggle against Fate, but it was useless, and he is dead, insolvent, and leaving a large family in distress. E. is asked for money to help them. One of E.'s friends who has, deservedly, all my sympathy.

1798

From Philip J. Schuyler to E. Foote. Jan. 10, 1798

Dear Foote. Am just informed an opportunity presents it-self to convey a letter to you by a man going in a few minutes to leave town. You have heard of our success as to the Council—and tomorrow, we proceed to the appointment of a Senator to the U. S. in the stead of my 99 Father who has presented his resignation. Your business is in motion, the additional Common Pleas and general Sessions will be admitted, also authority to raise $200. You know my disposition to serve you. I have seen your brother, and can recognize in him the good Qualities of his brother.
Adieu. P. Schuyler.

Albany March 7th 1798

My Dear Sir. Your letter of the 20 ult received with great pleasure, with your recommendation for the office of Sheriff. It will be grateful to you to be informed that aid was not necessary to the appointment—your standing among our friends is too high to harbour a thought that you would interest yourself for anyone not qualified in every respect. R. R. Livingston, Gov. S. Van Rensselaer, Lieut. Gov.

FOREIGN AFFAIRS DISTURBING

From Philip Schuyler to Eben. Albany, 1798 [100]

. . . . Our foreign affairs are in the same situation as when you left us, our Commissioners not accredited,—we are in a degrading situation, and our rulers passive. I hope the Americans will not be any longer divided, but I fear the faction will not yield to anything but necessity. It is understood here that Ezekiel Gilbert and yourself are to be the candidates,—Horton will bring you the result. Last night our friends had a meeting, Gansevoort in the chair,—to present unanimously Jay, &c. Yours, P.J.S. Jacob Morris of Butternuts

  • (Morris), who had gone there to reside in 1787, was appointed Brigadier General of the newly-organized militia of Otsego County. A descendant of Louis Morris of Morrissania. With other notes, the Cooperstown Library says of him: "He was distinguished for his high culture, sound judgment, courteous manners, and manly bearing." Like Ebenezer he was clerk of his county, which may have been the basis of the subsequent firm friendship arising between the two men, with their similar traits of character. The first letter I have of his follows. [101]

Gen. Jacob Morris to E. Foote. Albany 5th March 1798.

Dear Sir. ... Be assured my friend that under the strongest impressions of your upright intentions, of your regard for the welfare and honour of your new Co., and your sentiments concerning the Na- tional government, so congenial to my own,—your opinions will always have weight with me. Rely on my determination to defer the matters in your quarter until next season, about Military Matters. Yours truly Jacob Morris. "'Jm' G. Staats requests that two deeds may be put on record as soon as convenient." Albany March 21 1798. Dear Foote. The citizens of New York are extremely alarmed over the prospect of war, and are flood- ing us with petitions for protection—indeed our political hemisphere is clouded, and there is no knowing what the French government—our dear Allies—will determine on. The moment must call upon all independent men, and upright citizens to support the country. Bowman calls me to vote for the division Ulster. Adieu. P. J. S. Caleb Benton to E. Foote. Albany April 6th 1798. Dear Sir. From the best information I have been able to collect, Mr John Livingston will be supported as a candidate for Senator at the next election. I hope you will give him all the support in your power. I have reason to think that you will be well supported in Columbia and Dutchess. . . . I am Sir with great esteem Your real friend Caleb Benton.

S. Sleight to E. Foote. Newburgh May 13, 1798 [102]

Dear Friend. ... So much to say to you, and out of three letters directed to you but one usually reaches you. . . . For news. Both parties in Congress unite in reprobating the French, though not with equal warmth, but vigorous measures are pursu- ing to put the country in a state of defence. I ap- prehend Government entertains serious fears of a rupture with France. I am told the French officers are all displaced, and Americans ap- pointed in their stead. The French officers at West Point are dismissed, and Rochefontaine is now at Newburgh, and has hired one of Walsh's houses. Addresses are coming in from all quar- ters, and are written in a style which does hon- our to the American character. I am provoked that with the ordinary conveyance, I cannot com- mit to paper what I most want to say. Say to Mrs Foote everything a grateful and affectionate heart is supposed to feel. I am constantly at work in my office, and can scarcely get enough to pay my debts. Yours affectionately and truly S. Sleight.

Justin to E. Newburgh 7th June 1798.

... As I was setting off for New York, Mr 6., and Mr C Verplanck were about setting off to pay you a visit. I am informed they did not get off on the 25th. As for myself here I sit in this large house "solus," half an invalid for the last ten days with a slow fever. Money is all the cry, and difficult to command. If we have a war, my Southern concerns must be settled, and to my disadvantage. Health and felicity to you all from Justin.

From S. Sleight to E. F. Newburgh 31 July 1798 [103]

Dear Hal. You will have heard that your old friend General Washington has accepted the command of the armies, and Hamilton is appointed Inspector General with the rank of Major General, but I suspect we shall not have much occasion for their services for a. while, as we are told a most power- ful combination is formed in Europe against France, consisting of Russia, Prussia, Germany, Portugal and England. If this be true, and I think it is probable enough, considering the in- sults and outrages committed against these Pow- ers, and the necessity they appear to be under of preventing these revolutionary principles from possessing their own subjects,—our French friends will have enough to do at home, without provoking further animosity abroad. I am afraid you will find a turbulent set at Albany. Excuse my bad paper, there is not a sheet of good paper to be had in town, and I am writing with my last pen, and I havent had 3 quills in three months, and there are no other than common ones to be had here. Affectionately S. Sleight. I have been told that Gen. Jacob Morton was an ancestor of Gov. Levi Morton, but of this I am not sure. He is sometimes called Gen., in other letters, but from them all we gather that he was a patriot, and a cultured gentleman. New York August 22d 1798. My dear Sir. Your obliging favor Came while I was away in the country with my little folks for a few days. I feel much obliged by your attention, and would thank you to communicate with me in this way, [104] during the session, we are all anxious to know what is going forward,—and from our representatives we can have no expectations as they are not of the Household of Faith. It is a time as you say, when every genuine American, every friend to the real independence of our country, should speak out, and hold that language, which traitors and disorganizers like not to hear. The time has really come in which we have as much cause to rally for the support of our Independence, as in 1776, we had to procure it. A detestable faction has been created by French intrigues in the bosom of our country, who like Judas would betray their God, for the gratification of their base resentments. They are however but few in number, and that party is daily losing its weight, from the conviction of many honest but misinformed men, who had been led to associate with them. I am happy to see that the expectations of that party have been disappointed with respect to our Legislature. Your answer to the Governor, and the appointment of Mr Watson, prove that the ballance of Federalism is preponderant. There is an account here, but not much credited, that of the Toulon fleet having taken refuge in Corsica. This, if true, will close the ridiculous parade of the English invasion. Many have supposed that this fleet with the Philosophers on board, were intended for this country.- For my own part, I can scarcely be- lieve possible that they should be so infatuated as to attempt an invasion of this country. Their partizans here must have deceived them most grossly, if they could have represented to them that they would in that event have received any material support from the citizens of this country. None but a few abandoned Villains would have been found to range themselves under a foreign banner against their native land. This belief however, should not relax our measures of [105] defence, every good citizen should eagerly the present enthusiasm of the people, and help forward measures for placing our country in a state which may defy Foreign aggression. The hour of danger is the only time in which our countrymen will be brought to act, the moment of Peace will again bring forward our former supineness and ideas of security. It is therefore your duties to push forward every measure for fortifying our harbor, preparing an Arsenal, &c. The money expended will ultimately be returned to us by the U. S.—and if not, it is disposed of in the best possible way.
I have only room to say, I am with great esteem, Yours Jacob Morton.

From Justin. Newburgh August 23 1798.

Dear E. Things here much the same, I am at the Castle alone still. The thirst here for Poles to declare the infatuation of the people has not yet subsided, —they are daily raising them, some are cut down, and prosecutions begun for damages. . . . Justin.

From Abram TenBroeck of Otsego

"Ebenezer Foote, Esq., Delhi on Delaware." The first time. And sent by hand of Chancellor Kent, who was a frequent visitor at Arbor Hill, and may have gone there to attend the Court. Dear Sir. I troubled you with a letter at Albany almost from necessity, hope no difficulty in particular [106] will arise. If there does, please to act as you would for yourself,
. . . With much respect and esteem. Yours Abram Ten Broeck.

  • Mr. Ten Broeck was a well known and able lawyer of his day. It is a long letter, on Land Office business, its greatest interest the address. The allusion to "Gentry" in the next, means that Arbor Hill was the rendezvous of the higher officers of the Court when coming out to this "wilderness," of the great patent owners who came to see about their lands, and of other agreeable men, political and otherwise, who made business in the new county. Mrs. Foote must have had all of the executive ability we have heard of, to have entertained suitably the constant stream of guests with the trials over getting supplies delivered in good order, if at all. The Mistress was sure of service as long as slaves were to be had, and in that lonely land men of culture and refinement were worth much trouble and anxiety.

From S. Sleight. Kingston 18th Sept. 1798

Dear Sir. Hearing of an opportunity to send you a line I cannot refrain from doing so. Am here attending the Circuit. Only news from Newburgh is that David Colden is dead, farther news you will get from the gen- tlemen who will attend your Circuit. The news of the "sickness" in New York, most distressing, and from Philadelphia dreadful!!!! Hoped to have had a letter from Albany as at home you will be so much employed in entertain- ing the "Gentry" as to leave you little time for anything else. Yours S. Sleight. From Daniel Hale, Secretary of State. This [107] is the first of a long correspondence. Mr. Hale I believe to have been of the famous Maine family, but I have not been able thus far to get data.

Albany 28th Sept 1798

Sir. His Excellency the Governor, has directed a number of Copies of the "Correspondence of the American Envoys to the French 'Republic'" lodged in this office for distribution and I have taken the liberty to address twenty of them to you. Will you be pleased to have them put in the hands of such persons as will be most likely to give the sentiments contained in them a general circulation. Clergymen of Federal principles may not be improper ones to be supplied.

  • Clergymen of any description were not abundant near Delhi in 1798.

From nice Elias Butler with the usual wail for ready money. Walton 10th October 1798

Dear Friend. Your letters to the Directory I forwarded immediately. Billy (another very nice man, a cousin of Erastus, but different) will call on you on his way to Hudson. Please let him have what money you can spare, and I will replace it as soon as possible. Hope it will not be less than eight dollars, as disappointment in collecting renders that sum absolutely necessary.

With the highest esteem of your friend Elias Butler.
  • In Lossing's History of the United States I find the following: "During 1797 France continued to insult our country—an extraordinary congress was convened on 15th May, and three Envoys were appointed to proceed to France and adjust all difficulties.[108] They were refused an audience (in October) unless they should first pay a large sum of money into the French Treasury. The demand was indignantly refused and the two Federalist envoys were ordered out of the country, while Mr Gerry who was a Republican was allowed to remain. In the next letter we find that Mr. Gerry has returned. From Judge Thompson. Albany 11th October 1798. Dear Sir. Your ill natured and abusive letter I duly rec'd, and I find it has such an effect on my nerves, that T should not have attempted have attempted writing had not your requisitions been fully complied with yesterday, in Council . . . and I hope we shall hear no more abuse, or you will be left to the mercy of Robespierre, from which fate you will pray, "Good Lord deliver us." You will find by the paper that Mr Gerry has returned, and by his last note to Talleyrand, the intrigue and villainy of the Directory appear truly conspicuous, and I hope will have a good effect in convincing our Frenchmen, that no reliance is to be placed on their pretended insidious professions of friendship. The commissions for the Field officers of the second Regiment are made out, and I hope will prove satisfactory. I set out tomorrow morning on my return, as the Council have adjourned to meet again 26 Dec., soon after which I promise myself the pleasure of seeing you in Albany. Till then God bless you.


Make my best respects to Mrs Foote, and rest assured I remain Your affectionate friend and sert Wm. Thompson.

Again from Abram Ten Broeck. [109] Cooperstown Oct 18 1798.

Dear Sir. I recd yours from the hands of Gen. Gansevoort, direct from Cherry Valley. I am much obliged for your attention to this as well as to other business. . . . As for leasing, only you can judge whether its worth while in such a remote part of your county. In haste with much esteem Yours Abram Ten Broeck.

From James Oliver. Marbletown Nov 15 1798

Dear Foote. . . . The French party are very quiet now, but I suppose they are preparing slyly as they always do. My endeavor will be to frustrate them. . . . Tell Mrs Foote and the little girls I long to see them. I am dear Foote yours sincerely James Oliver.

Inception of the Leaseholds

1799

From Gerard Smith Sloan. New Paltz February 12 1799.

Dear Friend. I congratulate you on the honour you have of being chosen to be a Member of the Honorable body of the Council of Appointment—much plea- sure I have in seeing you so successful in spite of all your foes. . . . With perfect esteem I am your undiminished friend, Gerard Smith Sloan.

The agency for leasing the lands in the new counties was an important and much sought after function, requiring strict honesty, as well as in- telligence to avoid the schemes of the land sharpers. The position paid well, and fortunately took only part time, as at this date E. was Senator, in the Council of Appointment, and County Clerk.

The next is endorsed: "Hon. Morgan Lewis." Mr. Lewis was a notable man in the state, held many offices besides that of Governor in 1801, built the mansion at Lake Delaware in 1825, and occasionally lived there, until his death. From letters we see that before 1825 he always stopped at Arbor Hill.

No 89 Cherry St. Staatsburgh 10 March 1799.

Dear Sir. Some family occurrences have prevented my return to Albany as I had intended, therefore send you by Mr Smith, the necessary power of Attor- ney, to enable you to make leases, and a map of the land shall be forwarded as soon as prepared. . . . The manner of signing a lease, to be, "Mor- gan Lewis, by his Attorney Ebenezer Foote." The business of roads I take to be an object of first importance, and am anxious for the comple- tion of the one through my tract, but cannot afford to spend much money on it at one time. (Note: Important man and one of the great land owners, he, it would appear, as well as Ebenezer and others considered to be "well off," was in want of "ready money.") I propose this summer to go as far as One hundred dollars, which should be expended in cutting out the timber merely. If you think proper and can make it answer your purpose, I shall confide to you the disposition of it. When you return home, present my respects to Mrs Foote, and assure her, her polite attentions while at your house, will ever claim the grateful remembrance of her, and your Friend and Servant, Morgan Lewis.

  • Kettletas is an old New York name, but I have never been able to find anything printed about the family, or anything more pertaining to the Fly Market episode, except what is contained in my letters. Mr. Kettletas and my ancestor may have been partners in crime on that occasion, but I am ready to forgive without asking, for having sinned at so delicious a spot as "The Fly Market." Or they may have been bitter enemies then, and made up as is the way of the world, and are concerned together over land, as the letter suggests.

New York March 15 1799

Dear Sir. I entered our claim for lot No 88 Hector. [112] wish to know if you have taken any steps to main- tain your title, being under that Freehold it will be necessary that we coalese, in supporting the title, and prepare for trial. You will please let me hear from you, and if you come to New York, I should be glad to see you, to take proper steps with you for the support of our joint interest and mutual benefit. Yours &c. William Kettletas. (See January 28, 1796.)

From John Kortright, Esq. New York Jan 14 1799

Dear Sir. Being indebted to the State a considerable sum for Quit rent, 1 made arrangements to settle the demand with the Comptroller, as the law clearly points out, that the arrears to the year 1794, shall be receivable in any stock created under the authority of the United States—I of course expected no difficulty on the part of the Comptroller. I was much surprised to find he would not re- ceive this stock, and from the conversation I had with him, am induced to believe, he intends to have that Law repealed this session, which would be doing great injustice to many individuals. I can but hope for your influence to prevent this great act of injustice taking place to many Citizens, who have purchased land subject to Qmt Rent, calculating to pay the arrears as the Law directs. Your friendship in this business will ever oblige Sir, Your Obt, Humble servant, John Kortbight. P. S. I shall esteem it a particular favor if you would write when this business comes up, and your opinion as to the result. Direct to me, to the care of Edmund Seaman, Wall Street New York. EPISTOLARY LIGHT ON HIS TIME 113 Mr. Foote was at this time State Senator and in Albany, and writing home to Arbor Hill to Har- riet, his older daughter, and to Margaret or Peg, the younger one. The house now owned by the Hon. John D. Clarke was in a lonely spot, and in March, 1799, probably buried in snowdrifts and when I read the letters after all these years the picture of the great house with its roaring fire- places (no stoves as yet) and the gracious Mother striving to fit her children for the wider world whence she had come was, and still is, to me a vivid one. Young people of this day may have to be re- minded that the dancing of that day consisted of elaborate steps, difficult to conquer, in contrast to those we have today.

Albany March 18 1799. Your very agreeable little letter was handed to me by Judge Leal, my dear Harriet, though I dont like to hear that you are melancholy on ac- count of Charles. You must recollect that it is necessary that he should go from home or he can- not get an education, and it is of the utmost im- portance that he should get what learning he can, while he is young. You must read and write, and dance for your Mama, and kiss her a great many times for me. I want to see her and you all very much. Good night my child, I am your affection- ate friend, E. Foote. Charles had been sent to Kingston to a board- ing school. Well Madam Peg, I received your little two- penny letter, and am much pleased with it and wish it had been much longer. You ought to write me a long letter telling me all your little play tricks and what you do every day. Do you H

114 EBENEZER FOOTE—THE FOUNDER learn some lessons by heart, and read and write and help your Mama. You must learn to dance every evening, and kiss your Mama for me every night. I will tell little Miss Ten Broeck what you say, she is a pretty little girl, and took good care of me the other day when I was sick. Good night my little cherub, I love you and am your friend as well as Papa. E. Foote. Delhi

Dec 8 1799. Dear Sir. I have reed yours in which you express a wish for a little money. God knows I should be glad to help you, our treaty, I wish to fulfil in every iota, as far as lies in my power. Your letter is couched in strong friendly and generous terms, and merits my strictest attention,—but what shall I do. You know my situation in pecuniary mat- ters when you was here last. They are not bet- tered. There are about 30 dollars which I have lent and which I cannot obtain. The Sheriff has a great number of Exs of mine which are not yet collected, and when I shall ever receive any more money, requires the spirit of prophecy to fore- tell. When I shall receive any cash you shall stand foremost on the list of my creditors. I go to Esopus tomorrow, if you wish to write, please to forward your commands by citizen Peter. Yours &c. Erastus Root.

Sunday December 22 1799. Dear Sir. I have reed your letter, and can consciently say that altho' you and I are not very deeply in love with each other, yet I feel for your situation in pecuniary matters. I have been frequently in such a dilemma myself, and can therefore cordially sympathize with you. I have lately reed Duns from other quarters, but I excused myself, [115] —you being put foremost in the list of my creditors. I have a ten dollar bill which is devoted to you. If I can help you further before you go to Albany, I shall cheerfully do it, but I cannot promise positively. Be assured Sir, that I am much pleased at discerning in you a disposition to use me generously in our official capacities. This disposition it shall be my endeavor to reciprocate Yours &c. Erastus Root.

Foote Family Papers, 1800–1819

Foote Family Papers, 1820–1861

Bibliography of Foote Family Sources