Ebenezer Foote


This Ebenezer Foote was born in July 1773. He was the eldest son of Capt. John Foote and his second wife, the former Mary Peck. He worked on the family farm in Westbury, Connecticut until he was twenty. After the harvest of 1792, he left the farm to pursue studies under Reverend John Foot, the Congregational minister of Cheshire, Connecticut. He taught school to pay his expenses. He furthered his education at the law school in Litchfield and was admitted to the Connecticut bar in 1796. He removed to Lansingburgh, New York and, after selling his father's farm, opened a legal practice.

Foote also entered the political arena and was affiliated with Ambrose Spencer, the New York State Attorney General and future mayor of Albany (1825-26). Foote was appointed assistant Attorney General by Governor George Clinton in 1801 and served for several years. He continued his legal practice in Troy until he relocated to Albany in 1808 where he resided until his death.

By 1810, his household was configured on the Albany census.

He was an attorney. The first city directories called him a "counsellor" at 36 Montgomery Street.

His younger brother, Samuel A. Foote, lived in Ebenezer's home and studied at his Albany law office.

To make a better education available to their only daughter Lucretia, in February 1814, he and his wife, Betsey, founded the "Union School" which became the "Albany Female Academy" and then Albany Academy for Girls. The original school was on leased land on the east side of Montgomery Street near his home. Foote was its first treasurer.

Ebenezer Foote died in July 1814 and was buried in the Episcopal plot. He had lived forty-one years.

biography in-progress


the people of colonial Albany Sources: The life of Ebenezer Foote is CAP biography number 8070. This sketch is derived chiefly from family and community-based resources. A number of prominent, same-named individuals lived in New York State during his lifetime. Thus, we are particularly cautious in assigning qualitative information to the life of this nineteenth-century Albany resident.

"In 1808, however, the partnership was dissolved, and Mr. Foote removed to Albany, the capital of the State, on account of the greater facilities it afforded for the practice of his profession. There he continued till his death, having generally a junior partner in his office. During this period, he took an active part in politics, and was an ardent and able supporter of the principles of his party. He wrote for the press, and his influence as a politician kept pace with his professional reputation. On one occasion, he was a prominent candidate for United States Senator, with a prospect of election ; but his friends did not succeed in their object.

In July, 1814, Mr. Foote attended the Circuit Court of Rensselaer County, held in Troy, and was engaged in several important trials. His temperament was ardent and the weather unusually warm. A bilious fever came on, perhaps as the consequence of over-exertion. He returned home, obtained medical aid, and nothing serious was apprehended for several days. But on the fourth or fifth day of his illness, the disease began to assume an alarming aspect. It terminated fatally, after a violent and painful struggle, which his robust constitution maintained for hours, on the 21st of the month and twelfth day of his sickness.
Mr. Foote was a large man, full six feet in height, with a well formed, muscular and manly frame and a good constitution. Mr. Foote had a strong and active mind, and " had he enjoyed the advantages of an early and thorough education, would have had few equals in this country. As he was, he had no superiors in the State of his adoption in those contests at the bar where ready wit, strong and discriminating judgment, powerful reasoning and great intellectual resources were essential to snccess. He excelled particularly in trials before juries. He wrote as he spoke, with vigor and wit, but without the elegance or polish of a finished scholar. A brief notice like the present will not permit a reference to any of the important causes in which he was engaged, nor extracts from bis speeches, many of which were published in the newspapers and psmphlets of the day, nor even a recital of the many anecdotes told of him, but which show the force and brilliancy of his unpolished but exhaustless and spicy wit." Mr. Foote had a warm and generous heart, and was more ready to help his relations and friends than provide for himself. He was liberal to a fault. He contributed freely in aid of his brother, Samuel Alfred Foote in obtaining an education ; and though the latter afterwards repaid his advances with interest, they were not made with the expectation of any return.
Mr. Foote's name deserves to be mentioned in connection with the Albany Female Academy, which has long been one of the most important institutions of the kind in this country. It was established in February, 1814, under the name of "Union School in Montgomery street." Mr. Foote started the project and obtained most of the subscriptions. " From The History of Waterbury which currently is available online.

first posted: 10/10/08