Biography of Harry Foote
Erie County, NY Biographies

Foote Family, The, 1897, Concord, p. o. Springville. - Harry Foote is of New England parentage, his ancestors having been among the first settlers in Connecticut and Massachusetts, arriving there in 1639. Born in Cattaraugus county A. D. 1832, March 22, educated in the common schools of those times, attending district school in winter and working on the farm in summer, implies but a limited knowledge of the curriculum of that day; alternating teaching with farming and mechanical pursuits for a few years, but for the past thirty years has made farming the primary avocation of life; living on the old homestead in Concord, Erie county, N. Y., fiftythree years, or from March, 1839, to October 7, 1892, when he moved to Springville, N. Y., where he now resides a retired farmer. February 11, 1864, he married Jennie Rollo Calkins, born August 23, 1838, daughter of William Calkins. His father, Ransford Thomas Foote, was a native of Watertown, Litchfield county, Conn., where he was born January 6, 1806. He was a man of marked integrity and always willing to extend a helping hand to his fellow man. The vicissitudes of pioneer life were manfully met and by indefatigable perseverance he ultimately hewed out a comfortable home amidst the primeval wilderness of the Holland Land Purchase. His wife, Susan Atwood Foote, was born in Woodbury, Litchfield county, Conn., December 2, 1805: they were married November 16, 1828, in Connecticut, moved to Unadilla in 1829 where they remained one year, and then came to Otto, Cattaraugus county, N. Y., in 1830, three score and seven years ago, where they lived for six years, and then moved to Colden, Erie county, engaging in the boot and shoe manufacturing business for three years, and in March, 1839, moved to Concord, Erie county, when thirty three years old, and continued to reside on the old homestead until his decease, April 6, 1891, aged eighty five years and three months, having lived on the same farm fifty two years continuously. The wayfarer always met with the hospitable hand of welcome at their humble home. Susan Atwood Foote died September 12, 1890, aged eighty four years, nine months and ten days. Their married life embraced a period of nearly sixty two years. The memories of a pleasant life on the farm associated with father and mother come back with responsive emotions. The same silver streams go purling on their course - the ripples will ripple on just as happy - the sunshine will kiss the hills and valleys just as warmly and lovingly - the herds of cattle will be ruminating on the green pastures just as meekly and quietly, but other eyes will be looking on them-other hearts will throb and burn with hopes, ambitions, loves, joys and sorrows as of old. The grateful sunbeams kissing landscapes are mementoes of a happy life on the old farm. Wishing to perpetuate some of the more impressive incidents of pioneer life of the Foote family, I herewith transcribe the following reminiscences as dictated by Susan Foote to a local historian and biographical writer (Erasmus Briggs), who compiled an elaborate town history of Concord in 1883. The following from the pages of Briggs's history will strikingly serve to illustrate the marked difference in the methods, manner of life, economy and persistent push of the times and people of three quarters of a century ago: "It took us four days to go from Buffalo to Otto, Cattaraugus county; the first winter we lived in a log house with another family named Butterfield; the house was 18 by 20 feet, the floor was split out of basswood logs, and there was but one six lighted window. The sash were small slats nailed together and paper was pasted over the sash, then greased and used as a substitute for glass, and in the center there was a small piece of glass, as large as the palm of on&s hand, fitted so that we could look out. The chimney had a stone back up a few feet, but no jambs; the top was finished out with sticks. Some time during the first winter, about ten o'clock one night, I was up at work hatcheling flax, all the others in the house having gone to bed, when I heard my geese squall fearfully outside, near the house. I went out and saw a large animal near the geese. I tried to scare him, but he stood there some time, and when he turned up his head to look at me, his eyes shown like two balls of fire; he finally went away. I told Mr. Butterfield what I had seen, and he went out and examined the tracks, and said it was a catamount. The wolves then were very numerous. I have often listened to their howlings in the night, and they very often killed sheep in the neighborhood and in the different parts of the town, and the inhabitants generally turned out at different times to hunt and destroy them out of town. Deer were very thick then; I have frequently seen them in the fields and near the house. One morning I looked out and saw five fine deer feeding beside the garden fence. The second year after we we came to Otto we had managed to get two cows, and I made butter and had saved up a considerable quantity. I wanted some groceries, and Mr. Foote took his oxen and carried me and some of the neighboring women to Lodi (now Gowanda) ten miles to trade. We started before daylight and forded the Cattaraugus Creek, and when we arrived at Mr. Plumb's store he asked us what we wanted to get for our butter. I told him I would like to get some groceries; he said he could not sell groceries for butter, but would let me have shelf goods: he said he was then paying six cents for butter (just previons he had paid five cents). So I had to sell my butter for shelf goods and go home without any groceries. Since that time I have sold butter for fifty cents a pound, cash. The second year after we came to Otto our tax was one dollar and fifty cents, and when Mr. Allen, the collector, came for the tax, Mr. Foote told him he had no money and that he knew of no way to get any. Mr. Allen kindly said to him that he had some money and that he would pay the tax, and Mr. Foote, who was a shoemaker, might come over to his house and make up some shoes for his family, which he did. We afterwards in the time and during the late Civil war paid $150 tax per year, and we paid the tax easier than we could raise that one dollar and fifty cents in money at that time, such being the scarcity and great difficulty in getting money. The first farm vehicle we had for winter use was an ox sled, shaped and fashioned from the crooked truck of a tree, and for summer use we had a cart made from the cross section of the trunk of a large tree. Our only way of carrying on trade relations with the commercial center uffalo] was by the use of ox teams, and the time necessary to make the round trip was usually eight or ten days; now the steam cars make the same trip in half as many hours." The wants and necessities of those early times wrought many a domestic device for the relief and needs of the early settlers. The processes than in vogue for converting the cereals, flax and wool into webs of cloth for wearing apparel, were primitive. The flax wheel and distaff, the hand carding, the woolen wheel and loom, were indispensable and in general use. The mothers of blessed memory wrought the warp and woof with tireless energy. The deeds of the mothers should be hailowed in memory above all things else, and may God bless them for most of them have fulfilled their missions and the wheels have ceased their turning, their inspiring music has ceased; these mementoes are now scrupuously preserved and cherished and now connect the present with the past; they are souvenirs of a past epoch - now silent reminders of the log cabin and hovel, which served to shelter them from the biting blasts of winter. And for them the brittle thread of life's distaff has been broken; but never let the memory of them depart, in the glitter and glow of modern days; give them the warmest place in your hearts and whenever you breathe their names let it be in the holy and sacred depths of affection.-C0MMUNICATED.

Our County and its people
A descriptive work on Erie County, New York
Edited by: Truman C. White
The Boston History Company, Publishes 1898


Privacy Policy for OnlineBiographies


Erie County Biographies

Names A to Be
Names Bi to Bu
Names C
Names D
Names E and F
Names G
Names H
Names I to Kl
Names Kn to L
Names M to Mi
Names Mo to O
Names P
Names Q and R
Names S to Si
Names Sk to Sw
Names T to V
Names W to We
Names Wh to Z

Genesee County Biographies

Online Biographies

New York History

Erie County History

Also see [ Railway Officials in America 1906 ] NEW

For all your genealogy needs visit Linkpendium

Family Tree Maker 2012