Title                Reminiscences of a journey to Indianapolis in the year 1836, Volume 2, Issue 9
                        Reminiscences of a Journey to Indianapolis in the Year 1836, Charles Pinckney                                  Ferguson

Authors            Charles Pinckney Ferguson, Samuel Morrison

Publisher         The Bowen-Merrill company, 1883

Original from  Indiana University

Digitized         May 4, 2009

Length              373 pages



Ziba Foote was born in Newtown, Conn., July 4, A. D. 1785, of poor but honest, upright parentage. He taught , school to raise money to pay his way into Yale College, and graduated, with distinction, in 1805. In early life he had a strong friendship for a young man by the name of David Sanford, of Newtown, his native place. David was a little older and farther advanced, in 1803, than Ziba. He graduated at Yale College in 1804, the year that Ziba entered. They were so much alike in disposition that their friendship bound them together so that they, at that time, loved as David and Jonathan did.

Jared Mansfield, the surveyor-general, had full control of all the surveys in the northwestern territory, to wit: Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Missouri, Arkansas and Michigan Territory, with his headquarters at a village on the Ohio river known as Cincinnati.

Wishing to procure the services of some scientific young men from Yale College to assist him in the public surveys, David Sanford was recommended to him, and was engaged. As Sanford had already graduated, he was ready to start at once. Foote, not yet through college, expected soon to follow. Sanford, after completing a contract in Indiana Territory, near Vincennes, was sent north to survey a reserve of four townships at the foot of the rapids of the Maumee river, waiting and hoping for his friend, Foote, to come.

About the first of August, 1805, Ziba Foote started from Newtown, Conn., and, on the 5th day of September, he arrived at Cincinnati, after a long and troublesome journey. Soon afterward the following letter was received at Newtown by his friends:

" Fort Wayne [date not given].

" On arriving at General Mansfield's I found that Elias Grover and David Sanford had gone up to the northern lakes, surveying, just nine days before my arrival. I presented General Mansfield my letters, and he told me that from my youth and inexperience, prudence would dictate that it would be best for me to go one trip as assistant surveyor, after which he would make me a deputy."

Mr. Foote started, the day after his arrival at General Mansfield's, in pursuit of his friend Sanford, and found him at Fort Wayne, waiting for Mr. Wm. Wells, the Indian agent, to give him directions about surveying, and from here they went down to Fort Miami, on the lake, Mr. Foote on horse-back and Sanford in a canoe.

Sanford, being much exposed, when he arrived at the Fort, was sick. Foote, in a letter to his father, said:

" Mr. Sanford would not permit me to go into the woods, but kept me to nurse himself. I took very strict care of him until I got sick myself. As there was no one but myself to take care of him, I was compelled to give him what attention I was able. The accommodations were wretched. Mr. Sanford had a tolerable bed. As to eating, he had no appetite, so that lack of these materials was not felt. My fever came on generally at evenings, and I was obliged to lie on the floor, which made my bones ache very badly. In a few days Mr. Sanford died, and I was just able to sit up to see him breathe his last. He was speechless four days before his death. He died on Friday, October nth (1805), about two hours before day, and was buried the same day about sunset. I determined to go back to Cincinnati with all speed, for if I stayed there I thought I should die too. The next day there came along four men, with but two horses, who were going almost to Cincinnati. I thought this as good an opportunity as I should find, so I packed up and was just ready to start with them when the fever came on, so I was obliged to stay, and they went on.

" The next morning, feeling fresh and resolute, I got up my horse (one of Sandford's) and pursued after and overtook them before night. That night we all slept in the woods. Next morning we started two hours before day on our journey; we traveled on, and arrived about noon at Fort Defiance. Here I was taken with the fever again, and stayed all night, but they left me and went on. The next morning I set out after my company. I went on about three miles, lost my road, and went back; hired a man for three dollars to pilot me eighteen miles. He went the distance and turned back; I kept on, expecting every minute to overtake the company, knowing, if I failed, I must sleep in the woods alone. It rained very hard constantly. Well, I spurred on till dark, and yet had not overtaken them. I could go no farther, but must spend the night alone in those dark woods. In the first place, I knew that I should want considerable water in the night, but had nothing but my boots to hold it; so I climbed down the river bank and filled one boot with water and placed it so that I could drink out of it during the night. I turned out my horse with a bell on, and hampered him, and all was well so far. I then took out my fire-works and tried for a long time to get a fire, but could not, as it was raining very hard. I begged, prayed, and cried, but all did not make me a fire, and I was obliged to give it up. So I took my two blankets and lay down in the woods, almost doubting if I should ever rise up again. The rain poured down until twelve o'clock. I lay till daylight, tackled up my horse, hurried on and overtook my company, and at evening we reached a house. The lady's name was Mrs. B. I stayed there ten days, and called her mother; but I had not found the right one yet."

Mr. Foote having returned to Cincinnati quite discouraged, but still determined to work somewhere, he found General Mansfield and informed him of the death of his friend, Sanford. The General, being a man of very tender feelings., could not refrain from weeping when he received the sad intelligence.

Ziba Foote now brought his own case before the General. He was without friends and without money in a strange land, and no work. His high spirits now seemed to be perfectly under a cloud, and he was almost in despair ; he knew not where to go or what to do. But relief came to his mind when General Mansfield informed him that he would give him every assistance in his power. He advanced him money, and gave him as much to do in his office as he could do; also assured him that he would give him as much lucrative business in the future as the nature of the case would admit of, and as he became able to perform it. Ziba spent the winter in Cincinnati.

The last letter that he wrote to his friends in Connecticut was dated March 20, 1806, on the Ohio river, off against Fort Massie, and contained the following extract:

" On the 4th of this month I set out to survey with Mr. William Rector, a gentleman with whom I am well pleased."

Next in Order is a letter from Wm. Rector to Surveyor General Mansfield, giving an account of poor Foote's tragic death. It is dated: "Surak's Ferry, Ohio River, May i6th, 1806," and reads as follows:

"Sir, I am extremely sorry to inform you, that about twelve o'clock on Wednesday, the 3oth of April, Mr. Ziba Foote was drowned. The circumstances attending this melancholy accident were as follows: The overflowed country that I was compelled, last winter, to leave unfinished, he was surveying on the east side of the Wabash. He came to a pond, about thirty chains wide, which, from its appearance, he supposed he and his companions could pass through without swimming; but, being uncertain, he fastened his compass and Jacob-staff to his belt, in order to be able to go through at any rate. In this encumbered condition, he went into the pond, and had gone but a short distance when he got over his depth. As soon as he began to swim he called out to his chainmen, and directed them to follow him, for he said he was determined to swim through. They did so, and all swam on very well until they had nearly passed the deep part of the water, when, all of a sudden, Mr. Foote began to sink, and said he was drowning. Mr. Gilkerson, one of the chainmen, who is a very good swimmer, swam to him ; but he had sunk so low that he was unable to get hold of him, except by his hat, which was on his head. By this means he kept him up for a short time ; but his hat came off, when he at once sank, and never rose again.

"Mr., Gilkerson then went out on the pond, on some logs they had Tied together, and endeavored to raise him with a long pole and a hook, in time to save his life ; but the logs, unfortunately, separated, and he was obliged to swim to shore. They then made a raft, on which Mr. Gilkerson went out a second time, and raised Mr. Foote and brought him out; but it was too late. He had been under water about two hours, and life was extinct. His company then made a wooden spade, with which, and an ax, they dug a grave on a small hill near the pond. They then made a bark coffin, and buried him late that evening. His burial was as decent as circumstances would admit of, for the place is remote from all settlements.

"Mr. Gilkerson at once came here to communicate to me the melancholy intelligence. Sincerely do I regret Mr. Foote's untimely death, for he was a young man who possessed many amiable virtues, among which were industry, perseverance, candor and good nature. Often has he expressed to me the most lively gratitude for the friendly treatment he had received at your house. He had endeared himself to all my company in such a manner that, had each one lost a dear relative, they could not have expressed more sorrow at his loss. When I parted 'with Mr. Foote, at the mouth of the Wabash, I told him he would meet with great difficulties in surveying among the ponds, and requested him not to hurry himself, and in all cases to work around the ponds by offsets. He observed that he would take as much time as would enable him to do the work in the most accurate manner, but said he had been informed that some of his friends at Cincinnati had predicted that he would not stand the fatigue of the woods, and that he was determined to exert himself to accomplish what he had to do as soon as possible, in order to convince his friends that he did not want fortitude to go through with what he was willing to undertake. "I am yours, etc., ^wm. Rector,

" Deputy Surveyor."

The following is from Prof. E. T. Cox:

"When on a visit to Bedford, in Lawrence county, to examine the stone quarries, I came across the tomb of Ziba Foote and Winthrop Foote, M. D., his brother. Dr. Foote was a very learned man and noted for his eccentricities. A very large block of limestone had broken off from the face of a projecting cliff and lay at its foot, in a deep, narrow and secluded valley, close to the town of Bedford, and on Dr. Foote's land.

He had a hole cut into this stone for a vault, in which to entomb the remains of his brother and himself. Many years ago he made a journey on horse-back to Posey county, to hunt for the grave of Ziba Foote. John Waller, who was then living near Foote's Grave Pond, conducted him to the grave. Ziba Foote's body had been wrapped in the bark of a tree, which served as shroud and coffin. The bones were gathered up and were carried to their present resting place. On the flat top of the stone sepulcher is a triangular-capped monolith, which bears the epitaph of the two brothers. I was so struck with this singular burial place that I made a sketch of the stone and copied the following memorial:


Born In Newtown, Conn.,

July 4th, 1785.


April 30th, 1806.

He graduated at Yale College, with great honor, at the age of 20 years, was drowned in Foote's Grave Pond, Gibson county, Indiana, while conducting government surveys. His remains lie here.

"And by the buried bones of him whom living I loved best,
See me at last laid quietly, then leave me to my rest."

On the other side of the shaft was :


Born Newtown, Conn.,

November 30th, 1787.

Died Bedford, Ind.,

August 2d, 1$56.

By unsurpassed energy he educated himself and graduated in law and medicine with great distinction early in life. Having selected for practice the latter profession, his mental and physical energies secured him success equaled by few of his contemporaries. He emigrated to Palestine in 1818 and to Bedford in 1823.

"And so farewell my dear, good friends,
And farewell world, to thee,
I part with some in love,
With all in peace and charity."



History of Lawrence and Monroe counties, Indiana: their people, industries ...

 By B.F. Bowen & Co, 1914,  (pp. 193-194)




Without doubt the greatest industry of Lawrence county is the stone industry, and from its magnitude the city of Bedford has long since been styled the "Stone City." But few localities in the entire United States domain affords better facilities for quarrying the best of workable building stone. This stone goes by various names. "St. Louis Limestone" "Bedford Stone," and "Bedford Oolitic Stone" are among the commercial and geological terms used in describing these immense deposits of building stone. Owen, Lawrence and Monroe counties are all underlaid with about the same grade of stone, with some variations as to hardness and fineness. While the real development of these valuable quarries does not date back more than thirty years, the stone from these quarries was worked and known far and near many years prior to that time.

Among the earliest settlers in this county was that prince of gentlemen, Dr. Winthrop Foote, of Connecticut, a man well versed in both law and medicine who invaded the wilds of this county and settled at the old county seat, Palestine, in 1818. but moved to Bedford when this city became the seat of justice. He was a firm believer in the future of Lawrence county and in the possibilities of the stone found here, so lavishly bestowed by the hand of the Creator. He it was who acquired, by purchase and the "taking up" of government land, nearly all the sites upon which the most productive quarries are now located, at least all that were worked a quarter of a century ago. He early remarked to a friend that some day they would be sending that stone to New York city, and was met with the assertion that it could not be so, on account of there being no way to transport such heavy commodities so great a distance, but Dr. Foote remarked that there would be found a way by the time the stone was demanded there.

In 1832 Dr. Foote went to Louisville, Kentucky, and there interested a stone cutter named Toburn, who returned with him and located at Bedford. He was probably the first regular stone cutter who ever entered this county. Among the evidences of his having lived and labored here are numerous pieces of his handiwork in way of monuments and buildings from stone. Important and interesting among these is the vault cut from a large boulder which lies in the position it was left by some mighty upheaval, on the eastern slope of the hill overlooking what is now known as "Blue Hole" quarry, about a mile from the center of Bedford. This vault is known as the Foote vault. The Doctor had a brother, Ziba Foote, who, while acting as a government surveyor, in 1806, had been drowned, in what is now known as Foote's Grove pond, and he was buried on its banks. As soon as the vault was completed the body was exhumed and placed therein, and here also, in 1856, Dr. Winthrop Foote himself was buried. This spot was selected by the Doctor on account of its being in a quiet spot, away from the rush and noise of the city life. But things have changed with the march of time and the wonderful development of the great stone industry, and today numberless trains of cars rush madly by, upon two lines of railroad. The sound of the steam channeling machines, steam derricks and stone saw-mill machinery is ever heard in that locality, but the dead sleep on and heed it not.



b. 13 FEB 1751/52 Newtown, CT.
d. 1 NOV 1826

Father: PRINDLE, Jehoshaphat
Mother: BASTON, Hannah


Marriage: 23 OCT 1769
Spouse: FOOTE, Edward
b. 1 JUL 1743 Newtown, CT.

Father: FOOTE, George
Mother: BURRITT, Catharine


FOOTE, Olive
b. 26 NOV 1770 Newtown, CT.
FOOTE, Austin
b. 14 MAR 1773 Newtown, CT.
d. BEF. JUN 1781
FOOTE, Huldah
b. 12 JUL 1774 Newtown, CT.
b. 3 DEC 1775 Newtown, CT.
FOOTE, Lucina
FOOTE, Catharine
b. 18 JUL 1779 Newtown, CT.
d. BEF. AUG 1794
FOOTE, Austin
b. 1 JUN 1781 Newtown, CT.
FOOTE, Edward Allen
b. 12 MAY 1783 Newtown, CT.
b. 20 JUL 1785 Newtown, CT.
d. 30 APR 1806 Indiana
FOOTE, Winthrop
b. 30 NOV 1787 Newtown, CT.
FOOTE, Nisan
b. 9 MAY 1790 Newtown, CT.
FOOTE, Prosper Alonzo
b. 16 JUL 1792 Newtown, CT.
FOOTE, Catharine Maria
b. 17 AUG 1794 Newtown, CT.
FOOTE, Charlotte
b. 13 MAY 1797 Newtown, CT.