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 YaleCollege, 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 YaleCollege 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,
with his headquarters at a village on the Ohio river
known as Cincinnati.
Wishing to procure the services of some scientific young men
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 IndianaTerritory, 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.
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].
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.
being much exposed, when he arrived at the Fort, was sick. Foote, in a letter
to his father, said:
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 at FortDefiance. 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 . 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."
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 FortMassie, and contained the following
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 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.
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,
The following is from Prof. E. T. Cox:
"When on a visit to Bedford,
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 Poseycounty, 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:
FOOTE, A. B.,
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
On the other side of the shaft was :
Born Newtown, Conn.,
November 30th, 1787.
Died Bedford, Ind.,
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
"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)
THE BEDFORD STONE
Without doubt the greatest industry of Lawrencecounty is the stone industry, and from its magnitude
the city of Bedford has long since
been styled the "StoneCity."
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
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. 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. FOOTE, Ann
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. FOOTE, Ziba
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.