TABLE OF CONTENTS
RG 069:120, Foote Family Papers
Finding aid prepared by Bruce P. Stark.
Copyright © 2008 by the Connecticut State Library
The papers consist of materials pertaining to three generations of members of the Foote family of Marlborough, principally Asa Foote (1728-1806), his son Joel Foote (1763-1846), the children of Joel Foote and their spouses, and other relatives.1 Asa, a farmer by trade, and Joel Foote, a clothier and merchant, were both well to do and prominent political figures in Marlborough Society in Colchester and in the town of Marlborough.
1For information on the Foote family and how the major figures in the collection are related to one another, see Abram W. Foote, Foote Family: Comprising the Genealogy and History of Nathaniel Foote of Wethersfield, Conn. and his Descendants, Vol. I (Rutland, Vt.: Marble City Press, 1907).
The papers are divided into two series, the first consisting of Justice of the Peace Records and the second of Family Papers.
Series 1, Justice of the Peace Records, 1781-1849, consists of court papers kept by several members of the Foote family who were justices of the peace in Marlborough Society in Colchester and then Marlborough.2 For civil cases, the typical document is a writ or summons ordering a defendant to appear before a named justice of the peace at a designated time and place to answer a specific charge. The verso of the writ typically contains information on it being served to the defendant and sometimes includes documentation on the disposition of the case. A second kind of writ is also found, a writ of execution demanding that the losing party in a civil lawsuit pay of specific sum for the debt incurred and costs of case determined at trial by a single justice of the peace. The bulk of civil cases consist of debts by book or note, although other subjects are represented, including assault and trespass. In criminal cases, the representative document is a presentment by a grand juror containing an accusation against a defendant for being suspected of having committed a specific crime.
The first two documents are 1781 writs of execution in debt cases. In the first instance, a writ of execution in favor of Laton Porter of Hebron against Edward Luther of Colchester, the verso contains the notation that Capt. Asa Foote paid the sum due.3 The second execution was completed and signed by justice Daniel Foot.4 The majority of court records, however, consist of summonses in minor debt cases, as when Elihu Marvin of Hebron sued Eliphalet Davenport of Colchester in a debt by book to collect $2.00.5 In a second example, Aaron Foote sued in August 1815 to collect $7.00 to balance book accounts.6 Not all civil cases brought before justices of the peace concerned debt. In 1801, for example, the selectmen of Colchester asked Joel Foote to consider the case of Benjamin Curtis who had reduced his family to "Distressd Circumstances by his Idleness, Mismanagement and bad husbandry." Foote determined that the charges were true and ordered the selectmen to appoint an overseer or conservator over him.7 In a second example, Andrew Warner accused John Blackman and John W. Chappel of assaulting him. Joel Foote heard the case on Oct. 8, 1813, found the defendants not guilty, and order the plaintiff to pay $1.13 court costs.8 In a case of trespass in 1815, William Buell, Jr. sued for trespass, claiming the defendants entered his land and cut down twenty trees to damages of $7.00. Foote ruled for the plaintiff and awarded him $3.60 damages and $5.74 costs of suit9.
Joel Foote and other justices received complaints or presentments from grand jurors in criminal cases covering such subjects as adultery, assault, burglary, election fraud, fornication, illegal sale of alcoholic beverages, intoxication, malicious mischief, unnecessary travel on the Sabbath, passing counterfeit bills, profane swearing, riotous assembly, and theft. For lesser offenses, those charged were tried before the justice of the peace, but the accused were bound over to higher courts for trial for more serious crimes. In a case tried before Joel Foote, transient Henry Freeman was accused of assaulting Candace Bunce. Foote found Freeman guilty.10 On January 5, 1824 grand juror Sylvester C. Dunham accused John Button, George Button, and James Finley of "sinfully, wickedly and profanely God damning" Edward Root and Oliver Northam. Joel Foote found George Button and James Finley guilty and John Button not guilty.11 When Jonathan Palmer of Chatham was accused of committing adultery with Roxanna Bogue of Marlborough, wife of Edwin Bogue, justice of the peace Enos Buell bound the two over to Hartford Superior Court for trial.12 Six years later justice George Foote heard a complaint that William G. Huxford of Marlborough was illegally made a voter on October 28, 1844. This case was also bound over to the Hartford Superior Court for trial13.
The overwhelming majority of justice of the peace records consisted of writs signed by a member of the Foote family or ordering delinquents to appear before a Foote justice of the peace. On occasion, however, others are represented and sometimes they are prominent political figures like Calvin Goddard, Sylvester Gilbert, William Hillhouse, and Thomas Seymour. The records also include scattered court cases in which African Americans from Marlborough and surrounding towns are found. The individuals include Candace Bunce, Enoch Freeman, Zilpha Freeman, Prince Hyde, Primus Negro, Gideon Quah, Asher Russell, Prince Swan, Absalom Thomas, and James White.
Series 1 concludes with two folders of record books kept by Joel Foote covering the period between November 3, 1794 and May 13, 1811 (Box 2, folders 8-9). About half the entries correspond with the records found in justice of the peace file papers.
Series 2, Family Papers, 1728-1867, contains a variety of papers, among them bills and receipts, business records, deeds, estate papers, indentures, and school papers.
The first subject grouping of importance in Series 2 consists of four folders of business records kept by Cyrus Bingham who married Abigail Foote, daughter of Joel Foote (Box 2, folders 15-18). These daybooks span the years 1814-49. Two folders of business records of H. A. Johnson follow. His relationship to the Footes is yet to be determined. Box 2, folders 22-23 holds correspondence, primarily letters to Joel Foote and his daughter Rachel C. Foote and is followed by three folders of deeds. The largest section of Series 2 consists of estate papers of members of the Foote family and of persons whose estates are at least in part administered by a Foote. The papers include copies of the will of Asa Foote, estate papers of Joel Foote, and a large quantity of estate papers of Joel Foote's father-in-law Samuel P. Lord (Box 3, folders 2-17)14. Asa Foote served as administer to the estates of Mary Owen and Lawrence Power and Joel Foote as one of the executors of the estate of Sarah Miller.
One folder contains the indentures of six boys and one girl to Asa Foote and Joel Foote between 1787 and 182215. Asa Foote accepted one apprentice to learn the trade of farming and Joel Foote the other six to learn the clothier business. The next folder of Marlborough Society papers includes a copy of the May 1747 act of the General Assembly establishing the society from parts of Colchester, Glastonbury, and Hebron and a copy of a 1781 act concerning quotas of recruits needed for the Continental Army; two documents relating to the appointment of Joel Foote and four others to collect the federal 1798 direct tax; and a copy of minutes an 1808 meeting of the Episcopalians in Marlborough that was chaired by Joel Foote. Miscellaneous Papers includes the 1771 sale of "A Negro Girl named Juda about four years old" to Asa Foote by Lemuel Fitch of Colchester16. The papers conclude with several folders of school papers of Cyrus Bingham, husband of Abigail Foote, the third child of Joel Foote, and the sons of the couple.
2Marlborough in Hartford County was incorporated in October 1803 from parts of Colchester, Glaston-bury, and Hebron.
3Laton Porter v. Edward Luther, Mar. 12, 1781, Box 1, folder 1.
4Elias Worthington v. Edward Luther, July 17, 1781, Box 1, folder 1.
5Elihu Marvin v. Eliphalet Davenport, Mar. 2, 1797. Joel Foote filled out the writ.
6Aaron Foote v. Nathaniel Bailey, Aug. 12, 1815, Box 1, folder 22. Israel Foote completed the writ.
7Complaint of Joseph Isham, Roger Bulkley, and David Yeomans, Jan. 5, 1801, Box 1, folder 5.
8Andrew Warner v. John Blackman and John H. Chappel, Oct. 6, 1812, Box 1, folder 21.
9William Buel, Jr. v. Ruel Brown and Amasa Brown, May 3, 1815, Box 1, folder 22.
10State v. Henry Freeman, Mar. 14, 1814, Box 1, folder 21. Freeman was fined $3.00, required to pay costs of prosecution of $4.37, and jailed until the judgment was satisfied.
11State v. John Button, George Button, and James Finley, Jan. 5, 1824, Box 1, folder 25.
12State v. Jonathan Palmer and Roxanna Bogue, Sep. 11, 1839, Box 2, folder 4.
13State v. William G. Huxford, Jan. 9, 1845, Box 2, folder 6.
14Lord of East Haddam was a wealthy man. The inventory of his estate included hundreds of books and he owned 20,000 acres of land in Ohio
15Box 3, folder 27.
16Sale document, Oct 1, 1771, Box 3, folder 29.
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Marlborough (Conn.) -- History -- Sources
Justices of the peace -- Connecticut -- Marlborough
Receipts (financial records)
The Foote Family Papers were donated to the Connecticut State Library in 2002.