This year’s program brochure commemorates the 270th anniversary of the birth of Clinton founder, Moses Foote, who led six to seven other families here to begin Clinton in March 1787, 216 years ago.
Foote was born August 4, 1734 in Waterbury, Connecticut(now part of Plymouth) and died February 9, 1819 in Clinton and is interred in an unmarked grave in the Old Burying Ground.
Twice married Foote first took Thankful Bronson as his bride, but she died after only one year. Then Foote married Amy Richards who came to Clinton with him. Moses had nine children including sons, Ira, Luther, and Bronson who came to Clinton with him.
Various histories have described Foote as six feet tall, of powerful frame, having great nervous force, self-reliant, a natural leader, capable of great endurance, and a model pioneer. Having perseverance, ingenuity, a strong Calvinist God-fearing belief, and “Yankee Pluck” were attributed to Foote and the other early settlers.
Foote served in the American Revolution as a Lieutenant in the 1st regiment of Col. James Wadsworth and as Captain in the 25th Regiment of Connecticut Volunteers.
Starting at age 53 he led the early Clinton community for its first 32 years dying at age 84.
He built a house on the corner of Williams and College streets, today’s McHarris Gifts, and later ran a tavern across the street where Hemstrought’s is today.
Active in many community activities his home was the meeting place for the organization of the Society of Clinton in 1791 when 30 charter members joined(Stone Presbyterian Church is the successor church).
The 30 signed his or her name to the Confession and Covenant which was an expression of high and strict Calvinism.
Only five weeks after Clinton’s beginnings the first religious service was held in Foote’s partially completed log home. Foote presided and led in prayer. Accounts described him as the stern-faced Puritan.
He also owned much land and gave in 1794 the land which is now the Village Park to the Society of Clinton.
Foote had many interests aside from temporal ones as his name is also on the original list of subscriptions to the Hamilton Oneida Academy in 1793. Rev. Samuel Kirkland led the list with a pledge of money and 300 acres of land, but Foote pledged 2 pounds, 1000 feet of tjmber, 5000 feet of boards and 20 days’ work.
Obviously Foote had great interest in education as well as religion and was a man of action and had the means to promote both.
Foote’s pioneering precedents set a fine example for the settlers and gave them the needed leadership to build a lasting community. For that we can all be thankful. His legacy remains in our community today.
Information in this article is as correct and factually accurate as possible. If you notice a fact that you believe is incorrect, please let us know. Comments are always welcome.