Welcome, friends, family, Foote Family Association of America Members, and members of the board, Cousins, Wethersfield residents, and distinguished guests. Good Afternoon and welcome to the anniversary of the dedication of the Nathaniel Foote Memorial Monument, here in Wethersfield this 8th day of August 2009.
How did the Foote Family Association come to be: Abram Foote of Middlebury, Vt. and my hometown, spent many years traveling and gathering data on Foote descendants and in 1907 published the first volume of the genealogy and history of the Foote Family. About 6 months before the publication, a group of Foote’s gathered in New York City and a plan was made to host a reunion of Foote descendants. The response was so enthusiastic, that the reunion was planned to be held in Wethersfield, Connecticut, the town in which Nathaniel Foote settled.
On June 4 1907, the Foote Family gathered in Hartford, Conn. In a talk given by Dr Lewis Nathaniel Foote, he expressed the hope that
the foundations we lay today, that the Foote Family Association may last to the end of time. The very first Foote Family Association gathering was held in Wethersfield, Conn. on June 5, 1907. At that time, nearly everyone was surprised to find that there was not a marker of any kind to locate graves of any of our ancestors in the Wethersfield Cemetery.
Judge Abram Foote of Middlebury, Vt., Dr Lewis N. Foote of Brooklyn, N.Y. and John A Foote of Catskill, N.Y. were appointed a committee to raise money for, and to place in the town of Wethersfield, a suitable Memorial to Nathaniel Foote the settler. Nathaniel Foote the settler was named one of the 10 adventurers that founded and settled in Wethersfield, Ct. Nathaniel traveled 14 days through unsettled land, with no path or road wide enough for teams of horses and the danger of wild animals and savage Indians.
Nathaniel was looking for a better life and he found a peaceful spot on the Connecticut River here in Wethersfield.
This great monument is of Barre, Vt. granite, rough hewn and is seven and a half feet high by four feet by three and a half feet on the base. On the face this inscription, cut in large block letters, very hard to see today it reads:
Nathaniel Foote The Settler
Born in England 1593
Died in Wethersfield 1644
Erected by the Foote Family
Association of America on the
original home lot Sept 17, 1908
On the reverse side lists the children of Nathaniel Foote and his wife, Elizabeth Deming.
This is surmounted by a bronze electric lamp eight feet high. Making the total height 15 feet and six inches. The base rests on a concrete foundation, seven feet deep.
In the foundation, under the base is a sealed copper box, containing a copy of the Foote Genealogy 1908, reports of the first meeting of the association, list of moneys given to the memorial fund, and the members of the association.
We do not know that Nathaniel achieved any special distinction among his fellows during his short life, such as mankind is accustomed
to commemorate by memorials or monuments. We have no reason to believe he was a statesman or soldier.
He was in all probability a plain ordinary average man among his fellows, with no right or title to special distinction above the others,
and quite likely if he were here today he would stand bewildered from the fact that a monument had been erected to him in a public place in Wethersfield.
As Dorothy Offensend once wrote, "He was a credit to mankind. Society owes its peace, stability and progress to such men as Nathaniel Foote and the other nine adventurers."
Taken from the speech given on Sept 7, 1908 by President Nathaniel Foote because I could not express it better. I quote:
"Blood is thicker than water." We of this association are a part of the now great family founded by this man in this country. We are
something more to each other because we each have some of his blood in our veins. We express by this monument our wish that our
common descent from this one man should not be forgotten. We also express our debt of gratitude to him for his courage and self sacrifice in crossing the seas to these forbidding shores where by we have been allowed to live our lives in circumstances nowhere surpasses for health, happiness and prosperity and under a form of government which we think the very best.
It is my great honor to be here today, with you cousins, to rededicate this monument for this great man, our hero Nathaniel Foote.
Foote Family Asssociation Formation and Reformation
By Marilyn Foote Masi
Hi - Family and Friends of Nathaniel and Elizabeth Foote, the Settler: I'm Marilyn Foote Masi and it is so good to see you all here.
Barb asked me to jump in here to give credit to those who worked so hard to make this happen. Of course, in 1907, the first group of Footes' gathered and formed the organization led by Judge Nathaniel Foote of Rochester, N.Y. as President. During the dedication ceremony, in 1908, of the monument, Judge Foote said of Nathaniel, the settler:
"The records which remain indicate he had been one of the thrifty and fairly successful members of the little community in which he lived. He left the comfort of England in 1633 for the danger and hardship of a hostile environment. He sacrificed all that he had to give, himself, for the betterment of his family. He sought a better life; a life more free; a chance to seek out excellence; for each member of his family, then, and to be. He dared for us. They came to make a place for us."
Those words were spoken by Ralph Foote of Middlebury, Vt. in 1984 when the organization was restarted and when they rededicated
this monument. Those folks in 1984 -25 years ago - who worked so hard to make this happen included: Ralph Foote of Middlebury, Vt.; Dorothy Offensend of Pawlet, Vt.; Polly Clancy, Marty Partridge, Winston McDonough, and Dr. Franklin Foote all of Wethersfield, Conn..
Will the families of those folks who are here today please stand. Also, to be remembered were J. Howard Foote, Trustee; Gene Foote of Minnesota; also a Trustee and Laura Belle Beekman who, you remember, published the reprints of Vol. 1 and 2.
Ralph said: "I believe we gather to find our way; to light a torch to see by; to exercise the worst of today by the light of the best from yesterday to insure a more perfect tomorrow." We are pleased to announce that today we are going to dedicate our new Centennial Bench put in place by our Association with the help of two Wethersfield residents.
This family has been lovingly taken care of the bench and monument, and put the landscape around it. I would like to introduce Cindy Clancy, Doug Ovian and Adam. Will you please stand a take a bow. Thank you!