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Footesteps of Pasco Foote
Intriguing Photos from the 1800's
By Harriet Rockwell

Photo of Marinda Burnham
Intriguing Photos
by Sherburne Wesley Foote

If you read the article about the astronomer, Sherburne Wesley Foote, (Volume 5, Issue 1 - the Winter 2004 issue of Footeprints), you may remember that his other hobby was photography.

The two photos shown here were among those sent to me by the archivist at the Lick Observatory when I was gathering information about Sherburne. The one on the left is of Sherburne's mother, Marinda Foote Burnham.

The one below is of Emery Foote, known by relatives who are still living as "Uncle Emery of Warren, New Hampshire", though no one remembers who Emery's parents were, whether he ever married and had children, or even where he is buried, thanks in part to a fire many years ago that burned the town hall in Warren.

Sherburne had a keen eye as well as an ability to put his subject at ease and capture with his camera an expression which hinted at the underlying personality of that subject.

Photo of Emery Foote
This is what makes his photos different from so many other photos of the period. His photos remind me of the famous painting of Mona Lisa.

I find myself wondering what Sherburne's subjects were thinking as they sat there in front of the camera, what they had just said or were about to say.

I would guess that both Marinda and Emery were in their 70's or 80's when these photos were taken and that they were cousins. Note the family resemblances between the two: the deep heavily hooded eyes, the high eyebrows, the long straight noses, the thin-lipped mouths.

But their personalities appear to have been very different. In Emory's expression, I see humor paired with a feistiness that suggests that he may have led a colorful and perhaps not entirely god-fearing life.

On the other hand, in Marinda's expression I see a gentle steadfastness paired with a dreamy detachment that suggests that she was a strong person who seldom spoke and who may have suffered some sorrows to which she had become resigned. What do you see?

To help make the Foote Family Association inclusive of more of the Foote lines; Harriet Rockwell -has graciously volunteered to research and author this series of articles about Posco Foote and his descendent.

Please contact Harriet at:

1177 Fearrington Post
Pittsboro, NC 27312;
or via e-mail:

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