Categories: Cheshire, Politics and Government, War of 1812, Work

Samuel Foot: A Trader Turned Governor

Samuel Foot was a West India trader from Cheshire, Connecticut, who went on to a successful career in politics. Not only did he serve multiple terms as both a United States senator and as a member of the US House of Representatives, Foot also became governor of Connecticut during one of the most troubling economic times in the state’s early history.

Samuel A. Foote

Samuel A. Foote, Governor of Connecticut, 1834-1835 – Connecticut State Library, Museum of Connecticut History

Samuel Foot was born in Cheshire on November 8, 1780, to the Reverend John Foot and his wife Abigail (both natives of Cheshire). Entering Yale in 1797 at the age of 13, he was the youngest member of his graduating class. Foot briefly attended law school but headaches and other ailments forced him to abandon his studies. He moved to New Haven and found employment in the West India trade, traveling on numerous voyages before the War of 1812 brought an end to his commercial prosperity.

Cheshire Politician Becomes Congressional Representative

Foot returned to Cheshire in 1813 and took up farming, but it was not long before his political interests landed him a job in public service. In 1817, he began a two-year term in the Connecticut House of Representatives before winning election to Congress in 1819. He served several terms there and became Speaker of the House in 1825—having launched an unsuccessful campaign to become governor of Connecticut the previous year.

In 1827, he began a six-year term as a United States senator, before returning to the US House of Representatives in 1833. He resigned from Congress the following year after launching another gubernatorial campaign in Connecticut—this one successful. He only served two years as governor, however, in part because of the troubles he encountered managing the state’s difficult financial recession.

After losing his re-election campaign, Foot settled into retirement at his home in Cheshire. He died there in 1846 and is currently buried in town at Hillside Cemetery on Wallingford Road.

 

LEARN MORE

Websites

“Litchfield Ledger - Samuel Augustus Foot.” Litchfield Historical Society. Accessed December 11, 2013. Link.

Places

“The Litchfield Historical Society,” 2017. Link.

Books

Foot, Samuel Augustus. Speech of Mr. Foot, of Connecticut, on the Resolution Offered by Him on the 29th December, 1829, on the Subject of the Public Lands. Delivered in the Senate of the United States, on the 20th May, 1830. Washington: Printed by Gale & Seaton, 1830. Link.
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