Elijah Hedding Foote

Elijah Hedding Foote, dean of the furniture manufacturers of Grand Rapids, soldier and patriot, was born at Olcott, New York March 24, 1845, and died at his summer home at Lamont, Michigan, September 9, 1920. He was a son of Elijah and Olivia (Luce) Foote, natives of Canton, New York, and Hubbardton, Vermont. The father was a farmer who came to Detroit via the Great Lakes and continued by ox team to Kent county where he settled on a farm on East Leonard street just outside the city limits of Grand Rapids today. He cleared this farm and lived there until his death in 1863, his wife surviving him until 1883 when she died at Goshen, Indiana. They had three sons and two daughters, all of whom are deceased but one daughter, Mrs. Cyrus E. Perkins. The Foote family is one of English descent, Nathaniel Foote having founded the family in America. He coming from Shalford, Colchestershire, in about 1630, settled in Weathersfield, Connecticut, was a magistrate and one of the patentees named in its charter. He died in 1644, aged fifty-one years. His son Nathaniel, born in 1620, married a daughter of Samuel Smith. He died in 1655. The next of the family, Samuel Foote, was born in 1649 and died in 1689 at Hatfield, Massachusetts. The next was Daniel Foote, who was born 1689 and died in 1740. His son, Lieutenant Samuel Foote, born in 1719, married Louise Loomis, dying in 1775. His son Elijah Foote, was born March 14, 1755, and served three years in the Eighth Connecticut Volunteers in the Revolutionary war. He died in 1828 in New York state. His son Russell Foote, was born in 1777 and married Electa Noble of Westfield, Massachusetts, in 1799. He died April 21, 1817, at Plattsburgh, New York. His son, Elijah, was the father of Elijah H. Foote of this review. Elijah Hedding Foote at the age of eight years, came to Grand Rapids with his parents, driving overland with an ox team. He received his education in the public schools but when the Civil war broke out he enlisted December 22, 1863, although he was but eighteen years of age. He was a member of Company A, Engineers and Mechanics and followed with Sherman in his march to the sea. He was mustered out at Nashville, Tennessee, September 27, 1865. He was in the battle of Buzzard’s Roost, Peach Tree Creek and others and was wounded. The furniture business was in its infancy in Grand Rapids at that time but Mr. Foote entered it and thus became one of the pioneers in the business which has made Grand Rapids famous the world over. At first he worked for the Nelson Comstock Company and later with Nelson-Matter Company, which succeeded the former concern. With two others he determined to into the manufacturing of furniture himself and the firm of Moore, Foote & Richardson was formed and prospered until the panic of 1873. Following that time, Mr. Foote entered into the Grand Rapids Chair Company and in 1880 was made secretary, treasurer and general manager which title he held until within two years of his death and was vice-president at the time of his death. He made the Grand Rapids Chair Company the great and powerful institution it is. In 1918, Mr. Foote was elected vice-president of the Grand Rapids Chair Company and his name continued to stand as vice-president in the institution to the time of his death. He was also president of the Imperial Furniture Company of which he was one of the founders and was also director of the Foote-Reynolds Company. He was at one time president of the Grand Rapids Furniture Manufacturers Association. He also was president of the Michigan Furniture Manufacturers Association. He also had many interests outside the furniture business and they were both of a business and social nature. He was a director of the Kent State Bank; a life member of the Association of Commerce; a life member of the Valley City Lodge, F. & A. M.; member of DeMolay Commandery, K. T.; of DeWitt Clinton Consistory and of the Saladin Temple, Ancient Arabic Order of the Nobles of the Mystic Shrine. He belonged to the Peninsular Club and to the Kent Country Club. He was appointed commissioner to the Pan-American Exposition by Governor Bliss, and acted as treasurer of the Michigan Commission. He served on the board of managers of the Michigan Soldiers Home in 1903 by appointment of Governor Warner, and was elected president of the board serving in all eighteen years. He was a life member of the Methodist Episcopal church, and gave liberally to all churches and hospitals. Mr. Foote was married June 16, 1869, to Frances Howe who died March 23, 1920, and two sons and two daughters of this marriage survive. These are: Will Howe Foote, the artist, of Old Lynne, Connecticut, and F. Stuart Foote, Mrs. Charles S. Dexter, and Mrs. Louis Seal Reynolds, all of Grand Rapids.


Transcriber: Nancy Myers
Created: 21 February 2005
URL: http://kent.migenweb.net/white1924/personal/footeeh.html