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Henry Stuart Foote

Henry Stuart FooteBorn: 20-Sep-1800
Birthplace: Fauquier County, VA
Died: 20-May-1880
Location of death: Nashville, TN
Cause of death: unspecified
Remains: Buried, Mount Olivet Cemetery, Nashville, TN

Gender: Male
Race or Ethnicity: White
Sexual orientation: Straight
Occupation: Politician
Party Affiliation: See Note [1]

Nationality: United States
Executive summary: Governor of Mississippi 1852-54

The American Senator, William Stuart Foote was born in Fauquier County, Virginia, 20th September 1800; he died in Nashville, Tennessee, 20th May 1880. He was graduated at Washington College, Lexington, Virginia in 1819, admitted to the bar in 1822, and in 1824 went to Tuscumbia, Alabama where he edited a Democratic newspaper. He removed to Jackson, Mississippi in 1826, and acquired an extensive practice, but was also active in politics, and in 1844 was a presidential elector. He was chosen to the U. S. Senate as a Unionist in 1847, took part in favor of the compromise measures of 1850, and served as chairman of the committee on foreign relations. He resigned his seat in the Senate in the autumn of 1852 to canvass his state as a Union candidate for the Governorship, his opponent being Jefferson Davis, who had been persuaded to take the place of General John A. Quitman on the secession ticket, when it became evident that the latter must be defeated. Foote was elected and served one term, until 1854, when he removed to California, but returned to Mississippi in 1858, and practiced law at Vicksburg. He strongly opposed secession in the southern convention at Knoxville in May 1859, and when the question was seriously agitated in Mississippi he removed to Tennessee. But he subsequently was elected to the Confederate Congress, where he was noticeable for his hostility to Jefferson Davis, and finally for his opposition to the continuance of the war. He was in favor of accepting the terms offered by President Abraham Lincoln in 1863 and 1864. After the war he resided for a time in Washington, DC and supported the administration of General Ulysses S. Grant, who made him superintendent of the U. S. Mint at New Orleans. He held this office till shortly before his death, when failing health compelled him to return to his home near Nashville. Governor Foote was an able criminal lawyer, an astute politician, and a popular orator.

He had a violent temper, and during his political career fought several duels, two of which were with Sargent S. Prentiss, one with John A. Winston, and one with John F. H. Claiborne. On the floor of the Senate, Foote reportedly pulled a pistol on Senator Thomas Hart Benton.

He published Texas and the Texans (2 vols., Philadelphia, 1841); The War of the Rebellion, or Scylla and Charybdis (New York, 1866); Bench and Bar of the South and Southwest (St. Louis, 1876); and Personal Reminiscences.


[1] Union-Democrat.

Father: Richard Helm Foote
Mother: Jane Stuart

    University: Washington and Lee University (1819)

    US Senator, Mississippi 1848-52 (resigned)
    Governor of Mississippi 1853-4
    Virginia Bar Association 1823
    Duel Sargent S. Prentiss
    Duel Sargent S. Prentiss (again)
    Duel John A. Winston
    Duel John F. H. Claiborne
    Shot: Dueling in the shoulder
    Shot: Dueling in the right leg
    English Ancestry
    Scottish Ancestry


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