Celebrating its 180th Anniversary in 2010-2011, the University of North Alabama is a comprehensive regional university
operated by the State of Alabama in Florence. Approximately 7,500 students
attended the University during recent school years. The first college established in Alabama may be most famous nationally for its Division II football team. The Methodist Episcopal
Church opened the University in 1830 as LaGrange College on LaGrange Mountain several miles
from the current 100 acre site in Florence. LaGrange means "The Place" in French. Twenty-one local college trustees and twenty-nine distant college trustees were listed
for the place in Acts of Alabama, Eleventh Annual Session (Tuscaloosa:
McGuire, Henry and Walker, State Printers, 1830), pp. 41-43.
The 1830 list of original LaGrange trustees includes two men from the Shoals with famous political associates.
Recalled in well-known public facilities named after the Coffee family, John Coffee's memory remains constant with the Shoals. A co-founder of Florence, Coffee had regional influence through business relationships with friend Andrew Jackson, whose wife was an aunt of Coffee's spouse. Coffee had served as a military commander under Jackson, too. Before becoming President, Jackson owned a second home/plantation at Melton's Bluff in Lauderdale County on Tennessee River across from Town Creek, and early in his presidency he owned lots in new city of Florence. President Jackson's North Alabama home/plantation is acknowledged in the script for a PBS special -- "Andrew Jackson: Good, Evil and the Presidency" -- that was carried again by Alabama Public Television on 14 June 2010. One of the "distant" UNA trustees, Coffee chose a home site on Cloverdale Road in Florence where an Alabama state historical marker stands at the property's entrance. Unfortunately, a famous pharmacy chain, building another new drug storefront, allowed the marker to be removed during construction at the corner of Cox Creek Blvd. and Cloverdale Road, but, after missing from the site over one year, the marker has now been replaced. In 1829 Andrew Jackson writes
Jon Meacham is former Editor, Newsweek and member of Vestry, Trinity Episcopal Church, Wall Street. Meacham published Shelby Foote books after Random House appointed him Executive Editor, in October 2010.
John Coffee and ends with a assurances of friendship and esteem, and then says, "present me kindly to Capt Jack & Elisa, and my friend Savage." A book footnote that follows the letter helps identify Savage as Samuel Savage, a North Alabama planter who died in 1837. According to The Heritage of Lauderdale County, Alabama in an article about Wesley Chapel United Methodist Church, "On December 22, 1829, this land was purchased from the U.S. Government by Sam Savage", excepting land where the meeting house stood. President Andrew Jackson made the grant using seal of General Land Office.
Henry Stuart Foote is the other trustee from the Shoals. North Alabama historians and LaGrange College Civil War reenactors have not known him as well as Coffee. Foote became Governor of Mississippi several years after departing the Shoals. The LaGrange College local trustee's departure from North Alabama was prompted by a dispute that ended in a challenge to duel that Foote gave a Tuscumbia citizen, the member of an important Franklin County family. The future Mississippi Governor was told in uncertain terms that he should find somewhere else to live. Foote is probably best remembered by national historians for political opposition to Jefferson Davis during the American Civil War. Foote defeated Davis by 999 votes in the 1851 Mississippi Gubernatorial election. Before becoming opponents for the Governor's office, Foote and Davis had represented the state in the US Senate. They continued to disagree throughout the Civil War. To learn more about the Foote - Stuart descendants that were all kinsmen of Henry Stuart Foote, read "The Stuart Family of Virginia: Friends of Robert E. Lee, famous Southern General".
Royal Free School -- now the Windsor Masonic Hall in England Info Courtesy: Michael Harding, Churchwarden, Windsor Parish
UNA Professor Avon Edward Foote's article is published by ATAVUS, the on-line journal of Burke's Peerage and Landed Gentry, March-April 2003. The article was originally available at www.burkespeerage.com/ articles/at-ha.aspx but the web address is no longer valid. When published, the Burke's article was timed to coincide with publication by University Press of Mississippi of new book on Shelby Foote by C. Stuart Chapman, who wrote the work while completing his Ph.D. at Boston University.
Chapman draws on Avon Edward Foote's family history in the first paragraph of Chapter I and refers to Avon Edward as "family historian". On pages 136 and 282 of Chotankers--the book Dr. Foote has information on his own kinship with Samuel Savage, Jr., Andrew Jackson's friend, who was also a friend of John Coffee. Savage was the son of Samuel Savage, Sr., and Frances Foote, kinswoman of Mississippi Governor Foote.
The Savage family -- with daughters Behethland (Hetty), Sarah (Sallie), and Frances Foote and several sons -- moved to Lauderdale County, Alabama, from Edgefield County, South Carolina, probably before first cousin Gilson Foote was executed there in 1824 for horse stealing. Because of two previous marriages by Samuel's mother prior to marrying Samuel Savage, Sr. in South Carolina, his oldest half sister was Behethland Foote Moore who married William Butler and one of several older half brothers was named Gilson Yarborough. Henry Stuart Foote places the family residence "near Florence, Alabama" (see Chotankers book appendicies).
Local historian William Lindsey McDonald writes that Andrew Jackson stayed overnight with the Savage family at Savage Spring near Pride's Ferry Road on 4 February 1821. This was only a few days after Gilson Foote arrived in Grayson County, Virginia, from New Orleans with son Gilson and common-law wife Sarah Robertson. Within a year, father Gilson moved this three person family south across the Virginia - North Carolina border settling in mountains of Ashe County. Both daughter Lucinda and a second son Jason were born in the Carolina's mountain hideaway. Lucinda married John Milton Massey and their family, with her brother Jason and mother Sarah in the same household, appear on the 1850 census for Tishomingo County, Mississippi. A nearby, Foote/Foot family entry is that of Nancy Crowder Foote and her children. She is the widow of Gilson Foote, Jr. who died in 1845. When authorities charged his father with stealing a gelding in Edgefield County, South Carolina in the 1820s, Whitfield Brooks was hired to be the senior Gilson's attorney on the charge.
Foote's legal counsel Brooks is remembered by historians as the father of Preston "Bully" Brooks who beat Senator Sumner of Massachusetts almost to death with a cane on the floor of the U.S. Senate. Senator Sumner had insulted Preston's cousin -- South Carolina Senator Andrew Pickens Butler, son of Behethland Foote Moore Butler -- in an important Senate speech intended to refute Senator Butler's views on slavery. Several authors say Preston's beating of Sumner would become the first blows of the American Civil War.
1708 Donations to Royal Free School, near Windsor Castle,
listing Arabella Topham Foote/Foot and her brother, Richard
There is a long-standing Foote / Foot family tradition of supporting education. Henry Stuart Foote's relative Samuel Foote/Foot, an uncle several times removed who died c1697, married Arabella Topham of Windsor, England. After Samuel's death, she donated money in the establishment of a Royal Free School in Windsor. The original building still stands less than 20 feet from walls of The Royal Mews, Windsor Castle, home to the Windsor Greys, and next to St. John the Baptist, the Windsor Parish Church, that welcomes visitors with a Peter Scheemakers' bust of Topham Foote, son of Samuel and Arabella. Topham's Memorial is from the earlier church building, torn down in the 1820s, that may be seen behind the Royal Free School in the left background. The original Free School building is used in 2009 as the Windsor Masonic Hall.
During the 50th anniversary of Queen Elizabeth's coronation, St. John the Baptist, the Windsor Parish Church, exhibited history panels on the Queen's 50 year reign and on the Foote/Foot's Chotank family. The Foote/Foot panel featured photos of Windsor's Topham Foote/Foot Memorial and Coat of Arms and new information using 2000+ family tree research by Avon Edward Foote of the UNA faculty and Pamela Marson, editor of Windlesora, the regional Windsor history magazine. The photo of Topham's Memorial is by Marson, who also provided a translation of the Latin inscription. During the exhibit in June 2002 the Queen and Prince Philip watched the Windsor Castle "Golden Jubilee" parade in her honor from the Guildhall, almost diagonally next to the Church, with only an estate agency separating the two buildings. Avon Edward and Dorothy Gargis Foote, joined by their grandaughter Niki Foote of Roanoke, Virginia, stood nearby in front of the Church as the Windsor Jubilee parade passed for the Queen's review.
Prince Philip who is ranger of the Windsor Great Park was at the Church on 20 February 2005 for the 100th (Centenary) observance of Rotary Club founding. He is seen above in photo as he cuts the Rotary celebration cake.
[Entries for 1689] "Licences at the Faculty Office", published 1889, p. 194
During Her Majesty, The Queen's 80th birthday celebration in Windsor, Robert Hardman of London's Daily Mail covered the birthday events for an article published the next day, 22 April 2006. Hardman wrote, "Meanwhile, Prince Philip was in charge of forward reconnaissance, helping to lift particularly enthusiastic children over barriers to present their best wishes in person." The Daily Mail continues, "At one point, he spotted several girls doing their best to protect a huge cake baked by the congregation of St. John the Baptist, Windsor. He steered the Queen across to inspect it and invited her to cut it. 'There are 300 slices,' said Georgia Edwards, 11, proudly before handing them out to the crowd'."
HRH Prince Charles married Lady Camilla at the Guildhall on Saturday, 9 April 05. BBC pool coverage of the marriage originated from the Church's parking lot and included video coverage of the wedding arrivals up High Street passing in front of the Windsor Parish Church. The BBC announced in its planning before the marriage that 25 cameras would cover the wedding and procession from Windsor Castle to the Guildhall. The couple returned to Windsor Castle after the wedding for a service in St. George's Chapel. The Archbishop of Canterbury delivered the marriage blessing in the Chapel.
A three-part "Windsor Castle: A Royal Year" was produced for the BBC by RDF Media and first carried in America by PBS from Oregon Public Broadcasting in February and March 2006. In each of the three one-hour shows the producers tease the audience with shot clips of the Royals and their staffs at the beginning; then the makers open each hour's title sequence with an aerial view of the Castle featuring the glorious and England-centric St. George's Chapel. As the camera finishes a 180 degree tracking arc in the sky, the elegant rear facade of St. John the Baptist, Windsor Parish Church, comes full into view in the frame's left before the transition to an impressive "Windsor Castle" in gold tinted script on a black background takes over the screen.
Robert Hardman, who was at Windsor Parish Church on 21 April 2006 to cover the Queen's cutting of the cake baked in her honor, wrote the script for "Windsor Castle: A Royal Year". BBC1 carried the program series first in March and April 2005 but titled the series, "The Queen's Castle". Nearly one year later, it was renamed "Windsor Castle: A Royal Year" for the American broadcasts of the series. Web descriptions of the two special series make clear that insignificant editing changes may have been made for the American audience. The BBC series became three one-hour format shows for the American PBS telecasts. The PBS program DVDs, that include footage of the marriage blessing from St. George's Chapel in the third installment, may be purchased on-line. Many major market, public TV stations and some state networks, such as Alabama Public Television, have scheduled repeats of the series as recently as 4 to 11 February 2009. RDF Media created a UK media crisis in 2007 when footage of the Queen was poorly edited for a sequel documentary. The digital film segment, that was screened for other media during a program promotion event, seemed to show the Queen storming out of a portrait photo session with a famous American still photographer Annie Leibevitz. Several BBC resignations followed the London investigation into the misrepresented Queen segment. On 22 October 2008 the National Portrait Gallery, London, put works from the photoshoot on exhibit.
Burke's, the Oxford diocese of the Church of England, and others in the UK published a news release about restoration of The Last Supper by Francis Cleyn that hangs in St. John the Baptist, the Windsor Parish Church. Eddie Foote, who requested clarification of the painting's history from Windsor Castle, wrote the 2003 press release about expert refreshing of the painting and frame with help from Michael Harding, Windsor Parish Churchwarden. King George III gave the painting to the Parish Church after it hung in St. George's Chapel within the Windsor Castle's walls for nearly 100 years. Harding raised £19,000 (GBP) to underwrite the restoration.
During the May 2006 opening of Frogmore to the public, Michael Harding invited Eddie into St. John's belfry, where he was honored with the ringing of Church bells in behalf of his own support of the Parish. Frank Blagrove, Captain of the Tower, led the ringing assisted by his wife Monica and several other volunteers from both Castle and Parish. The Blagroves, while ringing St. George's Chapel bells for Order of the Garter ceremonies and Royal family birthdays, are featured in the BBC/PBS special, "The Queen's Castle". Dr. Foote acknowledged the belling-ringing honor by sending an original, hardback printing of Chotankers from 1982 to the Blagroves with a thank you inscribed on the final flyleaf of the book. An accompanying letter proposed that the Blagroves, if they wish, place the book in the Windsor Castle Library with Foote/Foot family understanding that first the Royal Librarian would have to accept the gift on behalf of the famous Collection.
14 April 2010 Press Release Announces Repairs May be Needed to the Windsor Parish Church Tower seen in historic BBC photo above.
Foote/Foot Note: Over 15 years ago in it's 165th anniversary year - - the same year that Avon Edward Foote (among Foote/Foot family and friends called "Eddie", born Burnsville, Mississippi in 1937) founded Chotank, BBC Networking Club web pages on the Pipex WorldServer at Cambridge, England - - UNA became the first U.S. university to win NCAA National Football
Championships three seasons in a row. On December 9, 1995, UNA defeated
Pittsburg State 27 to 7 to establish a record never before achieved in
American college football and after 2011-2012 season is still unsurpassed by any NCAA football team. On 16 December 1995, Russ Corey of TimesDaily, the Shoals newspaper -- owned and operated by The New York Times until sold to The Decatur Daily -- reported
Chotank website startup on the Pipex Worldserver in Cambridge, England. Corey
wrote, "Foote believes it is the first [UNA] site . . . ."
Reviewed . Revised . Refreshed 14 September 2015 Our 20th Year
"Family history is the only history made or written in Chotank."
Douglas Southall Freeman Parttime Professor, Columbia University, New York, Richmond Newspaper Editor with PhD from Johns Hopkins, Pulitzer Prize Winning Author of George Washington and Robert E. Lee Biographies