Foote, Henry Stuart (1804–1880)

Type: Biography

Published: 1952

Updated: January 1, 1995

Henry Stuart Foote, politician and historian, the son of Richard Helm and Catherine (Stuart) Foote, was born in Fauquier County, Virginia, on February 28, 1804. He attended Georgetown College and Washington University, studied law at Warrenton, Virginia, and was admitted to the bar in 1823. As a lawyer and newspaper editor he lived in Tuscumbia, Alabama, and in Jackson, Natchez, Vicksburg, and Raymond, Mississippi. In 1839, while a member of the House of the Mississippi legislature, he visited Texas and subsequently wrote his first book, Texas and the Texans (2 volumes, 1841). As a member of the United States Senate, Foote defended the Compromise of 1850. In 1851 he defeated Jefferson Davis for the governorship of Mississippi on a Unionist ticket. He resigned the governorship five days before the end of his term and moved to California. In 1858 he returned to Mississippi, but his Unionist sympathies caused him to move on to Tennessee. He became a member of the House of the Confederate States Congress but resigned when that group rejected Abraham Lincoln's peace proposals. He was in Europe during the Civil War. His War of the Rebellion (1866) was an effort to justify his part in the war. He also wrote Casket of Reminiscences (1874) and Bench and Bar in the South and Southwest (1876). Foote married Elizabeth Winters in Tuscumbia, Alabama. After her death he married Mrs. Rachel D. Smiley of Nashville, Tennessee. He died in Nashville on May 20, 1880.

Dictionary of American Biography. Mary Sexton Estill, ed., "Diary of a Confederate Congressman," Southwestern Historical Quarterly 38, 39 (April, July 1935).

Time Periods:

  • Civil War

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.

Anonymous, “Foote, Henry Stuart,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed January 19, 2022,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

January 1, 1995

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