FOOTE, JOHN A. (22 Nov. 1803-16 July 1891), reformer and politician, was born in New Haven, Conn., to Samuel A. and Eudocia (Hull) Foote. His father was governor of Connecticut and a member of both the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate. Foote was also the elder brother of Adm. Andrew H. Foote, of naval fame during the CIVIL WAR. After graduating from Yale (1823), he practiced law in Litchfield before coming to Cleveland in 1833 when he formed a partnership with SHERLOCK J. ANDREWS. He was also director of the Cleveland, Columbus & Cincinnati and the Cleveland & Pittsburgh railroads. A member of the WHIG PARTY, Foote served in the Ohio legislature (1837-39), and in 1839 became president of city council. In 1844 Foote ran unsuccessfully for mayor, but was elected to the Ohio state senate in 1853. He became a Republican after 1854.
Foote worked for juvenile education and reform, in 1839 helping make the first land purchases for schools; and in 1856 being a state commissioner studying reform schools, adopting the European "family" system reform farm for Ohio. With HARVEY RICE, he started the Industrial School of Cleveland and the CHILDREN'S AID SOCIETY.
Foote was president of the Cleveland Temperance Society, and proposed ordinances against liquor; in 1839 proposing creating of a committee on licenses to regulate "dram shops," which passed in 1840. He also opposed slavery and was an officer of the CLEVELAND ANTI-SLAVERY SOCIETY and the CUYAHOGA COUNTY ANTI-SLAVERY SOCIETY. Foote was a member of the FIRST PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH of Cleveland. He married twice: first to Frances A. Hitchcock, of Cheshire, Conn., who died in 1855, leaving 7 children: Samuel, Louisa, Mary, Frances, Cornelia, John, and Andrew; and then, in 1858, to Mary S. Cutter of Cleveland.