Background, page design, and transcription format 2003 - 2009 Leona L. Gustafson


Return to Main Page

JOSEPH FOOS
pages 583-584

was born in Chester county, Pennsylvania, in the year 1767. He moved with his parents, first to Tennessee and then to Kentucky, where, in 1797, he married Lydia Nelson, and where their first son--Nelson Foos-- was born. In 1798 he came, with his wife and infant son, to Franklinton, where he became proprietor of a ferry across the Scioto river. He also established, and for several years carried on, the first hotel at that place. His early opportunities for securing an education were very limited, and his principal schooling was obtained from an Irish schoolmaster who came to his tavern in want, and spent several months with him. But with such advantages as these, by his own persistent efforts, he obtained a wide knowledge of men and things, taking an active interest in all public affairs, and corresponding with such men as Clay, Ewing, Corwin, and Harrison. He was a member of the first Ohio legislature, serving, in all, during twenty-five sessions in the house and senate. He became an effective speaker and writer. The State capital having been secured to Columbus largely by his efforts, the original proprietors of the town presented him with a square in an eligible part of the city.

He served with distinction in the war of 1812, being promoted, for meritorious conduct, from the rank of captain to that if brigadier-general. His ferry and hotel, in those stirring times, were extensively patronized, and brought him in "a mint of money," although he was too liberal to acquire a very extensive fortune. His house was the headquarters of all the politicians, who came not only "hungry for office," but also for the meals which were furnished at his table without stint or charge. To them his latch-string was always out, and his purse always open. He ran for congress, after his career in the legislature was over, but in that campaign he met with unaccustomed defeat. Soon after this he removed to Madison county, and commenced the business of farming. In 1825 he was made major-general of militia, an office which he held till his death in 1832.

From the interest which he felt in the canal system of Ohio, his attention was directed to the feasibility of a ship canal across the Isthmus of Darien.*  His views upon this subject, embodied in a pamphlet, achieved the distinction of being called "Foos Folly." But the project, as the public are aware, has recently been taken hold of again, by parties who may yet show that the original conception was nobody's folly.

General Foos' first wife died in 1810, leaving two sons and two daughters, the eldest of whom--Nelson Foos--still lives, in a hale and ripe old age, in the city of Columbus, where he has accumulated a comfortable property as a contractor in the erection of public and private buildings.

* Now the Isthmus of Panama--llg
TOP


NOTICE: This electronic page may NOT be reproduced in any format for profit or presentation by any organizations or persons. Persons or organizations desiring to use this material, must obtain the written consent of the .