In Vine Bluff Cemetery atop a hill northeast of Nephi rests one of the city's pioneers, Timothy B. Foote.
In 1850 the site where Nephi would grow was a sagebrush-covered valley, nestled at the foot of the great mountains, dominated by three rugged, as yet unnamed peaks.A slightly saline stream wound its way down the canyon where occasional bands of Ute Indians roamed. The Juab Valley had little to attract the white man and although Mexico claimed the country it had put forth no effort toward colonization.
Then came Latter-day Saint pioneers to the nearby valley of the Great Salt Lake, pouring in in such great numbers that colonizer Brigham Young saw the necessity of new settlements. An exploring expedition was sent southward in December 1849.
As a result of this exploration, Timothy Bradley Foote was instructed by Young to come to the valley and start a new settlement.
Foote became the first white settler in Nephi. His first wife, Jane Ann Russell, died in 1843 in Illinois. He married Nancy Jane Riley in 1847 and a third wife, Elizabeth Bes-sac Mount, in 1857.
A son, Cyrus Riley Foote, was born on the way to Utah in 1848.
His granddaughter Ernestine Vest still lives in Nephi. Her sisters live not too distant: Vanda Fairchild in Provo; Lucille Ingram, Lehi; and LaVelle Frazier, Spring-ville. Richard Foote, Orem, is a second cousin. Fairchild is writing a history of her great-grandfather.
Ultimately, Foote sired 14 children seven by each of his first two wives.
At 14 he had fought the British in the War of 1812. He was a drummer boy and his father, Stephen, was a trumpeter in the New York Colony Militia Regiment. In 1833 the son joined The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. He came West in 1848.
In Nephi the Foote family built the first house on the site where the Juab County Fairgrounds now are located.
During the Indian troubles of 1853 Foote was told it wasn't safe to live outside the mud-walled fort. He wrote to the general complaining. "The Brethren generally are of the opinion that the house can stand with safety," he wrote. "Now sir, if you should think it best to throw it down, it shall be done. Please send the word by the basis of this. P.S. I hope there is no adobe building destroyed in Manti." He continued to live there until his family took matters in hand.
At one time Foote had gone to Salt Lake City, leaving his family behind. In his absence the Indians became so troublesome that Mrs. Foote prevailed on the church leadership and the family moved into the fort and the house was torn down. Needless to say, Mr. Foote was quite indignant on returning. He didn't fear Indians, having fought and vanquished them as a boy and a soldier. Fairchild said his son John wrote that Foote never forgave his family for destroying the house.
Years later, foundation stones of the old Foote home were plowed up by those tilling the soil.
Foote served as a major of the Juab Military District and led the community in preparations for defense when Johnston's Army entered Utah.
It was on the battlefield of 1812 that he learned to dance to the tune of Yankee Doodle. His request was that Yankee Doodle be played over his grave, and so it was. He died in 1887 at 87 years of age and was buried in Vine Bluff Cemetery.