Joel Andrews: Weather Journal, and the Murder of Emily Cooper


page from Joel Andrew's weather journal

             Joel also kept a weather journal. From 1800, to 1864-- a year before his death-- he noted the weather each day on scrap sheets of paper, and when in his 80’s copied them into a bound journal. There are numerous spelling and grammar mistakes, probably due to his advanced age and declining mental powers, although possibly he had had help in editing his memoir, which was written more skillfully.

            The journal begins with a preface:

"A register of the Several rains snow storms depths of each snow hale and thunder with some account of the weather each day and some other events worthy of notice. I shall pute down S for Sunday F for forenoon, A for after noon. This record I have keep for a good many years I rote it on separate sheats of paper they was lying about in my chist separate and I thought I would coppy them of into a book and I began about it April 5 1858 when I was in my eighty secant year. Th stands for Thanksgivin F for fast N for new moon F for fool moon M for morning.

August 20-1858 this day I finist coppein of this record I have made some blounders and I do not know as it is any thing to be wonder at considren my age for my head is ease puseled but those blunders I have rectifide I do not expect it will be any youse to me very long for I do not expect to continer long but I hope it will be some satisfaction to some body."

             The preface and a typical page from Joel’s journal can be accessed by clicking on the thumbnails included on this page.

            Joel usually wrote religious poetry (the entire text of his memoir can be accessed by clicking on the thumbnail on the first article) but there is one interesting exception. Joel was moved to write a poem about a sensational murder that happened in nearby North Branford. On September 14, 1849, Henry Leander Foote, 37 years old, raped and murdered his 12 year old cousin, Emily Cooper, on her way to school. The murder was fueled by alcohol, and Joel, after years of heartache over his son Ziba’s alcoholism, knew first-hand the ruinous effects of alcoholic derangement.

            The story reads like a plot from Fargo: Foote drugged his cousin with a knockout potion he’d acquired from a prostitute; he’d only planned to strip her and examine her nude body, but became so excited that he raped her. Things spiraled out of control after that. He cut Emily’s throat, because “dead men tell no tales”; then, in a drunken frenzy, went home and attacked his mother with a hammer. Neighbors heard her screaming, and Henry was caught and jailed.

            Henry Leander Foote was an educated man, and while in prison awaiting execution, wrote an autobiography where he spilled all the lurid details of the crime, along with an explanation of how he had fallen in with bad companions who led him down a path of corruption leading to his alcoholism and sexual depravity. Foote also blamed his parents for being too permissive, and for keeping alcohol in the house, and he blamed artists, because he claimed that viewing paintings of nude women had inflamed his passion to examine a nude female body in person.

            Joel, when he was earning a living as a book peddler, might have come across the book, entitled:  A Sketch of the Life and Adventures of Henry Leander Foote, Sentenced to be Hung in New Haven, June 19, 1850 (reprieved by the legislature till October 2, 1850) , for the Murder of Miss Emily H. Cooper, which was published in June of 1850, several months before Foote’s execution, and was a best seller; in fact, reprints can still be obtained.

            Here’s Joel’s poem:

The dreadful case I now relate,

Is of poor Emily’s awful fate,

Who was took by one she thought her friend,

And brought by him unto her end.


He took her, a poor orphan child,

And brought her up with him to dwell—

That awful man did end her breath,

And left her in the arms of death.


As she was going to the school,

According to the common rule,

He overtook her on the road,

And enticed her into the wood.


When he got her there alone,

Where no one could hear her groan,

He attempted to commit a rape,

Then cut her throat—sad to relate.


No thought had he of meeting her,

Again at God’s tribunal bar;

He listened not to her awful cry,

So poor Emily there did die.


He now is in New Haven jail—

Most sad the story is to tell,

By the court condemned to be hung,

The eighteenth day of the next June.


I have a word for those who sell,

And aid men in going to hell:

Oh! Do now think what Foote has done,

And sell no more the paltry rum.


Oh! How dare Foote commit that sin?

Because he had been drinking gin;

His heart was hard—his senses few,

He did not know what he did do.


I have a word for those who drink:

O! do now stop and wisely think!

Plunge not into that awful hell,

Where devils and damned spirits dwell.


Now do take warning by his fate,

And get into no drunken scrape,

Lest you should end some dear one’s life,

Father, mother, child, or wife.


Oh! Do now stop before it’s too late,

Take warning by Foote’s awful fate!

Strong drink leads on to many a sin,

Do those now stop that just begin.


Lord have mercy on those who sell,

And save them from that burning he,,;

Lord have mercy on them that drink,

And save them from that awful brink.


For further reading:

Eugene C. MacMullen and Theodore Groom, PhD. The Murder of Emily Cooper by Henry Leander Foote, September 14, 1849. North Branford, CT: The Totoket Historical Society, Inc, n.d. Accesed May 9, 2021, The Murder of Emily Cooper

Joel Andrews: Weather Journal, and the Murder of Emily Cooper