Walter Hill Crockett.

Vermont, the Green mountain state (Volume 4) online

. (page 12 of 43)
Online LibraryWalter Hill CrockettVermont, the Green mountain state (Volume 4) → online text (page 12 of 43)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

opinion. In a private letter written in 1885, he said:
'*I shall go on manfully, and try, as I have always done,
to do my duty in the Senate. * * * My only ambi-
tion is that the honest and intelligent men of Vermont,
and of the country shall think that I am brave enough
to walk according to the light that I have, and not to
worry about consequences."

The result of the vote for Governor, shown by the
official canvass, is given herewith : Ebenezer J. Orms-
bee, 37,709; Stephen C. Shurtleff, 17,187; Henry M.
Seeley, 1,541; Truman B. Smith, 147; scattering, 18.

Ebenezer Jolls Ormsbee was born in Shoreham, June
8, 1834. He was educated in the public schools, Bran-
don Academy and South Woodstock Academy. He
taught school for several years, studied law, and was
admitted to the bar in 1861. He enlisted in the "Allen
Grays" of Brandon, which became Company G, First
Vermont Volunteers, and was elected Second Lieutenant.
Later he became a Captain in the Twelfth Vermont and
participated in the battle of Gettysburg. He was an
assessor in the Internal Revenue service from 1868 to


1872. In 1872 he represented Brandoi) in the Legisla-
ture. He was State's Attorney for Rutland county from
1870 to 1874, and was a Senator from Rutland county
in 1878. He w^as Lieutenant Governor from 1884 to
1886. In 1891 President Harrison appointed him one
of a commission of three members to treat with the
Piute Indians. He is president of the Brandon National

Josiah Grout of Derby was elected Speaker. In his
inaugural address Governor Ormsbee warned his hear-
ers that ilHteracy was increasing, and that Vermont was
falling behind other States in educational progress. He
declared that there were in the State one hundred
and three schools with not more than six pupils each
and four hundred and seventy schools wath more than
six and fewer than twelve pupils each. He favored the
adoption of the town system of schools and the estab-
lishment of a railroad commission. He complained that
the liquor laws were openly violated in many places.
Endorsement was given to the plan for the erection of
a Vermont monument on the battlefield of Gettysburg.

The General Assembly of 1886 established a Board
of Railroad Commissioners of three members to which
was given general supervision of the railroads of the
State. A State lioard of Health of three members was
authorized and the sum of thirty-five thousand dollars
was appro])rialed for estal)Hshing an experiment station
as a part of the State Agricultural College. The Cov-
ernor was authnriz^ed to appoint a commission of three
members to revise the educational laws of ibe Stale and
to report a bill at the next lei^'-islati\-e session i-nibodying


the findings of the commission. Governor Ormsbee
appointed as such commission James M. Tyler of Brat-
tleboro, Rev. Ezra Brainerd of Middlebury and S. W.
Landon of Burlington. The first named member later
was appointed a Judge of the Supreme Court and re-
signed, the vacancy being filled by the appointment of
Loveland Munson of Manchester. Provision was made
for the purchase by the State of text books to be used
in teaching scientific temperance in the public schools.
A joint resolution adopted authorized an investigation of
the State Normal Schools, the report of the committee at
the next session being in the nature of a criticism of the
existing system. One of the most stubbornly fought
legislative contests was waged over the division of Rut-
land, creating a city and setting aside portions of the old
town as new towns to be called West Rutland and Proc-
tor. The bill to incorporate the town of Proctor passed
the House by a vote of 128 to 92, and the Senate by a
vote of 27 to 0. The West Rutland bill passed the
House, 112 to 97, and the Senate, 27 to 1. Provision
was made at this session for purchasing land and erect-
ing a Vermont monument on the battlefield of Gettys-
burg. On the occasion of the death of Ex-President
Arthur the flag on the vState House was placed at half
mast, and Hon. Luke P. Poland, who represented the
town of Waterville, ofifered a joint resolution, which was
adopted, which declared that the former President had
filled "the position of Chief Magistrate of the Nation
with conspicuous ability, dignity and fidelity. The
people of the country have reason to feel grateful for his
public services and the State of Vermont to be proud of


her native son." Judge Poland paid a tribute to the
memory of Ex-President Arthur, and alluded to the fact
that his own father and Rev. William Arthur, father of
the Ex-President, were neighbors.

In the election for United States Senator, George
}^ Edmunds received 198 votes, W. H. H. Bingham of
Stowe (Dem.), 28, and Wheelock G. Veazey of Rutland,
8. The votes for Veazey represented the anti-Edmunds
sentiment. In the Senate the vote was, Edmunds, 29;
P)ingham, 1.

A controversy arose early in the year 1886 between
the Cleveland administration and the United States
Senate over removals from office. The Tenure of Office
Act, passed during the Reconstruction Period, when
Congress desired to limit the power of President John-
son, was still on the statute books. In March Senator
Edmunds, for the Senate Judiciary Committee, reported
resolutions condemning the refusal of Attorney General
Garland to send to the Senate copies of papers relating
to the removal of public officials, and Senator Edmunds
took an active part in the discussion. Although brought
into conflict with the President on several measures the
personal relations between the two men were cordial,
and Parker, in his biography of Grover Cleveland,
alludes to the respect which the President had Un Sena-
tor Edmunds, and his soundness on currency matters.
In Cleveland's "Presidential Problems," he said of
Edmunds: "He was one of the most courteous and
amiable of men, at least when outside of the Senate."

One of the important measures with which the name
of Senator Edmunds is associated, is the Electoral Count


Son of Gov. Paul Dillingham, was born in Waterbury,
December 12, 1843. He studied law and became one of the
leading lawyers of the State. He served in both branches
of the Legislature, was State Tax Commissioner from 1882
to 1888, and in the last named year was elected Governor.
In 1900 he was chosen United States Senator to succeed
Justin S. Morrill. He has held many important committee
positions, is an authority on immigration, having been
Chairman of the Senate Committee on that subject and head
of a commission that went to Europe to investigate immi-
gration. He is now ^1921) Chairman of the Senate Com-
mittee on Privileges and Elections.




Act, approved February 3, 1887, which provides against
a repetition of the uncertainty of 1876-77. Rhodes says
of this law: "Edmunds, who had played a prominent
part in the settlement of the disputed Presidency of
1876-77, must have brooded over the risk of civil war
that the country had then incurred, and he now brought
his keen legal mind to bear upon legislation which should
take the place of such a remedy as the Electoral Com-
mission, Remarkable in history as a thorough going
partisan and extraordinary lawyer he could on occasions
lay aside his partisanship: he deserved high praise for
his conduct at the time of the disputed Presidency and
he followed it up by pressing a law which should in the
future obviate such a danger. Hence the Electoral
Count Act of 1887 which, together with the Presidential
Succession Act, marks the progress in constitutional
government. * * * Edmunds was a faithful public

In 1887, Senator Edmunds, for the Foreign Relations
Committee, made an exhaustive report on the grievances
which American fishermen had suffered at the hands
of Canada. He supplemented the report with a drastic
bill, which was passed, giving the President power, in
his discretion, to exclude the vessels of British North
America from such privileges in the ports of the United
States as he might think proper and to deny entry into
this country of fresh or salt fish, or "any other product
of Canada."

The Huntington Fund, a gift to his native State of
Vermont by Arunah Huntington of Brantford, Canada,
became available in 1886. This fund amounted to


$211,131.46, and the interest was divided among the
towns of Vermont in proportion to population. In 1906
this gift was merged into the Permanent School Fund.
In April, 1887, President Cleveland appointed Col.
Aldace F. Walker of Rutland one of the five Interstate
Commerce Commissioners, this commission having re-
cently been created by act of Congress. Mr. Walker
was born at West Rutland, May 11, 1842, being the
son of a Congregational clergyman. Educated in the
local schools and at Kimball Union Academy, he entered
Middlebury College, graduating at the head of his class
in 1862. For nearly a year before graduation he had
tried to enter the Union army and the last months of
his senior year were spent in drilling recruits. He was
commissioned a First Lieutenant of the Eleventh Ver-
mont, and delivered his valedictory address at college in
the uniform of his rank. Lieutenant Walker was made
a Captain in December, 1862. His regiment was a part
of the famous Vermont Brigade and he served in every
battle fought by the Sixth Corps from May, 1864, to
April, 1865. He was promoted to the rank of Major
in July, 1864, and was brevetted Lieutenant Colonel,
April 20, 1865, ''for distinguished gallantry in the sev-
eral engagements in the Shenandoah valley." In June,
1865, he was commissioned Lieutenant Colonel and the
same month he was mustered out of service. After his
return from service he studied law at \\'alHngfnr(l and
Manchester, and later in the office of George F. Edmunds
at Burlington. He completed his studies under the
tuition of i'rofessor Dwight of Columbia ITniversity, and
for seven years he practiced law in the office of Strong


and Shepard, in New York City. Upon the death of the
senior member of the firm he was offered a partnership
with Elliott F. Shepard, the junior member, but did not
desire to remain in New York. He returned to Rutland
in 1873 and formed a partnership with former Judge
John Prout. In time his practice became restricted
largely to equity causes involving patents and railroads.
He was one of the counsel for the Vermont and Canada
Railroad in its prolonged litigation with the Vermont
Central Railroad Company. He was a member of the
Vermont State Senate in 1882, being chairman of the
Judiciary Committee. He was president of the Vermont
Bar Association in 1884-85. In 1889 he resigned as a
member of the Interstate Commerce Commission to be-
come chairman of the Interstate Commerce Railway
Association, a rate-maintaining organization composed
of most of the railroads operating from Chicago to the
West and Southwest. This organization was succeeded
by the Western Traffic Association, of which Colonel
Walker became manager. When this association was
dissolved he became one of the Commissioners of the
Joint Committee of the Central Traffic and Trunk Line
Association, which included the railroads between
Chicago and the Atlantic seaboard. His duties were
chiefly those of an arbitrator, called to pass upon rail-
road rates. He was appointed one of the receivers of
the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railroad and allied
lines, a system which comprised more than ten thousand
miles of road. During the greater part of the receiver-
.ship Colonel Walker was the working head of this great
railroad system, and his record was notable for efficiency.


In 1895 he was made chairman of the board of directors
and of the executive committee, with headquarters in
New York. This position he held until his death,
which occurred April 12, 1901. He was the author of
several magazine articles. In 1893 he served as one of
the Vermont Commissioners at the Columbian Exposi-
tion. Colonel Walker was one of the great railroad
executives whom Vermont has produced, and his brilliant
career reflected credit upon his native State.

President Cleveland's plan to return to Southefn
States Confederate flags captured by Union armies
aroused a storm of opposition throughout the North dur-
ing the summer of 1887. The Vermont Department of
the Grand Army of the Republic declared that "we most
solemnly and earnestly protest for ourselves and in the
name of our fallen comrades, whose memory is so vividly
brought to mind by the solemn ceremonies of the day
(the dedication of a soldiers' monument), against remov-
ing from their resting place the bloody emblems of a
treason that cost many precious lives, fully believing
that such removal will do more to keep alive the bitter
recollections of the war than anything that has trans-
pired since its close." Governor Ormsbee forwarded
these resolutions to President Cleveland with the dec-
laration that they "have my unqualified and warmest
approval, and you may rest assured that they contain
the sentiments of Vermont on this subject."

When President Cleveland visited the Adirondacks
in the Slimmer of 1887, the route chosen took him
through western X^ernmnt. The party which left Jer-
sey City, N. J.. Thursday nij^lit. May 26, consisted of


President and Mrs. Cleveland, Col. and Mrs. D. S.
Lament, Doctor and Mrs. Roseman of Brooklyn, N. Y.,
and Collector of Customs Bradley B. Smalley. In
accordance with the President's request there were no
formal celebrations and he made no speeches. Crowds
assembled all along the route on Friday, May 27, the first
appearing at North Bennington at six o'clock in the
morning. President and Mrs. Cleveland appeared on
the platform at Rutland, and were enthusiastically
cheered by the large crowd assembled. Short stops
were made at Brandon, Middlebury, Vergennes and
Charlotte. Students of Middlebury College gave their
college yell in honor of the President, and Ex-Governor
Stewart presented Mrs. Cleveland with a bunch of roses.
Mrs. B. B. Smalley, her daughter and niece boarded the
train at Charlotte and accompanied the party as far as
Swanton Junction.

A great throng assembled at the railway station at
Burlington to greet the Presidential party. The Presi-
dent and Collector Smalley appeared and were greeted
with hearty cheers, which were redoubled when the
President escorted Mrs. Cleveland to the car platform.
On behalf of the Sigma Phi fraternity of the University
of Vermont, Arthur Kennedy presented Mrs. Cleveland
with a basket of beautiful flowers.

Hiram Atkins of Montpelier, one of the Democratic
leaders of the State, joined the party at Essex Junction.
About one thousand, five hundred people had assembled
at St. Albans. The schools were dismissed and the
children were present at the station in large numbers.
A handsome bouquet was presented to Mrs. Cleveland by


the sons of F. W. McGettrick, and Col. E. C. Smith
sent a basket of choice roses. The Vermont friends
of the President left the special train at Swanton

The Republican State Convention, held at Burlington,
April 4, 1888, to elect delegates to the National Con-
vention, chose as delegates-at-large, Redfield Proctor of
Proctor, John G. McCullough of Bennington, Julius J.
Estey of Brattleboro and Frank Plumley of Northfield.
Other delegates elected were: First District — Buel J.
Derby of Burlington, C. W. Reed of Addison; Second
District — S. D. Hobson of Brighton, Henry C. Ide of
St. Johnsbury. The delegates were not instructed but
the name of James G. Blaine received much applause.
The memory of the campaign of 1884 apparently pre-
vented any attempt to elect Edmunds delegates. The
Democratic State Convention, held at Montpelier, on
May 10, elected as delegates-at-large to the National
Convention, W. H. H. Bingham of Stowe, John D. Han-
rahan of Rutland, John H. Senter of Montpelier and
M. H. Goddard of Ludlow. The district delegates
chosen were: First District — Thomas H. Hall of
Pownal, A. P. Grinnell of Burlington; Second District
— Thomas H. Chubb of Thetford and Alexander Coch-
ran of Ryegate.

If James G. Blaine had desired the Republican Presi-
dential nomination in 1888 it is probable that he might
have had it. but his health was not good, and he was
unwilling that his name should be presented. As a re-
sult of this condition public sentiment had not crystal-
lized in favor of two or three great leaders, as has often


happened. Late in the winter of 1887 a letter written
by Col. U. A. Woodbury of BurUngton, and published
in the Indianapolis Journal, advocated the nomination of
Gen. Benjamin Harrison of Indiana as the Republican
candidate for President. This letter was reproduced in
many other newspapers.

Ex-Governor Proctor was made chairman of the Ver-
mont delegation at the Republican National Convention,
and under his sagacious leadership Vermont exercised
an influence out of all proportion to its size. The day
before the convention opened the Vermont delegation
held a conference lasting two hours. The first choice
of the delegates included the names of James G. Blaine,
John Sherman, Benjamin Harrison, Chauncey M.
Depew and Russell A. Alger, but seven out of the eight
favored General Harrison as a second choice. After a
long discussion Colonel Proctor convinced his colleagues
that Vermont should cast a solid vote and that the strong-
est candidate was Benjamin Harrison. The convention
was a long one, but on every ballot every Vermont dele-
gate voted for Harrison. The delegation was seated
near the front of the hall and a feature of the balloting
was the announcement of Ex-Governor Proctor, in a
deep, sonorous voice that penetrated every corner of the
hall, "Vermont casts eight votes for Benjamin Harri-
son." The psychological effect of this announcement,
on ballot after ballot, was very great, and on the eighth
ballot Harrison was nominated. No other State was as
consistent as Vermont in supporting the nominee, not
even his own State of Indiana, which cast some votes for
another son. Gen. Walter Q. Gresham. During the


speechmaking that followed the nomination Chairman
Proctor said: "Vermont being the only State which
cast her vote solidly for General Harrison from the lirst,
returns her sincere thanks to the forty-five outlying
States and Territories for coming to her position." He
then pledged "a Republican majority of thirty thousand
as the opening gun of the Presidential campaign."

Levi P. Morton of New York was nominated for Vice
President on the first ballot, and being a native of V^er-
mont naturally received the support of this State.

Levi Parsons Morton ranks properly among the most
distinguished men whom Vermont has contributed to the
Nation. He was born in the Champlain valley town of
Shoreham, May 16, 1824, and was named for his mater-
nal grandfather, Rev. Levi Parsons, the first Protestant
missionary sent from America to Palestine. His
father, Rev. Daniel O. Morton, was pastor of the Con-
gregational Church at Shoreham. The lad wanted to
go to college, but a clergyman's salary of six hundred
dollars, with six children in the family, did not permit
the payment of college expenses. While the lad was
young the father became pastor of a church at Win-
chendon, Mass., and the son commenced to earn a few
pennies by ringing the church bell for the sexton. He
began his business career as an errand boy and clerk
in a country store at Enfield, Mass. His education had
been limited to such instruction as the common schools
afforded, supplemented by a brief course in Shoreham

Young Morton went from Enfield to Andover, Mass.,
and later to Concord, N. H., each transfer securing an


increased salary. He was thrifty and by the time he had
attained his majority he had saved enough money to
enable him to open a small store at Hanover, N. H. A
few years later he went to Boston, where he secured
employment in a large dry goods store. He became so
useful that in a comparatively short time he was made
a member of the firm of Beebe, Morton & Co. He re-
moved to New York in 1854 and founded the dry goods
house of Morton and Grinnell. The Civil War injured
the business of the firm and in 1863 it failed, paying
fifty cents on the dollar.

Mr. Morton then organized the banking house of L. P.
Morton & Co., paying particular attention to investment
securities. The banking firm prospered and before
many years elapsed all the creditors of the bankrupt
firm of Morton and Grinnell were invited to a banquet,
where each guest found under his plate a check for the
amount due with interest. In 1868 the banking firm was
reorganized as Morton, Bliss & Co., and in the same year
a branch house was established in London. This
branch became the fiscal representative of the United
States Government, and headed a syndicate to float a five
per cent loan to aid in the resumption of specie pay-
ments. The Morton banking house acted as Govern-
ment agent in the payment of the Geneva award for the
Alabama claims and the Halifax fisheries award. Mr.
Morton was a director of the Equitable Life, the Home
Insurance Company, the National Bank of Commerce,
the Guaranty Trust Company, and in Providence and
Newport banks.


Mr. Morton was a Republican in politics and in 1876
was an unsuccessful candidate for Congress in a dis-
trict normally Democratic. Two years later he was
again a candidate and was elected. During his single
term he was active in upholding sound financial prin-
ciples. He declined in 1880 to allow the use of his name
as a candidate for the Vice Presidential nomination and
refused the offer of the Navy portfolio in President Gar-
field's Cabinet. He accepted the appointment of United
States Minister to France. He unveiled the statue of
Lafayette at the birthplace of the famous Frenchman,
drove the first nail in the framework of Bartholdi's
statue of Liberty Enlightening the World, and secured
a more satisfactory status for American corporations in
France. He was twice an unsuccessful candidate for
the United States Senatorship. His nomination as the
Republican candidate for Vice President strengthened
the national ticket. He was a popular and an efficient
presiding officer. He was nominated as the Republican
candidate for Governor of New York in 1894, and was
elected over David B. Hill by a plurality of more than
156,000, one of the largest on record at that time. He
made an excellent Governor, and in 1896 the New York
delegates to the Repu1)lican National Convention were
instructed to vote for him as a candidate for the Presi-
dency, but Governor McKinley of Ohio was chosen. At
the age of seventy-two years he retired from active
political life.

He received the degree of Doctor of Laws from
Dartmouth College in 1881 and from Middlebury Col-
lege in 1882. He was a generous giver to many good


causes. He was twice married, his first wife being Miss
Lucy Kimball of Flatlands, N. Y., whom he married
in 1856. She died in 1871 and in 1873 he married Miss
Anna L. Street. Three children survive, Mrs. William
C. Eustis, Mrs. Helen Morton and Mrs. Winthrop

Mr. Morton was a modest, dignified gentleman, a
business man of great ability and flawless integrity, an
honorable and an efficient public servant, whose record
should be an inspiration to ambitious youths in this and
succeeding generations.

General Harrison telegraphed his managers, asking
that the Vermont delegation might be the first to visit
him and the invitation was accepted. Chairman Proc-
tor took with him a letter of introduction from Richard
W. Thompson of Indiana, Secretary of the Navy under
President Hayes, in which it was asserted positively
that Harrison owed his nomination to the Vermont

President Cleveland was unanimously nominated in
the Democratic National Convention, and Allen G.
Thurman of Ohio was nominated for Vice President on
the first ballot, the Vermont delegation voting for him.
Hiram Atkins was made the Vermont member of the
National Committee and a member of the executive com-

The Vermont Republican Convention of 1888 nomi-
nated William P. Dillingham of Waterbury for Gov-
ernor and Urban A. Woodbury of Burlington for Lieu-
tenant Governor, by acclamation. The Democrats again

Online LibraryWalter Hill CrockettVermont, the Green mountain state (Volume 4) → online text (page 12 of 43)