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would be in the keeping of the fifteen men who would
be chosen. * * * Both in Congress and among the
people the conviction was general that the party was
entitled to the services of its best men. There was no
struggle among members for positions on the committee
and when the names were announced, they gave universal
satisfaction to the Republicans." Mr. Morrill's name
was signed to the report made by this committee.

In discussing Mr. Morrill's standing in the House at
this time a private letter from Washington, printed in
the Btirlington Free Press, said :

"He is always listened to, as few Congressmen are —
Blaine, Banks and Stevens are the only members who
can be placed in the same catalogue. Mr. Morrill is
always courteous, quiet, and modest and yet his influence


is greater than any other member except Thad Stevens,
lie is by far the most popular member in Congress."

Thaddeus Stevens, in the course of a debate, remarked
concerning Mr. Morrill : "He has a name for skill, in-
dustry, and talents which will go down to posterity with
this very legislation when all the rest of us are unknown
ten days after death." In a speech made in Congress in

1865, Henry Winter Davis of Maryland accorded to Mr.
Morrill the credit of being the ablest financier in either
branch of Congress that it had been his pleasure to meet
"during the last eight years."

Congressmen Woodbridge and Mr. Poland were
elected in the fall of 1866. The contest for Congress-
man in the Third district was one of the most exciting
ever held in the State. Portus Baxter had served three
terms and for a period considerably longer than that had
been very active in political affairs. Younger men were
ambitious to succeed him and it was charged by his op-
ponents that he had built up a political machine, or ring,
which operated to his personal advantage. The mass
convention which assembled at Hyde Park, August 15,

1866, is said to have been more largely attended than any
regular convention ever held before or since that time.
It was freely charged by the rival faction that men were
hired in great numbers to attend. The attendance was
\ariously estimated from three thousand to ten thousand,
the smaller figure being more likely to be correct.

All kinds of vehicles were pressed into service and the
pilgrimage to Hyde Park began two days before the con-
vention. It is asserted that every house within a radius
of eight or ten miles of the county seat was filled the


nig-ht of August 14, while many persons slept in barns
and in the open fields.

The contest was between Congressman Baxter and
Romeo H. Hoyt of St. Albans. Most of the newspapers
of the district opposed Mr. Baxter. County meetings
were held in order that members of a nominating com-
mittee might be chosen, this being a customary procedure
in mass conventions.

The indications pointed to a majority for Baxter,
although the opponents asserted that some of the Baxter
adherents after passing between the tellers went back to
the front of the line and passed through a second time.
Judge Poland made a speech, after which there was much
contention and the convention finally broke up without
making a nomination. A bitter contest followed.
There was no choice in the September elections, although
Mr. Baxter had a substantial plurality. The vote was
as follows: Baxter, 7,329; Hoyt, 4,511; Waldo Brig-
ham (Dem.), 3,395; scattering, 433.

At a caucus of members of the Legislature from the
Third district, Worthington C. Smith of St. Albans was
nominated on the second ballot, over Asa O. Aldis, of
the same town, by a vote of 45 to 16, and at a special
election held in November, Mr. Smith was elected by a
majority of 219 votes. The vote was as follows:
Smith, 5,730; Aldis, 2,794; Waldo Brigham, 2,680;
scattering, 44.

W^orthington Curtis Smith, son of Hon. John Smith,
and a brother of John Gregory Smith, was born in St.
Albans, April 19, 1823. He was graduated from the
University of Vermont in 1843, studied law, but entered

;50 11IS'JX)R\' OF \J£RMOXT

business, engaging in the iron trade. He aided in rais-
ing the first X'ermont volunteers, was a member of the
\ermont House of Representatives in 1863, and of the
Senate in 1864 and 1865, being elected President Pro
Tem in the latter year. He served three terms in Con-
gress. He was a director and afterward president of
the \^ermont and Canada Railroad, vice president of the
Central X'ermont and president of the Missisquoi Rail-
road. He died January 2, 1894.

In the summer of 1866 Gen. George J. Stannard,
whose name had been suggested as a suitable candidate
for Congressman in the Third district, was appointed
Collector of Customs for the District of Vermont.

When Mr. Morrill took his seat in the Senate, on
March 4, 1867, he was assigned to the Committees on
Finance, Claims and Post-Offices and Post-Roads. He
remained a member of the Finance Committee from his
entrance to the Senate in 1867 until the date of his

State Treasurer John B. Page was nominated as the
Republican candidate for Governor, his Democratic
opponent being John L. Edw^ards of Derby. The result
of the election was: Page, 31,694; Edwards, 11,510;
scattering, 22.

John B. Page was born in Rutland, February 25, 1826.
He was educated in the public schools and in Burr and
Burton Seminary at Manchester. At the age of sixteen
he entered the Bank of Rutland and for many years he
was president of the National Bank of Rutland. As
trustee for the bondholders, Mr. Page became inter-
ested in the Rutland and lUirlington Railroad and when


Born in East Windsor, Conn., Februar)' 15, 1813. In
early life he removed to Brattleboro, where he engaged in
farming. He was one of the founders and long president
of the Vermont State Agricultural Association, a member
of the State Senate, 1849-50, and was Governor of Vermont
during two years of the Civil War, 1861-63. He was active
in securing hospitals for Vermont soldiers and was an advisor
of President Lincoln. He died April 27, 1909, aged ninety-six

j7v.^Jw-^.,.c^ ^^-^^^^^u-/V


the Rutland Railroad Company was reorganized he be-
came its president. He was vice president of the Cen-
tral Vermont Railroad Company, a director of the Cham-
plain Transportation Company, was instrumental in the
transfer of the Howe Scale Works from Brandon to
Rutland, and was treasurer of the company. He repre-
sented Rutland in the State Legislature in 1852, 1853,
1854 and 1880. From 1860 to 1866 he served as State
Treasurer. President Lincoln appointed him as Allot-
ment Commissioner and he is said to have originated the
plan for paying Vermont soldiers State pay of seven
dollars per month. He was an active member of the
Congregational church and a member of the corpora-
tion of the American Board of Commissioners for For-
eign Missions. He died October 24, 1885.

Speaker John W. Stewart was reelected. In his mes-
sage Governor Page favored simplifying and improving
the system of collecting taxes. He characterized the
militia law as wholly inadequate, an opinion not infre-
quently expressed by various predecessors, and called
attention to the need of developing the manufacturing re-
sources of the State.

During the year additional Normal Schools had been
established at Johnson and Castleton, and the sum of
five hundred dollars was appropriated for each of the
three schools. Towns were authorized to establish one
or more central schools. Permission was given towns
and cities to exempt new manufacturing establishments
from taxation for a period of five years. The Mont-
pelier and Wells River Railroad Company was incor-


The thanks of the Legislature were voted to Gens.
W. F. Smith and W. T. H. Brooks, former command-
ers of the First Vermont Brigade, and to Gen. P. H.
Sheridan for gallant service, and these officers were in-
vited to visit the State. The action of Congress in its
controversy with President Johnson was endorsed
heartily. Appropriate resolutions concerning the death
of Governor Andrew of Massachusetts were adopted.

Earlier in the year, 1867, a special session had been
called to consider a complicated railroad situation affect-
ing Bennington and Rutland counties, which desired an
outlet. Laws were passed enabling towns in those coun-
ties to purchase the bonds of the Lebanon Springs Rail-
road Company or the bonds of any other road, to enable
the Burlington and Rutland Railroad to make connec-
tions with New York, Albany and Boston.

During the session of 1866-67, Senator Edmunds, as
chairman of the joint special committee on Civil Service
and Retrenchment, reported, and was instrumental in
securing the passage of the Tenure of Office bill, which
required the concurrence of the Senate in removals from
office by the President, the Cabinet officials being
excei)ted. Senator Edmunds defended the civil service
act against the attacks of Senators Conkling and

When arrangements were made for the trial of Presi-
dent Andrew Johnson before the Senate, to answer to
im])eachment charges preferred by the I louse, Mr.
Edmunds of Vermont was made chairman of a com-
mittee to arrange rules of procedure in the Senate, and,
in conjunction with Chief Justice Salmon P. Chase, who


was to preside at the trial, established the rules as they
appeared in the official records. It was, indeed, remark-
able that a man who had been in the Senate less than
two years should have been chosen for such a difficult
and responsible task. Senator Edmunds voted to im-
peach President Johnson. In a letter written in 1913,
and printed in the Century, Mr. Edmunds expressed the
opinion that the failure to impeach President Johnson
was due in part, at least, to a belief that Senator Wade
of Ohio, President Pro Tem of the Senate, who would
have succeeded to the Presidency, was not in all respects
a proper man for the office, and that had Senators
Frelinghuysen or Harlan been President of the Senate,
Mr. Johnson would have been removed. In November,
1867, Senator Edmunds introduced a joint resolution
pledging the public faith to the payment of the public
debt in coin, championed it and carried it through the
Senate. This was the first message signed by General
Grant as President.

Senator Morrill voted to impeach President Johnson,
and wrote a letter to Senator Fessenden urging him to
do likewise. Speeches were made in the House by the
three Vermont Congressmen, Messrs. Poland, Wood-
bridge and Smith, supporting the impeachment reso-

The Republican State Convention, held at Rutland
on March 18, 1868, to elect delegates to the National
Convention, declared : "We approve the action of Con-
gress in respect to impeachment and earnestly call upon
the Senate of the United States, sitting as a court of
impeachment, to proceed without fear, favor or afifection,


and to assure them that the people of Vermont will stand
hv and maintain the just judgment of the law." This
convention was held nearly two months before the Senate
voted on any of the articles of impeachment.

Early in the year Grant Clubs had been organized in
various parts of the State and this convention adopted
a resolution which said: "We but give expression to
w^iat is the heart of every Republican in Vermont in
joining our voice to the common acclaim which names
this soldier and statesman (Gen. U. S. Grant) as our
leader in the next Presidential campaign." The dele-
gates-at-large chosen were Trcnor W. Park of Benning-
ton, Gen. George J. Stannard of Burlington, Luther
Baker of Newport and Col. Samuel E. Pingree of Hart-
ford. General Stannard had just the number of votes
necessary to elect him over George W. Grandey of Ver-
gennes. The district delegates chosen were as follows:
First District— Gen. W. Y. W. Ripley of Rutland,
George C. Shepard of Montpelier; Second District —
John C. Stearns of Bradford, W. H. Johnson of Bellows
Falls; Third District, Dana R. Bailey of St. Albans,
Gen. William W. Grout of Barton.

The Vermont delegates supported Grant and Colfax,
the nominees of the convention. Mr. Park was named
as a member of the National Committee. There was a
rumor, which did not materialize, that X^crmont would
support Luke P. Poland as a Vice Presidential candi-
date. Early in 1.S68 Thurlow Wvcc] urged that the
Republicans should nominate for \'icc I 'resident one of
the following group: James G. l)Iaine, v^rhuyler Col-
fax, Ilenrv Wilson. George E. ICdniunds or Galusha A.


Grow. At this time Mr. Edmunds had been a member
of the Senate less than two years.

The Vermont delegates to the Democratic National
Convention were H. B. Smith of Milton, Isaac
McDaniels of Rutland, Henry Keyes of Newbury, P. S.
Benjamin of VVolcott, E. R. Wright of Middlebury,
George H. Simmons of Bennington, George H. Weeks
of Lyndon, Charles N. Davenport of Brattleboro, Waldo
Brigham of Hyde Park and John J. Deavitt of St.
Albans. On the first two ballots the Vermont delegation
voted for James E. English of Connecticut, as a Presi-
dential candidate; and on the next four ballots, for
Thomas A. Hendricks, Vermont being the first State to
vote for the Indiana statesman. This support was con-
tinued until the last ballot, when Gov. Horatio Seymour
of New York was nominated.

A feature of the campaign was Soldiers' and Sailors'
Conventions, held by both parties. The Republican
delegation was headed by Gen. William Wells, and the
Democratic delegation by Gen. W. F. Smith.

Governor Page was renominated by the Republicans.
The Democrats nominated John L. Edwards of Derby
for Governor, and Morillo Noyes of Burlington for Lieu-
tenant Governor. In the First district, Charles W.
Willard of Montpelier defeated Congressman Wood-
bridge as a candidate for Congress.

Governor Page's majority was 20,162, the vote being:
Page, 42,615; Edwards, 15,289. Grant's majority for
President in November was 32,122. The vote by
counties was as follows:


Rep. Dem.

Addison 3.680 405

Bennington 2,592 885

Caledonia 3,078 1,069

Chittenden 3,494 1,208

Essex 761 283

Franklin 2,869 1,039

Grand Isle 371 156

Lamoille 1,881 458

Orange 3,220 1,240

Orleans 2,840 615

Rutland 5,241 1,169

Washington 3,718 1 ,380

Windham 4,311 941

Windsor 6,030 1,192

Legislative vote 81 6

Total 44,167 12,045

George W. Grandey of Vergennes was elected
Speaker. In his inaugural message Governor Page re-
ported improvement in financial conditions. The funded
indebtedness amounted to $1,168,000. The aggregate
indebtedness of all the towns and cities in the State was
$1,939,198, and nearly one-half of this amount was re-
ported from the counties of RenningtcMi and Windsor.
Attention was called to the need of rcforniini;' ihc lax
laws and correcting unc(|ual appraisals. The Governor
favored the construction of a canal which would make
l)f>s^ible a water route connecting- the St. Lawrence and
the Hudson Ri\'ers 1)\' \\;i\' of Lake Chainplain.


Among the laws passed at this session was an act pro-
viding that union or graded schools should receive a
proportionate share of public school money. The Secre-
tary of State was directed to compile and print statistics
relating to the resources of the State, including water
powers and the products of mines and quarries. Reso-
lutions were adopted favoring a ship canal connecting the
St. Lawrence River and Lake Champlain, opposing a
reciprocity treaty with Canada, deploring the death of
Thaddeus Stevens and asking the delegation in Congress
to endeavor to secure for Vermont a grant of unappro-
priated lands "for the aid and advancement of education
and for the promotion of internal improvements."

Senator Edmunds was reelected for a full term of six
years, receiving 29 votes in the Senate and 188 votes in
the House. Eleven votes were cast for T. P. Redfield.

The new Congressman, Charles W. Willard, was born
in Lyndon, June 15, 1827. He graduated from Dart-
mouth College in 1851, studied law in the office of Peck
and Colby and was admitted to the bar in 1853, forming
a partnership with F. F. Merrill. In 1855 and 1856
he was Secretary of State and in 1860 and 1861 was a
Senator from Washington county. From 1861 to 1873
he was editor and publisher of the Green Mountain
Freeman, a Montpelier newspaper, with the exception of
a period in 1865 when he was editor of the Milwaukee
Sentinel. He was a member of Congress from 1869 to
1875. In 1867 he was appointed one of the commis-
sioners to revise the Vermont Statutes. He died June
8, 1880.


Gen. P. H. Sheridan came to Montpelier on October
30, as the giiest of the Vermont Officers' Reunion
Society, being greeted by crowds along the route through
the State. He addressed the Legislature briefly and
afterward was introduced by Ex-Governor Dillingham
to the crowd outside. He attended the meeting of the
\'ermont officers and was received with much enthusiasm.

The Republican State Convention in 1869 nominated
Gen. Peter T. Washburn for Governor over Dudley C.
Denison of Royalton and Julius Converse of Woodstock.
G. W. Hendee of Morrisville was nominated for Lieu-
tenant Governor. The Democratic Convention nomi-
nated for the same offices. Homer W. Heaton of Mont-
pelier and Morillo Noyes of Burlington, respectively.
The result of the election was as follows: Washburn,
31,834; Heaton, 11,455; scattering, 26.

Peter T. Washburn was born in Lynn, Mass., Septem-
ber 7, 1814. When he was three years old his father
removed to Chester, Vt., living later at Cavendish and
at Ludlow. He graduated from Dartmouth College in
1835, studied law in the office of Senator Upham at
Montpelier, was admitted to the bar in 1838, and began
practice at Ludlow. In 1844 he removed to Woodstock
and formed a partnership with Charles P. Marsh. He
represented Woodstock in the Legislatures of 1853 and
1854, and was chairman of the Vermont delegation to
the Republican National Convention of 1860. As com-
mander of the Woodstock Light Infantry at the outbreak
of the Civil War, he led his company to Rutland, where
it was incorporated as part of the First Vermont, of
which he was chosen Lieutenant Colonel, and acted as


Colonel. In October, 1861, he was elected Adjutant
General and performed the arduous duties of that posi-
tion during the war very efficiently. He was a trustee
of the University of Vermont.

Contrary to custom, Governor Washburn delivered his
message in person. He reported that the funded debt of
the State had been reduced from $1,650,000 at the close
of the war to $1,075,000. He called attention to the
number of young men leaving the State for the West and
urged the importance of developing Vermont's resources.
He recommended for careful consideration the report of
the Board of Education favoring the abolition of all
school districts.

The Legislature incorporated the town of Stannard,
formerly Goshen Gore, in Caledonia county, the name
being given in honor of Gen. George J. Stannard. Dur-
ing the session of 1869 the Fifteenth Amendment to the
United States Constitution was ratified, unanimously
in the Senate, and by a vote of 196 to 12 in the House.

Early in October Vermont was visited by a severe
freshet. Rain began to fall on Sunday morning,
October 3, and continued until Monday night, October
4. A thread mill at Bennington was carried away by
the flood and not a bridge was left in Woodford. A
house was swept away at Woodford Hollow, and three
lives were lost. Factories and mills were destroyed at
Brattleboro, where the estimate of the losses varied
from $150,000 to $300,000. The damage at Spring-
field, Vt., was said to be $100,000 and several mills and
factories were washed away at Windsor. The damage
at Ripton was said to be $110,000 and the same amount


was given as an estimate of the losses in Lamoille
county. At Saxtons River, thirty-five thousand pounds
of wool were lost. In Caledonia county the rain was
said to be the most severe since 1826. There were
heavy losses at the Fairbanks scale plant in St. Johns-
bury. The damage at Montpelier was estimated at
$30,000. The Winooski River rose so high at the State
capital that the dining room floor at the Pavilion Hotel
was under water.

The thirteenth and last Council of Censors was elected
in 1869, and was composed of the following members:
Jasper Rand of St. Albans, Henry Lane of Cornwall,
J. Burton Hollister of Manchester, Jonathan Ross of St.
Johnsbury, William Harmon of Shelburne, Nathaniel
W. French of Lunenburg, H. Henry Powers of Morris-
ville, John R. Cleaveland of Brookfield, Charles C.
Dewey of Rutland, Timothy P. Redfield of Montpelier.
Charles K. Field of Brattleboro and Joseph W. Coburn
of Springfield. The first meeting was held at Mont-
pelier, June 2, 1869, and subsequent sessions were held.
July 2-4, July 27, August 6 and October 19-22.

A series of amendments was proposed, abolishing the
Council of Censors and giving the Legislature the right
to suggest amendments every ten years ; providing that
with the exception of municipalities no special laws
should be enacted for coriK)rations; substituting biennial
for annual elections of State officers and members of the
Legislature; providing for the appointment of Judges
of the Supreme Court by the Governor with the advice
and consent of the Senate, for a term of six vears;


enabling the Legislature to fill vacancies in the House
and Senate; giving to women the right of suffrage.

A Constitutional Convention was called at Montpelier,
on the second Wednesday in June, 1870. The conven-
tion met on June 8 and elected as president, George
Nichols of Northfield. Among the well known mem-
bers were Ex-Gov. Ryland Fletcher of Cavendish, Ex-
Gov. Paul Dillingham of Waterbury, Edward J. Phelps
of Burlington, Charles P. Marsh of Woodstock, Charles
K. Field of Brattleboro, E. P. Walton of Montpelier,
J. W. Hobart of St. Albans, H. Henry Powers of Mor-
risville, A. N. Swain of Bellows Falls, Edward Conant
of Randolph, A. E. Jeudevine of Hardwick, E. B.
Sawyer of Hyde Park, W. H. H. Bingham of Stowe,
Loyal C. Kellogg of Benson, D. M. Camp of Newport
and Merritt Clark of Poultney.

The article forbidding special legislation for corpora-
tions was defeated by a vote of 168 to 63. The amend-
ment for filling legislative vacancies was lost by a vote
of 145 to 39. The article relating to election of Judges
was declared inexpedient by a vote of 233 to 2.

Several petitions favoring woman suffrage were pre-
sented, one from Brattleboro bearing 231 names, but the
proposal was lost without debate by a vote of 231 to 1.
The lone supporter of the amendment was Harvey
Howes of West Haven.

The proposal favoring biennial elections brought forth
much debate. Among its champions were Ex-Gov.
Ryland Fletcher and Edward J. Phelps, while the lead-
ing opponents included Ex-Governor Dillingham and
E. P. Walton. It was adopted by the close vote of 118


to 115. A reconsideration was ordered, 118 to 115, but
it was adopted a second time by the same vote as that
cast on its first adoption. The champions and opponents
of the proposal to aboHsh the Council of Censors were
much the same as those who fought out the question of
biennial versus annual elections. Mr. Walton argued
that the small towns would lose some of their rights by
the proposed change and E. J. Phelps asserted that the
destruction of the Christian religion was as probable
as the loss of the rights of the small towns of the State
by the proposed reform. This amendment was agreed
to by a vote of 124 to 85. Adjournment was taken on
June 14. The idea of a Council of Censors had been
borrowed from Pennsylvania, which discarded the sys-
tem after a few years, and no other State had used this

Governor Washburn died on February 7, 1870, at his
home in Woodstock. He had overtaxed his strength in
financing and constructing the Woodstock Railroad.
He was the first Governor of Vermont to die in office
with the single exception of Governor Chittenden.
Lieut. Gov. George W. Hendee assumed the duties of
Governor and completed the term.

The census of 1870 gave V^ermont a pc^pulation of
330,551, a gain of 15,453, or 4.9 per cent for the ten-
year census period. Eight counties, Bennington, Cale-
donia, Chittenden, Essex. Franklin, Lamoille, Orleans

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