Letter from NORMAN WILLIAMS to GEORGE PERKINS MARSH, dated April 9, 1858.
Yours of the 8' is received and I am at loss what to say in answer --
Is it possible that, as commissioners, we have any official vitality? I had supposed our functions ceased on the first of April last, and such was probably the construction of the legislature by the passing of a resolution assigning to the commissioners appointed "to prepare a plan for re- building the State House," a specific duty in the matter of the "suitable figure to be placed on the dome."
Mr. Silloway was with me last evening. It is his intention to
go to Montpelier as soon as he can arrange his home affairs, and remain there some
time, perhaps thro' the season, unless Dr Powers should
resisit him "[...] et [...]." He thinks, by attention to the details, he can yet save the building from any gross violation of the plan. The Doctor has thrown away his circular plinths and directed the construction of proper ones and I think Silloway, by a firm and cool course, may have the effect to restrain his vagaries.
I shall have time to hear from you again before I see Judge
Porter. I have such a conviction that our duties as commissioners are
, that I have misgivings about a formal meeting at Montpelier. --
It seems to me that we could administer nothing but exhortation. It is possible that
it would be well received by Dr Powers, but it would not be as effectual as advice
& suggestions made by you alone. He knows that you are perfectly acquainted with
the subject and entirely qualified to teach the teachers in architecture. He cannot
have much confidence in the opinions of the
other Commissioners in regard to details, and should we go there in a body he might take the attitude of resistance, in which case we should probably fail of doing any good.
Before deciding on a meeting will it not be best to see what you and Mr Silloway can do to make the crooked straight? If I understood Mr Silloway he thought there was no danger of the work going wrong until he should return.
Hon. George P. Marsh
References in this letter:
Governor Fletcher named three commissioners to oversee the construction of a new State House in Montpelier: Norman Williams, John Porter, and George Perkins Marsh. Dr. Thomas E. Powers was named the Superintendent of Construction.
Thomas W. Silloway, (1828-1910), was only thirty years old in 1857 when he was chosen architect for the new State House in Montpelier. Silloway was from Massachusetts, and had worked in the office of Ammi B. Young, the architect who designed the previous building. Silloway and Dr. Powers, the superintendent of construction for the 1857 job, had worked together to design and build a new courthouse in Woodstock, Vermont, that burned in 1854.
John Porter, (1798-1886), of Hartford, Vermont, was State Senator for the years 1842 and 1843, a probate judge for the district of Hartford for the years of 1850-1886, as well as serving as a commission to oversee the reconstruction of the State House in Montpelier.
Norman Williams, (1791-1868) was a State Senator in 1854 and 1855 before he was named by Governor Fletcher, to the committee which oversaw the construction of the new State House in Montpelier, to replace the building destroyed by fire in 1857.