Letter from THOMAS WILLIAM SILLOWAY to GEORGE PERKINS MARSH, dated April 30, 1858.
Mr Marsh. I started for Boston yesterday morning, on my arrival at Woodstock I saw
Powers on the platform of the depot. He had returned from
Boston. Thinking it entirely possible that he had availed himself of the
postponement of the commissioners meeting and would attempt
to fix the thing up with the other commissioners I thought I best to be on hand
myself. I went down to the junctions and there hired a man to take me to Woodstock.
This would give me a chance to see Judge Porter which I could
not do if I went on the coach, & more than all I wished to go alone, rather
than with him. I found the judge at home. He was sorry the meeting had been
postponed. He was ready to go on and had made all his arrangements. His appointment
fill up every day till the 17 of May, but he thinks he can
probably fix up something sooner than that. He says he was so much engaged, and he thinks that if Powers is under employ of the State that he ought to be where he can be attended to especially in cases of the kind. The Judge is more ardent for than he has been before. He says he is willing to protest to the Gov. against Powers' proceedings. He will be with us. I found Mr. Williams at home and . He has gained enthusiasm likewise,--is ready to go up and will do all he can. He respects your opinions as much as Powers , and that is a good deal. Mr. Williams says keep the money of the Montpelier people out of his hands. W. is remarkably engaged, but we left the matter in this way he is to see Judge Porter, They are to fix a day and inform you. I will be on hand if you will let me know the time. We talked nearly two hours. We sat in the dark on purpose to avoid callers. I was well satisfied with this interview, and think they can be able to do much good. My
idea is about this. If we do anything that can amount to much we shall have to work clean and to the point. Merrill says that we must not at all relax if we intend to conquer. Brown the foreman of Waltons' paper met him and asked him if it would harm Montpelier to publish the article. M. advised him to put it in without being at all alarmed. I think is good for it. As yet I have of course heard nothing from Collamer. He probably had an interview with Powers here. do not mean to be flattered into any sort of milk and water arrangements, but will insist on the terms I last wrote to you. I did not see P. at all in Woodstock, as I left at 10. A. M. Mr. W. assured me when I left him to hold me up and not let down one bar for Powers. P wrote a note to Williams informing him that he was going to Boston. Williams is at a loss to know how the article came in the Bellows' Falls Times. He thinks it smacks of Chapman
Tom and the Governor. He approves of the article in the Free Press. Probably you sent it to him. It was a mean thing in P. to employ any architect to carry out a design of the commissioners without even so much as . He may think he is [...] none. I think when the Com's have met they should demand of him to surrender the part that does not belong to him. If he does and If not then remonstrate against his proceeding with your designs, and ask for a reform if it is not immediately granted by the Gov. Then publish an address to the people, washing your hands from his abuses and abominations. That being done we can rest for a season. All this should take place before the 1st of June. The [...] will see to it that he is put far enough out of the way. I have fixed the work as well as I can to last till I return. I am encouraged by the interviews at Woodstock. And never felt more like working than I do now. A delay will be what P. desires, but it need not harm our cause. We will see to it that he does not slip through our hands. Hoping to hear soon from you that the day is appointed.
I am yoursT. W. Silloway
121 Court St.
References in this letter:
Dr. Thomas E. Powers, (1808-1876), of Woodstock, Vermont, was appointed by Governor Fletcher to be the Superintendent of Construction of the 1858-1860 project, to build a new State House in Montpelier to rebuild the structure burned in 1857. He and the architect, Thomas W. Silloway, were soon at loggerheads over their roles in the project. Powers became State Senator in 1861.
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.
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.
Governor Ryland Fletcher, (1799-1885), was born in Cavendish, Vermont. He was the first distinctly Republican Governor of the state of Vermont, and was active in the anti-slavery movement. On January 6, 1857, during his administration, the State House in Montpelier was destroyed by fire, and he appointed a committee to oversee the reconstruction.
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.
F. F. Merrill was a Montpelier lawyer who represented Silloway in his proceedings against Superintendent Powers.
Eliakim Persons Walton, (1812-1890) was an editor, journalist, and publisher. In 1853, he became the sole proprietor of the Vermont Watchman and State Gazetteer. He was the editor of Walton's Register, as well as a member of the Vermont Legislature in 1853. He was also the president of the Vermont Historical Society from 1876-1890, as well as a member of the Board of Trustees of the University of Vermont and State Agricultural College in 1875-1887.
George W. Collamer, (1803-1865) held several positions in Vermont state government.
C. (Clark) H. Chapman (1822-1888) was Secretary of State 1855-1859.
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.