Letter from THOMAS WILLIAM SILLOWAY to NORMAN WILLIAMS, dated September 23, 1857.

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Publication InformationBoston Sep't 23..1857.

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My Friend Williams

Our perspective picture is nearly done, and the prospect now is, that you will get a copy quite as soon as next Tuesday. Mr. Bufford thinks he can get them ready to send on Monday, but I think I shall keep him at work that day in re-touching the thing. However, just the day it is, ready, you will hear from it. I think (if I may judge from the looks of the thing now) we shall all of us feel satisfied with it. The new dome looks well. I am inclined to think Mr. Marsh will see in it enough of his idea to satisfy him. I like the thing well enough. As soon as you commissioners have passed judgement, I shall make my working drawings so as to produce the thing in execution as it appears in effect in the new picture. I have thrown aside entirely all the drawings made for the other design and now begin new again. In my communications before this I have written to Mr. Marsh but not being quite sure of his whereabouts I must for once trouble you for a little service. Our picture is to come out early next week, and while the thing is being printed we should get as many as we shall actualy need for immediate service. I am at a loss to remember the number we had proposed. My impression is, that 400 was the number, but upon more mature thought I can't

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see that "400 will be enough." There are 239 members to the house and 30 in the senate which with the officers c. will use up 300 at least. The commissioners should have about a dozen each, and the Governor as many as two dozen to send to such friends in the State as he may think best But 40 would be left. I am not sure that any more is needed then these for distribution, but it seems to me that for all the people who would like them these would not be n[e]ar enough. However one thing can be done we can have more "afterwards." The doctor (I learn by the Carpenter) is or has been at Woodstock lately. If you have not done so while he was there please get an order from yourself (!) and the other commissioners and send it to the doctor for Bufford's pay for the pictures. As it is no thing of his ordering he will I presume feel better to have the commissiones' orders to put on file. The price was $100. for the picture on the stone, and $40. per hundred. $260. in all, for 400 copies. The work up to a week ago promised fairly to show us the roof on the larger part of all, but appearances now are that none will go on. After a good deal of deliberation, I came to the conclusion just what and and so informed the doctor, but he thought a greater evil would perhaps be incurred by taking my advice and so we shall do the best we can following his ideas. Of course I am to and not . The doctor is as true as steel, and if he is on the right track no man can do better.

I am yours very truly Thomas W. Silloway 121 Court St.

References in this letter:

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.

John Henry Bufford, (1810-1870), was a distinguished lithographer and publisher of the period. At the time of the reconstruction of the State House, Bufford worked in Boston where he published Silloway's drawings and plans for the Vermont State House.

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.

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.

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.

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.