Letter from THOMAS WILLIAM SILLOWAY to GEORGE PERKINS MARSH, dated April 2, 1858.
he will probably tell him and fearing to have the whole board here he will try to
arest it. If he does, let it be done only on condition that he gives me full power
to see the work properly done and let my part of the work alone. I want
nothing short of this. This last is important, as he is disposed to hire men,
whether they are fit or not. I am troubled now with this same evil and helpless for
defense. If you have anything to do with a settlement of the difficulty insist upon
these and such other incidentals as you may think neccessary. According to advice I
sent him a letter informing him that I still considered myself as architect. He
replied that he had verbaly accepted my resignation amp;c., would not accept any
more service of any kind. Soon after he sent the letter he heard by Doct Dewey that
you was to come with the rest, and he was scared. He went to the shop yesterday and
told the master carpenter that if I came in there to take my advice amp;c. That I
was not architect, but he was disposed to be fair and let me explain my own
I am therefore to-day April 28 explaining , things to the workmen. Richards is hard at it in Boston getting up some kind of drawings, I know not what kind. Probably a big section that will cost a good round sum. He informed the doct that one was needed. I knew as much but was not of course ready to make it, till I knew what kind of stucco to make. All the drawings for the building are done with the exception of the stuccoing, and the stairs together with outside doors and galleries. The three first named we have no need of, for months, and need consultation. Richards is . I have finaly concluded to write to Mr. Williams and go directly home. The matter will then be in . I have full confidence in your interest, and judgement to pledge myself as aid, I will copy on the rest of this sheet a certificate I got from Col. Sherman the original contractor for the old State House He lives in Plainfield, was in town yesterday. He dictated and Mr. Merrills clerk copied it off. He is willing to testify
Montpelier April 2d, '58
The undersigned being the master Builder at the construction of the State House in
1832, presents the following, as his convictions and opinions, regarding questions
which have been made to me by Thomas W. Silloway, architect
of the building that is now being erected. No man who is not familiar with drawings
and the practical construction of buildings by is qualified to
superintend the construction of a public edifice. If the work be constructed by such
and the Architect who makes the drawings is not often present, -- as a general thing
once in a day or two, mistakes must inevitably occur, and the building be
unscientifically constructed. And further, that no Architect can reasonably expect
to produce a building as designed, unless he be permitted to
personally superintend the construction of the work.
The above I give as my delibrete opinion, after an experience of thirty years in the construction of buildings. Three years of which was at the old State House under the superintendence of both Mr. Edgerton and the Architect Mr. Young.
__________________________________________________________ The forgoing ought in my opinion to be proper authority and used as truth before is used the testimony of such architects as Powers in his time of commotion would be likely to fall in with.
Hoping to hear from you soon I am yours trulyThomas W. silloway
121 Court St
References in this letter:
Joseph R. Richards was the architect who replaced Thomas W. Silloway in early 1858, when Silloway resigned from the position.
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.
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.
Lebbeus Edgarton, (1773-1846), was Lieutenant Governor when he was appointed superintendent of construction of the project in 1830's to build a State House in Montpelier, Vermont.
Ammi Young, (1799-1874) was the architect of the State House which was destroyed in 1857 by fire. He may have recommended Thomas W. Silloway for the reconstruction project.
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.