Letter from THOMAS WILLIAM SILLOWAY to GEORGE PERKINS MARSH, dated August 12, 1858.
Marsh, I was at Mont. for nearly the whole of last week as you are aware, and a
number of times met or passed Powers. Some times was with him on the roof of the
building but not a word did I hear in regard to the dome or wrong figures, or in
fact anything pertaining to it, but to - day writes to me saying that you wish to consult c. Of
course I would not entertain the idea of a thing of the kind for I think I see
through the transparency of the thing. I replied that I considered myself as
architect of the building & did not recognize him as possesing any authority
to interfere with my work that if information was need the Superintendent was the
one to ask
for it, that I held myself in rediness at all times to render any service he might require or that the good of the work demanded, that if I was requested so to do I would furnish full sized drawings of the whole dome. I would strike it out full size. The foregoing is in accordance with the line of proceedure we marked out in the article I published. Mr. Merrill advised me to adhere to . I furthermore informed R. that I was credibly informed that he freely circulated the report that I began the work at the State House but broke down and he was appointed in my stead, and if he made further proclamations of the kind I should consider it as a libel and would defend myself. He has of late busied himself in this manner and last week he nearly threw me out of work at Cambridge. A church in that city is to be remodeled and the committee had employed me to make drawings, they were
nearly completed when he went to the chairman of the committee and informed him that being a townsman should have had the work, and that he was surprised that the committee had employed Silloway for he had entirely broken down on his job at Vermont and was not fit to be entrusted with . He made me much trouble at defense, and proves himself anew to be a worthless fellow. If there is any way to aid the work I am desirous of doing it, but I never will descend low enough to engage in work with such a fellow on work my own and already correctly drawn what the result will be I know not. They have tried to amend and to get you to endorse it, but up to now you have defeated them. The whole thing carries on the face of it a stupendous attempt to amend the original. Were it not so why do they trouble you? There are other things they have done without consulting you. The small interior domes over the stair ways they have ruined by that cross rod. The domes must be dispensed with
or the rods cut out. This amendment is as great as the dome (exterior) but not a bit was you consulted. They ment to do it on the sly and unawares get your endorsement, but for my timely visit to M. they would have got you there. All was struck out amp;c. The whole story is here Let Tom Powers do and all will be as it should. The only proper way is for me to go to M. and strike that work out full size. I am out of patience with him to see his miserable trickery, to trouble on this question, and those things you would not readily discover to do as he pleases. My principal consolation comes from the fact that you know him so well you will fight the thing through as you have so far so boldly and manfully done. We must not flinch at all but do this work through. Powers begins to show sines of relenting and may he relent more till he concludes to go to Woodstock and let things alone for which he has no knowledge or affinety. I took clean [...] by your, and Merrill's advice up to this day my hands are clean. I am ready to do my work, and to do it well but will play no second fiddle to either Powers or Richards. Storms are thickening about him and in spite of friends will soon break upon his head. yours very truly T. W. Silloway
References in this letter:
Joseph R. Richards was the architect who replaced Thomas W. Silloway in early 1858, when Silloway resigned from the position.
F. F. Merrill was a Montpelier lawyer who represented Silloway in his proceedings against Superintendent Powers.
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.