Letter from THOMAS WILLIAM SILLOWAY to GEORGE PERKINS MARSH, dated August 23, 1858.
My Friend Marsh, your letter of the 20th. inspired me with new confidence in your
and . Providentialy, I had prepared
and sent to you a large drawing with figures explanations amp;c. for the dome curve.
I feel much agrieved, that I should be under the necessity of doing as I do with my
own work. I hope the drawing will aid you tomorrow. I am exceedingly glad I made it
and sent it so timely. For it will I think tend to arrest their botchings. They are
of course all ready to declare that such was their intentions but I am
fully posted in all things pertaining to that work. Had I not taken the bull by the
horns when I long ere all that curved work would have
been got out and with intense amendments. They were all ready to execute what they
had drawn. Knowing that was about and informed they instantly ran to
to make pretense of desire to do as you wished. No consultation was
there till I forbid their proceeding. I am thankfull they made that big drawing on
the floor it is full proof of their intentions for it is entirely unlike the
original or my section. They had in their possession. I shall now try
and breathe freer and next week Tuesday will go to M. and see what is being done.
They are disposed to injure me but all I want is the thing done
I am armed with facts, and in due time they will get a report. Old things and new will be brought to light. I do hope that the columns will not be pieced. New investigations convince me of the absolute ridiculousness of the proceeding. That granite contains sixty per ct of Felspar, nearly two per ct. of which is water. I gave you a copy of Mr. Nicholson's drawing of St. Paul's dome. I ought to have quoted his words in relation to it and will do it now. "The following are taken from my own actual measurements viz. St. Paul's Cathedral, Islington Church" xxxx "The sides of the dome are segments of circles, the centers of which are marked in the plate, and which if continued would meet at the top and form a pointed arch" These centers of which he speaks are marked 104' the whole dome is not marked but it measures about 234'
Yours trulyT. W. Silloway
I think I informed you that on the same day that I refused to confer with Richards I wrote Powers a letter informing him that I was prepared to demonstrate the truth of all my figures, and to give any and all explanations he desires, also full sized drawings of the dome if he wished them. I have a copy of the letters sent to him and Richards. Both contain the same facts
T. W. S.
References in this letter:
Peter Nicholson. The Carpenter and Joiner's Assistant.... London: J. Taylor, 1797.
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.
Joseph R. Richards was the architect who replaced Thomas W. Silloway in early 1858, when Silloway resigned from the position.
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.