Letter from THOMAS WILLIAM SILLOWAY to GEORGE PERKINS MARSH, dated November 5, 1858.
Mr. Marsh. The committee have held many meetings, and give me good hearings, but Powers has employed so much time at cross questioning,
carefully noting down all with such minuteness that up to now I have but just closed
my direct testimony. The committee put Powers on, then myself, next, Mr. Nash, next
Perkins, who built the chimney finaly Gunnison, who has just
come to the cross questioning by Powers. The committee sent for Judge Porter. He came to day and is to go on tonight. I had a talk with
him an hour and informed him in regard to your idea of the ten or twelve feet at the
shed. He so understood it, and I see no harm of putting the bank back as proposed
the Judge appears to stand firm where he did, but will not in all probability do much by way of making actual trouble in the movement.
How the thing will end we cannot judge yet. The committee to be in
my favor and I am inclined to think they are so. The Montpelier people hold back
some or at least I think they fear agitation. I am active up to Now. Bradley and Merrill are still at work.
Them members of the house appear to be in my favor. I know of few if any who would
say a word to
thwart my purposes.
My All depends on this action. I am out of pocket much more than I was the day I
first saw Vermont, My time is all lost, and more than that I am involved by the
employment of counsel. The matter ends not there I am worse off in reputation than
had I never seen or been known in the affair. My reputation depended on that
building and I did my best, at the start, and all through the trouble speaking
boldly at the proper time, and doing as properly as I could. . The evils are too many and too great to be
permitted to bear me down. An adverse report from that committee would be worse than
a defeat, for how I could extricate myself I know not. I thank you
for all you have done to aid me and hope to merit a continuance of your favor.
The House has adjourned tonight over to Teusday. So we can have no more hearings till Teusday night if we can then.
I am yours trulyThomas W. Silloway
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.
Gunnison was the master carpenter of the rebuilding project between 1857 and 1860.
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.
J. Dorr Bradley (1803-1862), a Brattleboro attorney, served in the Vermont House of Representatives from 1856 to 1857. He represented Silloway in his battle with Superintendent Powers.
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.