Letter from THOMAS WILLIAM SILLOWAY to GEORGE PERKINS MARSH, dated December 1, 1858.
Dear Sir your letter of the 29th. came to hand this A.M. It was gladly received for
I felt anxious to know that you had heard from me. I wanted you to know how things
were going as I you would wish for the information Powers went down to Woodstock on Saturday last to stay till Friday next.
He was very busy in informing all about him that the committee was
cc. I came down in the same train and was at times near him. He is and
cannot rise again. All the men are discharged and the work stopped. I am keeping
Mr. Gunnison along for the present so that we may have
him if we desire. I had heard nothing from M. since I left till yesterday when
Merrill wrote to me saying
that an agitation existed in regard to the Mont. people fixing the house for the next session. He says they regret that Tom is not out of the way c. Merrill asks me for an estimate for getting the thing ready doing it well as far as we go of course but leaving undone all we reasonably can. I had written him but not sent the letter. The estimate was not completed I informed him that Tom must be removed before we do a thing. The Gov. has the best of reasons now for clearing him out. My committee's report make it in a degree imperative. They had an act in for the appointment of 3 commissioners one of whom should be an architect. Said commissioners to supersede the Supt. cc. Had time permitted, and an appropriation been made the act would have gone through by a big majority. I think if the Gov is informed that
it is the desire and intention of Mont. people to put the house in order, that they fear to put Tom in to work for them and ask him for the commission that my committee advised, he will not dare refuse their request. If I have anything to do with the thing I want my proper place. You must be at the head of the board. I have proposed that Mr. Sears of Bennington one of my committee be the third man. He is a man 50 years old, a practical master builder a valuable man for us to work with. His experience will be of much service. I think to work him in will aid the Gov. And that it would help the Mont. people amazingly. I spoke to Sears & he would like the place . He was the Rep. this year from Ben. My idea is the Mont. people must go on with the work. They know it and dare not start without yours approval. Merrill told me you would
be consulted by them. They are desirous of doing the best thing they can. I have heard it suggested that Roderick Richardson of Mont. would be a good man to have charge of the work cc. He has had the charge of building the school house in M. He must be kept out and in fact any and every Mont. Man. They need to be clear of responsibility if they would be free next fall. I know not that speak of Richardson. It may be talk. If anything is done it must be done . No time can we lose. A world of work has been done when we have obtained the report of my committee. Get Tom out of the way and we could soon get well under way. My work here opens good and I have a good prospect for the year but will sacrifice for them if they will avail themselves of my good intentions. I we shall hear from them soon
Yours trulyThomas W. Silloway121 Court St.
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.
F. F. Merrill was a Montpelier lawyer who represented Silloway in his proceedings against Superintendent Powers.
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.
Benjamin R. Sears (1807-1887) served in the Vermont House of Representatives during the 1858 session.
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.
Publication Information A
machine readable version of a letter from THOMAS WILLIAM SILLOWAY to
GEORGE PERKINS MARSH, dated December 1, 1858, electronically
published by The University of Vermont. It was electronically published with funding
by The Woodstock Foundation, Woodstock, Vermont, as part of a project managed by
Elizabeth H. Dow, with Ellen Mazur Thomson as the Project Archivist, and a generous
donation of time and expertise by Ralph H. Orth, Professor Emeritus at the
University of Vermont, as transcriber and consultant. Ralph H. Orth and Ellen
Thomson transcribed the text and Ellen Thomson encoded it,
using the Model Editions Partnership SGML tag set through a program developed for
the project by James P. Tranowski. This document, file twsgpm581201, is copyrighted
by the University.
The original document, the from THOMAS WILLIAM SILLOWAY to GEORGE PERKINS MARSH, written in is located at the University of Vermont's Special Collections in the George Perkins Marsh Collection, filed by date. Access to the original document is restricted.