Letter from THOMAS WILLIAM SILLOWAY to GEORGE PERKINS MARSH, dated December 22, 1858.
Your letter bearing date the 21st. came to hand yesterday. The contents did not much
surprise me for I have looked for a like issue. Just what they will do, as yet, I
know not. Probably, having the [...] of P. before their eyes
they will bow down and worship. Mr. Merrill of M. appears to
stand up well. A letter from Mr. Gunnison informs me that P.
is about there. That he refuses to go on till $50,000 is raised, that the opinion
there is, (how got I know not) that he be removed by the Gov. A foolish decision. No matter how [...]ish or wrong
he may be, no power to interfere. It is all a sham and a lie. They hate him much,
but fear him . They are getting into hot water very fast. Their best
friends are forsaking them. The Caledonian of the 18th, hits
them a large lick, Windham speaks through Bellows Falls Times
this week. In my opinion just the easiest thing they will do will be
to raise that money. think it hard. The things they will probably buy with it, will be as troublesome a thing as was the elephant to the boy who drew him in a lottery. I had rather raise the money than expend it for such things as they will and have them fixed as part and parcel of the State Capitol. Those low cornices and botched ceilings will be mean enough to say nothing of bad stairs c. The men are already at work putting up the iron stairs. The new ones are according to . Mine was to sweep out at the top some ways into the building towards the front side. They have put a girder straight across and rob the stairs that much, some thing like this
They put the stairs entirely back of this new girders and the consequence is the
whole is jammed and cramped. I am in
a degree yet identified as architect and if anything grossly wrong is done in the end it will be partly laid to me. Just the day I learn that he is at work again with money furnished by them, I shall come out in the paper and declare that I am hence forward not responsible for anything that may be done. This I must do as self defense. I have up to now done my best for them all and it is quite time I said a word for myself. I cannot here refrain from say that from first to last have I considered you as anything but a friend of Mont. They ought to have considered you as one of their best friends, for surely you of all others have befriended them, and they have no reason to even imagine that you have said a word to aid any opponent. I think we all shall be doing best to wait patiently a week or two more. I have an article . -- I know not where, refuting the scandal in Boyce' paper of two weeks ago. Have you seen the paper I refer to? If I am not held in too hard I shall show Tom and his evidence up, and then leave
him to himself. Reports say he is to put out a pamphlet.
The men went up to put in the steam works Friday. Talk was had about the basement. They concluded to stay their hand and use that miserable old shed. Set men to clearing it out. Employed Camp to have the boiler up. Found out the shed was too small. Couldn't build new this year. Abandoned all till next Spring, and are to use stoves. Chimney is therefore temporary. Never used. Cost $1000. I hope to hear from Bradley soon. If anything of importance comes along you shall hear of it.
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.
F. F. Merrill was a Montpelier lawyer who represented Silloway in his proceedings against Superintendent Powers.
Gunnison was the master carpenter of the rebuilding project between 1857 and 1860.
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.
The Caledonian. St. Johnsbury, Vermont: 1837-1867.
Bellows Falls Times. Bellows Falls, Vermontt: A.N. Swain, 1856-1965. Weekly.
Joseph R. Richards was the architect who replaced Thomas W. Silloway in early 1858, when Silloway resigned from the position.
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.
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.