Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
Grant Wilson, John Fiske and Stanley L. Klos. Six volumes, New York: D. Appleton
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FLETCHER, Asaph, physician, born in Westford, Massachusetts, 28 June 1746; died in Cavendish, Vermont, 5 January 1839. He was elected in 1780 to the convention that formed the constitution of Massachusetts, and labored earnestly to introduce into that instrument the principle of absolute freedom of worship. ]n 1787 he removed to Cavendish, Vermont, where he soon became prominent. He was a member of the Vermont convention that applied to congress for admission of that state into the Union, and also of a subsequent convention for revising the state constitution. Here, as in Massachusetts, he ably advocated the principles of religious liberty; he was one of the presidential electors that made James Monroe president of the United States.
His son, Richard Fletcher, lawyer, born in Cavendish, Vermont, 8 January 1788; died in Boston, Massachusetts, 21 June 1869, was graduated from Dartmouth College in 1806, and, having studied law with Daniel Webster, was admitted to the bar in 1809. He practiced in Salisbury, New Hampshire, till 1819, and then removed to Boston, Massachusetts, where he spent the remainder of his life. He was distinguished in commercial and maritime law, and particularly in the law of marine insurance. He was a member of the legislature, and in 1836 was elected to congress as a Whig, defeating Charles Sumner, and serving one term. In 1848 he was appointed judge of the Massachusetts Supreme Court, which office he held until his resignation in 1853. He then resumed his practice, but retired in 1858. He was a trustee of Brown in 1848'57, and for a short time was an overseer of Harvard. Brown conferred the degree of LL.D. on him in 1839, by Dartmouth in 1846, and by Harvard in 1849. Judge Fletcher was never married. He was active in all benevolent enterprises, and bequeathed more than $100,000 to Dartmouth. He published a speech to his constituents, delivered in Faneuil Hall (Boston, 1837). Another son, Horace, clergyman, born in Cavendish, Vermont, 28 October 1796; died 27 November 1871, studied law, was admitted to the bar, and continued in the practice of his profession for fifteen years. He then abandoned it, and was ordained pastor of the Baptist Church in Townshend, Vermont, where he remained until his death. He was one of the most useful and respected ministers in his native state. He was chosen state senator in 1855. In 1860, Madison University conferred upon him the degree of D. D.
Another son Ryland Fletcher, governor of Vermont, born in Cavendish, Vermont, 18 February 1799; died in Proctorsville, Vermont, 19 December 1885, studied in the Norwich military academy, and became a farmer. He was active as an antislavery agitator, was chosen to the state senate, and lieutenant governor of Vermont from 1854 till 1856, when the Free-soil party, serving until 1858, elected him governor of the state. From 1861 till 1864 he was a representative in the legislature. In 1864 he was a presidential elector on the Republican ticket.
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