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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SAWYER, Philetus, senator, born in Whiting, Vermont, 22 September, 1816. When he was a year old his father, who was a farmer and blacksmith, removed to Essex county, New York, where the son's youth was spent in manual labor and in attending the common schools at intervals. At seventeen years of age, by all arrangement with his father, he became the master of his own time, and in 1847, when he had saved about $2,000, he removed to Wisconsin. After two years of farming he went to Algoma (now part of Oshkosh) and engaged in the lumber business, in which he was very successful and won a reputation for integrity. He was chosen to the legislature in 1857 and 1861, served as mayor of Oshkosh in 1863-'4, and was a delegate to the Loyalists' convention of 1866. He was chosen to congress as a Republican in 1864, and served by successive re-elections from 1865 till 1875, declining a renomination. In 1881 he was elected United States senator, and he was re-elected in 1887. He has been a delegate to the National Republican conventions of 1864, 1876, and 1880. In the lower house of congress Mr. Sawyer served for some time as chairman of the committee on the Pacific railroad, and as a member of the committees on commerce, manufactures, and invalid pensions. Both there and in the senate he has been known as a valuable working member, but he seldom takes the floor. He has given 812,000 toward a building for the Young men's Christian association in Oshkosh, and contributed literally to other religious, benevolent, and educational enterprises.
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