Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
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CHITTENDEN, Thomas, first governor of Vermont, born in East Guilford, Connecticut, 6 January, 1730; died in Williston, Vermont, 24 August, 1797. He removed to Salisbury at the age of twenty, and was many years representative, and justice of the peace, but in May, 1774, immigrated to the New Hampshire grants, as Vermont was then called, and settled at Williston, on Onion river. During the controversy with New York, and the war of the revolution, he was assiduously engaged in the councils of his state, to which he rendered great service. He was a member of the convention which, 16 January, 1777, declared Vermont an independent state; and was appointed one of the committee to communicate to congress the proceedings of the inhabitants, and to solicit admission into the Union. He was a member of the convention at Windsor, 2 July, 177.7, which framed the first constitution of Vermont; and president of the council of safety, which was vested with all the powers of govern-merit. Under the constitution established in 1778, he was elected governor of the state, and, with the exception of one year, filled that office until his death. In the difficult position in which Governor Chittenden was placed, contending for independence on the one hand, and unacknowledged by congress as a state, in consequence of the claims of New York upon the other, a profound policy was requisite. To prevent invasion, hopes were held out to the British of a return to its allegiance to the king, while the possibility of her deserting the American cause operated, in congress, to prevent her being required to submit to the claims of New York. A memoir of him, with a history of the constitution of Vermont during his administration, was published by Daniel Chipman (1849). --His son, Martin, governor of Vermont, born in Salisbury, Connecticut, 12 March, 1769; died in Williston, Vermont, 5 September, 1841, was graduated at Dartmouth in 1789. In May, 1776, the family removed to Willis-ton, Vermont, but during the same year took up their abode in the southern part of the state, where they remained until the close of the war. Owing to feeble health, he devoted himself to agriculture, of which he was exceedingly fond, at Jericho, in Chittenden County He was a member of the convention that adopted the United States constitution; was in 1790 elected county clerk and representative, to which station he was re-elected for six successive years, and also at occasional subsequent intervals. He was judge of the county court in 1793-'5; chief judge in 1796-1803; and was a member of congress from 1803 till 1813, and judge of probate in 1821-'2. At the age of thirty-three he had attained the rank of major general of militia. He was governor of Vermont in 1813 and 1814, and during the war with England refused to comply with the requisition of General Macomb for the state militia. This act was severely commented upon, and prevented his re-election.
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