Governors’ Inaugural and Farewell Addresses
As early as 1820, and with growing frequency during the 1840s and 1850s, Vermont Governors addressed the issue of slavery in their executive speeches and inaugural addresses. Transcripts of these speeches can be read online.
Governor Erastus Fairbanks records, 1822-1862
Erastus Fairbanks was Vermont’s Governor during the outbreak of the war. This series consists of the Governor’s correspondence, telegrams and petitions which primarily concern the Civil War. These records are part of the Manuscript Vermont State Papers and can be found in record series SE-118 at the State Archives and Records Administration. An item-level index to the correspondence is available here.
Governor Frederick Holbrook records, 1861–1863
Frederick Holbrook served as Vermont’s Governor from 1861 to 1863. His records consist of a ledger containing Civil War expenditures and a portrait of the governor. In addition, there are four items of correspondence in the Manuscript Vermont State Papers, record series SE-118. These records are available for research at the State Archives and Records Administration.
Governor John Gregory Smith records, 1863–1865
John Gregory Smith was Governor from 1863 to 1865. His records consist of a ledger listing war expenses. Some correspondence also may be found in the Manuscript Vermont State Papers. These records are available for research at the State Archives and Records Administration.
Vermont Governors’ executive records, 1791–1977
In addition to the correspondence and other records listed above, the executive records of Governors Fairbanks, Holbrook, and Smith also are available for research. These records contain appointments, executive orders, pardons, and proclamations, some of which relate to the Civil War, and are available at the State Archives and Records Administration.
“All partizan differences are ignored and lost in the higher principle of patriotism. In this patriotic enthusiasm, Vermont eminently participates. Her citizens, always loyal to the Union, will, in this hour of peril, nobly rally for the protection of the Government and the Constitution.”
– Governor Erastus Fairbanks, Speech to the General Assembly, April 24, 1861