1854 Vermont gubernatorial election

The 1854 Vermont gubernatorial election for governor of Vermont took place on September 5.[1] The Whig nominee was Stephen Royce, former Chief Justice of the Vermont Supreme Court.[2] The Democratic nominee was Merritt Clark,[3] and Lawrence Brainerd ran as the nominee of the Free Soil Party[4] even as he was one of the organizers of the new anti-slavery Republican Party[5] and appeared as a Whig candidate for the Vermont Senate on the ballot in Franklin County.[6] Whig William C. Kittredge was nominated for governor against his wishes by advocates of the Temperance movement[7] and Democrat Horatio Needham also attracted the support of some Free Soil advocates.[4]

1854 Vermont gubernatorial election

← 1853 September 5, 1854 (1854-09-05) 1855 →
  Stephen Royce.jpg Lawrence Brainerd.jpg
Nominee Stephen Royce Merritt Clark Lawrence Brainerd
Party Whig Democratic Free Soil
Popular vote 27,926 15,084 619
Percentage 62.6% 33.8% 1.4%

Governor before election

John S. Robinson

Elected Governor

Stephen Royce

With the Whig Party splintering nationally over the slavery issue, the Republican Party was formed as the main abolitionist party, and Royce was endorsed by the new organization.[8] In the September voting, Free Soil advocates, Republicans, and anti-slavery Whigs largely backed Royce, who was easily elected with 62.6 percent to 33.9 for Clark and 1.4 for Brainerd.[9] Kittredge, Needham, William R. Shafter, and other write-in candidates all received less than one percent each.[9] Royce took the oath of office and began a one-year term on October 12.[10]

General electionEdit


1854 Vermont gubernatorial election[9]
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Whig Stephen Royce 27,926 62.6%
Democratic Merritt Clark 15,084 33.8%
Free Soil Lawrence Brainerd 619 1.4%
Free Soil Horatio Needham 302 0.7%
Whig William C. Kittredge 293 0.7%
William R. Shafter 255 0.5%
Write-in Other 135 0.3%
Total votes '44,614' '100'


  1. ^ Walton, Eliakim Persons, ed. (September 1, 1854). "Election September 5". Vermont Watchman & State Journal. Montpelier, VT. p. 2 – via Newspapers.com.
  2. ^ "Whig State Ticket: For Governor, Stephen Royce of Berkshire". The Brattleboro Eagle. Brattleboro, VT. September 1, 1854. p. 2 – via Newspapers.com.
  3. ^ "Nominations of the Democratic State Convention". The Burlington Weekly Sentinel. Burlington, VT. June 22, 1854. p. 2 – via Newspapers.com.
  4. ^ a b Armstrong, Howard E. (1955). Vermont Legislative Directory and State Manual. Montpelier, VT: Vermont Secretary of State. p. 273 – via Google Books.
  5. ^ Walton, E. P. Jr., ed. (August 11, 1854). "State Ticket --- All Right!". Vermont Watchman & State Journal. Montpelier, VT. p. 2 – via Newspapers.com.
  6. ^ "Franklin County Convention". St. Albans Messenger. St. Albans, VT. July 20, 1854. p. 2 – via Newspapers.com.
  7. ^ "A Rebuke". Vermont Journal. Windsor, VT. September 8, 1854. p. 2 – via Newspapers.com.
  8. ^ Thompson, Daniel P., ed. (August 17, 1854). "Republican State Ticket: For Governor, Stephen Royce". The Freeman. Montpelier, VT. p. 2 – via Newspapers.com.
  9. ^ a b c Vermont House of Representatives (1855). Journal of the House of Representatives of the State of Vermont. Montpelier, VT: E. P. Walton, Jr. p. 484 – via Google Books.
  10. ^ "Editorial Correspondence No. 1". The Burlington Free Press. Burlington, VT. October 14, 1854. p. 2 – via Newspapers.com.