Paul Dillingham

Paul Dillingham Jr. (August 10, 1799 – July 26, 1891) was an American lawyer and politician. He served as a U.S. Representative from Vermont, the 24th lieutenant governor of Vermont from 1862 to 1865, and the 29th governor of Vermont from 1865 to 1867.

Paul Dillingham Jr.
Paul Dillingham.jpg
29th Governor of Vermont
In office
October 13, 1865 – October 13, 1867
LieutenantAbraham B. Gardner
Preceded byJ. Gregory Smith
Succeeded byJohn B. Page
24th Lieutenant Governor of Vermont
In office
GovernorJ. Gregory Smith
Preceded byLevi Underwood
Succeeded byAbraham B. Gardner
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Vermont's 4th district
In office
March 4, 1843 – March 3, 1847
Preceded byAugustus Young
Succeeded byLucius B. Peck
Member of the Vermont Senate from Washington County
In office
Serving with Charles W. Willard
Preceded byCalvin Fullerton, Charles W. Willard
Succeeded byRoderick Richardson, Addison Peck, Philander D. Bradford
In office
Serving with Nathaniel Eaton (1841), Wooster Sprague (1842)
Preceded byLeonard Keith, Leander Warren, Isaac T. Davis
Succeeded byWooster Sprague, Jacob Scott
Member of the Vermont House of Representatives from Waterbury
In office
Preceded byThaddeus Clough
Succeeded byWilliam W. Wells
In office
Preceded byAmasa Pride
Succeeded byNone (no selection in 1835)
State's Attorney of Washington County, Vermont
In office
Preceded byAzel Spaulding
Succeeded byHomer W. Heaton
Personal details
Born(1799-08-10)August 10, 1799
Shutesbury, Massachusetts
DiedJuly 26, 1891(1891-07-26) (aged 91)
Waterbury, Vermont
Resting placeVillage Cemetery,
Waterbury, Vermont
Political partyDemocratic (before 1860)
Republican (from 1860)
Spouse(s)Sarah Partridge Carpenter Dillingham
Julia Carpenter Dillingham
RelationsMatthew H. Carpenter (son in law)
Children7, including William Paul Dillingham

Early lifeEdit

Dillingham was born in Shutesbury, Massachusetts, on August 10, 1799, a son of Paul Dillingham Sr. and Hannah (Smith) Dillingham.[1] The Dillingham family moved to Waterbury, Vermont in 1805, where Dillingham worked on the family farm and attended the district school in Waterbury and Montpelier's Washington County Grammar School.[1] In 1820, he commenced studying law in the office of Judge Daniel Carpenter.[1] He was admitted to the bar in March 1823, and in April he began to practice in Waterbury as Carpenter's partner.[1] He gained a reputation throughout Vermont as a skilled trial lawyer with a superior ability to present oral arguments to judges and juries.[1]

Early careerEdit

Entering politics as a Democrat, Dillingham served as a Waterbury justice of the peace from 1826 to 1844, and town clerk from 1829 to 1844.[1] He served as Waterbury's member of the Vermont House of Representatives from 1833 to 1835, as State's Attorney of Washington County from 1835 to 1839, and again as Waterbury's member of the Vermont House from 1837 to 1840.[1] Dillingham served as a delegate to the State constitutional convention of 1836, and a member of the Vermont State Senate in 1841 and 1842.[1]


Dillingham in an 1866 Harper's Weekly illustration when he was governor.

Dillingham was elected as a to the Twenty-eighth and Twenty-ninth Congresses (March 4, 1843 – March 3, 1847).[1] He was not a candidate for renomination in 1846.[1] During Dillingham's House service, he served on the Judiciary Committee and the Committee on Claims.[1] The only Democrat in Vermont's Congressional delegation, he favored the annexation of Texas and supported US involvement in the Mexican-American War.[1]

Dillingham was a delegate to the 1857 State constitutional convention.[2] In 1861, Dillingham served again in the Vermont Senate.[1]

Lieutenant governorEdit

Increasingly opposed to slavery and secession, Dillingham declined the Democratic Party's 1860 nomination for governor.[2] When the American Civil War started, he officially changed his allegiance from Democratic to Republican.[1] He served as the lieutenant governor from 1862 to 1865.[1] Holding office at the height of the war, Dillingham's efforts were focused on aiding governors Frederick Holbrook and J. Gregory Smith to obtain passage of laws for raising, paying, and equipping soldiers for the Union Army.[1] In addition, he campaigned throughout Vermont for the Republican (Unionist) ticket of Abraham Lincoln and Andrew Johnson in the 1864 United States presidential election.[1]


Dillingham served as the 29th governor of Vermont from 1865 to 1867.[1] As governor, he created Vermont's first reform school and established Vermont's first normal school for teacher training (now Vermont Technical College).[1] It also fell to Dillingham to appoint two members of the U.S. Senate to replace senators who had died.[1] To succeed Jacob Collamer, Dillingham selected Luke P. Poland.[1] To replace Solomon Foot, Dillingham first offered the appointment to former governor J. Gregory Smith.[1] When Smith declined, Dillingham selected George F. Edmunds.[1]

Later lifeEdit

He resumed the practice of law, and was a delegate to the State constitutional convention in 1870.[2] He retired in 1875.[2]

Death and burialEdit

Dillingham died at his home in Waterbury on July 26, 1891.[1] He is interred in the Village Cemetery in Waterbury.[3]


He married Sarah Partridge Carpenter, a daughter of Daniel Carpenter.[1] She died on September 20, 1831, and on September 5, 1832, Dillingham married Sarah's sister Julia.[1] He had seven children who lived to adulthood, including William Paul Dillingham, who served as governor and U.S. Senator.[1] Dillingham was also the father in law of Senator Matthew H. Carpenter.[4]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa "Hon. Paul Dillingham: The Venerable Ex-Governor Dead at the Age of Nearly 92 Years". The Cambridge Transcript. Cambridge, VT. August 7, 1891. p. 7 – via
  2. ^ a b c d Duffy, John J.; Hand, Samuel B.; Orth, Ralph H. (2003). The Vermont Encyclopedia. Hanover, NH: University Press of New England. p. 106. ISBN 978-1-58465-086-7.
  3. ^ US House and Senate Historians (2005). Biographical Directory of the United States Congress, 1774-2005. Washington, DC: US Government Printing Office. p. 961. ISBN 978-0-1607-3176-1.
  4. ^ Haubrich, Paul (October 30, 2016). "Class of 1857: Matthew Hale Carpenter". Milwaukee Independent. Milwaukee, WI.

External linksEdit

Party political offices
Preceded by
Nathan Smilie
Democratic nominee for Governor of Vermont
Succeeded by
Nathan Smilie
Preceded by Democratic nominee for Governor of Vermont
1847, 1848
Succeeded by
Jonas Clark
Preceded by Republican nominee for Governor of Vermont
1865, 1866
Succeeded by
U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Vermont's 4th congressional district

Succeeded by
Political offices
Preceded by Lieutenant Governor of Vermont
Succeeded by
Preceded by Governor of Vermont
Succeeded by

  This article incorporates public domain material from the Biographical Directory of the United States Congress.