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Silas H. Hodges (January 12, 1804 – April 21, 1875) was a Vermont attorney, clergyman and politician who served as State Auditor and Commissioner of the U.S. Patent Office.


Silas Henry Hodges was born in Clarendon, Vermont and was educated at Brandon Academy. He graduated from Middlebury College in 1821, studied law in Rutland, Vermont attained admission to the bar, and practiced in Rutland until 1832.[1][2]

Hodges began study at Auburn Theological Seminary in 1833 and received his ordination as a minister in the Congregational church in 1835. He was pastor of several churches in southern Vermont until 1841, after which he resumed practicing law in Rutland.[3]

From 1840 to 1860 Hodges served on the Middlebury College Board of Trustees.[4]

In 1845 Hodges was elected State Auditor, serving until 1850.[5]

From 1852 to 1853 Hodges served as United States Commissioner of Patents.[6]

In 1861 Hodges was named Chief Examiner at the U.S. Patent Office, a position he held until his death.[7]

In 1865 Hodges testified during the trial of the Lincoln Assassination conspirators, giving evidence supporting Marcus P. Norton's reputation for veracity. Norton had testified that in March, 1865 a man he later recognized as Samuel Mudd had burst into his room at the National Hotel. Norton claimed the man apologized, saying that he thought the room belonged to a man named Booth. John Wilkes Booth had actually rented the room directly above Norton's. A pre-assassination connection, if proved, would undercut Mudd's claim not to have known who Booth was when he set Booth's broken leg after Booth shot Lincoln.[8]

Hodges died in Washington, D.C., and he was buried in Rutland's Evergreen Cemetery.[9]


  1. ^ Catalogue of Officers and Students of Middlebury College, published by Middlebury College, 1901, page 67
  2. ^ The Vermont Historical Gazetteer, edited by Abby Maria Hemenway, Volume 3, 1877, pages 566 to 567
  3. ^ General Biographical Catalogue of Auburn Theological Seminary, 1818-1918, published by Auburn Theological Seminary, 1918, page 51
  4. ^ Catalogue of the Officers and Alumni of Middlebury College, published by the college, 1890, page 51
  5. ^ Minutes of the Seventy-sixth Annual Meeting of the Congregational Convention of Vermont, published by the convention, 1875, pages 44 to 45
  6. ^ Journal of the Patent Office Society, published by U.S. Patent Office Society, Volume 2, Number 1 (September, 1919), page 67
  7. ^ Appleton's Cyclopaedia of American Biography, edited by James Grant Wilson and John Fiske, Volume 3, 1887, page 224
  8. ^ The Assassination of President Lincoln and the Trial of the Conspirators, compiled by Benn Pittman, Recorder, Military Commission for the trial of the conspirators, 1865, page 221
  9. ^ Herringshaw's National Library of American Biography, edited and compiled by Thomas William Herringshaw, Volume 3, 1914, page 180
Political offices
Preceded by
David Pierce
Vermont Auditor of Accounts
Succeeded by
Frederick E. Woodbridge