Home > Uncategorized > Gov. John Mattocks: National Cyclopedia of American Biography

Gov. John Mattocks: National Cyclopedia of American Biography

Source: National Cyclopedia of American Biography (New York: James T. White and Company), 8[1898]:318-19.

MATTOCKS, John, seventeenth governor of Vermont (1843-44), was born at Hartford, Conn., March 4, 1777. He was a son of Capt. John Mattocks of the revolutionary army, who in 1778 removed from Hartford to Tinmouth, Vt., where he engaged in agricultural pursuits. At the age of fifteen, young Mattocks went to live with a married sister at Middlebury, and there began the study of law in the office of Samuel Miller and, completing his course under Judge Bates Turner at Fairfield, was admitted to the bar in February, 1797. He began the practice of his profession at Danville, but two or three years later he removed to Peacham, where he spent most of the remainder of his life. He inherited much of the ability of his father, who represented Tinmouth in the Vermont legislature four years, was judge and chief justice of the Rutland county court for five years and was state treasurer from 1786 to 1800. The future governor represented Peacham in the state legislature five years (1807, 1815, 1816, 1823, 1824), was a delegate to the constitutional convention in 1836, and was elected to congress in 1820, 1824 and 1840. He was a zealous Whig from the formation of the party until his death. In 1833 he was chosen a judge of the supreme court, but the next year resumed his professional practice, to which he devoted himself until 1843, when he was nominated for governor, the opposing candidates being Judge Daniel Kellogg and Charles K. Williams. In 1806 he was one of the directors of the Vermont State Bank, and in 1812 a brigadier general of the state militia. One of his most powerful speeches was made in congress on the presentation of the petition for the abolition of slavery in the district of Columbia. He had a deeply religious nature and he was a member of the Congregational church at Peacham for many years. He retired from public life at the close of his governorship, on account of the death of his wife, to whom he was devotedly attached. He was married, Sept. 4, 1810, to Esther Newell of Peacham. She died July 21, 1844. By her he had three sons and three daughters, two of whom died in infancy. One of his sons gained eminence as a clergyman, one as an attorney and one as a physician. Gov. Mattocks died at Peacham, Aug. 14, 1847.

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