FLETCHER, TRUMAN CHITTENDEN, son of Colonel Frederick and Beulah
(Chittenden) Fletcher, was born in Underhill, Vermont, October 27, 1845.
The subject of this sketch was named for his maternal grandfather, Truman
Chittenden, worthy son of that most distinguished man, Thomas Chittenden,
aptly styled the George Washington of Vermont, who for so many years piloted
the destinies of the little commonwealth and was its first governor. Hon.
Thomas Chittenden was for many years a noted citizen of Vermont and the
family name is illustrious in the later annals of state and nation. Colonel
Frederick Fletcher was a man of executive and financial genius, a gentleman
of the old school, and at the time of his death, January 12, 1898, at the
age of ninety-three, was the oldest, with one exception, and probably the
wealthiest and most prominent citizen of St. Johnsbury. He was born November
21, 1804, at Woodstock, Vermont, the youngest of a family of ten children.
His life covered nearly all of the nineteenth century, the most remarkable
period in the world's history.
He saw the militia marching to the defense of Plattsburg in the
War of 1812, and heard President Monroe deliver an address in Woodstock
in 1817. With a common school education he entered the mercantile business
at Underhill, Vermont, in company with his elder brother, Thaddeus, whose
daughter was the donor of the Mary Fletcher hospital and Fletcher library
at Burlington. Their business became very extensive, and in 1842 the firm
was dissolved, and Colonel Fletcher retired to Burlington with an ample
fortune. Here he was successfully engaged in the real estate business,
and in banking, being for twenty years president of the Farmers' and Mechanics'
bank of that city. Removing to St. Johnsbury in 1869,
he organized the Merchants' National bank, of which he was president twelve
years. Colonel Fletcher entered the Vermont militia in 1826 as chaplain,
and passed through the various grades up to the colonelcy of the Eighth
regiment, from which he retired in 1850. He was a prominent figure in the
state militia, and the first man in Vermont to add the now familiar brass
band to the gala occasion of the regimental muster or parade. Colonel Fletcher
cast his first presidential vote for John Quincy Adams in 1828, and voted
in every subsequent presidential election, joining the Republican party
in 1856. He represented Underhill in the legislature in 1843, '44, and
'45, and Shelburne in 1861-'62. He owned for many years a fine landed estate
at Shelburne, adjacent to the estate of Colonel W. Seward Webb, now owned
by Colonel Truman C. Fletcher. Three children were born to Frederick Fletcher,
of whom Colonel Truman C. Fletcher is the only survivor.
Truman C. was educated in the Williston, Vermont, and St. Lawrence
(Pottsdam, New York) academies. He was engaged in mercantile business many
years in the Fairbanks store on Main street, St. Johnsbury, until he retired
in 1886, and has since devoted his attention to the care of his numerous
investments and the discharge of the many public functions which he has
been called to perform. He has been director in the Merchants National
bank and vice president of the Passumpsic Savings bank, and is president
of the St. Johnsbury Electric company.
Colonel Fletcher has served as village trustee, and held various
town offices. He represented St. Johnsbury in the legislature in 1886,
and served as chairman of the committee on claims. He was an aide-de-camp
on the staff of Governor John W. Stewart. He was a delegate to the national
Republican convention in Chicago in 1884, serving as secretary of the delegation
and as one of the secretaries of the convention, and was a presidential
elector from Vermont in 1900. He was four years a member of the state board
of railroad commissioners. He has taken unusual interest in the cause of
education, and for twenty-one years has been a school director of St. Johnsbury
and for several years chairman.
Colonel Fletcher is a Knight Templar, a member of the Sons of the
American Revolution, and also of the Society of Colonial Wars, and other
social organizations. He possesses the genial affability of manner and
easy dignity of bearing so characteristic of his father, and the ability
and character which is his birthright from a distinguished ancestry.
Colonel Fletcher married, in 1868, Katherine, daughter of E. F.
Brown of St. Johnsbury, who died in 1890, leaving three sons, Carl Fletcher,
editor of the Swanton Courier; Hugh P., who died in 1897, and Philip A.,
who is bookkeeper for the St. Johnsbury Electric company. He married, in
1901, Belle F. Small, then principal of the Union schools of St. Johnsbury,
and a lady of fine social and intellectual gifts and moral worth.
Successful Vermonters, William H. Jeffrey, E. Burke, Vermont, The Historical
Publishing Company, 1904, page 91-93..
by Tom Dunn, April 30, 2005