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Orsamus Cook Merrill

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Orsamus Cook Merrill
Member of the
United States House of Representatives
from Vermont's 1st district
In office
March 4, 1817 – January 12, 1820
Preceded byDaniel Chipman
Succeeded byRollin Carolas Mallary
Member of the Vermont House of Representatives
In office
Personal details
Born(1775-06-18)June 18, 1775
Farmington, Connecticut, U.S.
DiedApril 12, 1865(1865-04-12) (aged 89)
Bennington, Vermont, U.S.
Political partyDemocratic-Republican Party[1]
ProfessionPolitician, Lawyer, Judge

Orsamus Cook Merrill (June 18, 1775 – April 12, 1865) was a U.S. Representative from Vermont.

Early life

Merrill was born in Farmington, Connecticut to James and Jerusha Seymour Merrill. He completed his preparatory studies in Farmington, and moved to Bennington, Vermont in 1791 where he was an apprentice to a printer.[3] He was an editor or publisher of several newspapers, including the "Vermont Gazette" and the "Tablet of the Times" in Bennington, and the "Berkshire Gazette" in Pittsfield, Massachusetts.[4]

He later studied law, was admitted to the bar in 1805, and practiced in Bennington.[5]

From 1809 to 1812 he was Postmaster of Bennington.[6]

In the early 1800s he also served as Engrossing Clerk of the Vermont House of Representatives.[7]

War of 1812

He served in upstate New York and Vermont during the War of 1812 as a Major of the 11th Infantry Regiment, and a Lieutenant Colonel in the 26th Infantry and 11th Infantry.[8]

When Merrill received promotion to lieutenant colonel in the 26th Infantry, his replacement as major in the 11th was Zachary Taylor, who was promoted from captain in the 7th Infantry.[9]

Post-war life

Merrill became Register of Probate for Bennington County in 1815 and served as Clerk of the Courts in 1816.[10]

Merrill was elected as a Democratic-Republican candidate to the Fifteenth Congress, serving from March 4, 1817 until March 3, 1819.[11] He presented credentials as a Member-elect to the Sixteenth Congress and served from March 4, 1819 until January 12, 1820, when he was succeeded by Rollin C. Mallary, who contested his election.[12][13]

Later life

Merrill lost elections for Congress in 1822, 1826, 1827, 1830, 1832, and 1833, evidence that Vermont was trending away from Democrats and towards, in succession, the Anti-Masons, Whigs and Republicans.[14]

In 1822 Merrill served as a delegate to the State constitutional convention.[15]

He served in the Vermont House of Representatives [16] from 1822 to 1823 and 1841 to 1847 he was county Judge of Probate.[17]

He was Bennington County's State's Attorney from 1823 to 1825,[18] a member of the Governor's Council from 1824 until 1827, and a member of the first Vermont State Senate after the body was created in 1836.[19]

In 1839 he ran unsuccessfully for Lieutenant Governor.[20]


Merrill married Mary Robinson on August 18, 1805 and they had three children.[21] Mary Robinson was the daughter of Jonathan Robinson.[22]

O.C. Merrill's brother Timothy served as Vermont Secretary of State from 1831 to 1836. His nephew Farrand F. Merrill (son of Timothy) served as Secretary of State from 1849 to 1853.[23]


Merrill died in Bennington on April 12, 1865, and is interred in the Old Cemetery on Bennington Hill in Bennington, Vermont.[24]


  1. ^ Vermont Secretary of State, Vermont Legislative Directory, 1989, pages 182, 191, 195
  2. ^ "Obituary". The New York Times. Retrieved November 18, 2012.
  3. ^ Vermont Historical Society. Robinson Family. Vermont Historical Society. p. 1.
  4. ^ "Orsamus C. Merrill". Pasley Brothers. Retrieved November 18, 2012.
  5. ^ Isaac Jennings, Memorials of a Century: Embracing a Record of Individuals and Events Chiefly in the Early History of Bennington, Vermont and its First Church, 1869, pages 317-318
  6. ^ United States Post Office Department, United States Official Postal Guide, 1811, page 6
  7. ^ Vermont General Assembly, Journal of the General Assembly of the State of Vermont, 1810, page 17
  8. ^ Dodge, Prentiss Cutler (1912). Encyclopedia, Vermont Biography: A Series of Authentic Biographical Sketches of the Representative Men of Vermont and Sons of Vermont in Other States. 1912. Ullery Publishing Company. p. 69.
  9. ^ E. P. Walton, Records of the Governor and Council of the State of Vermont, Volume VI, 1878, Appendix E, pages 503-504
  10. ^ "MERRILL, Orsamus Cook, (1775 - 1865)". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. Retrieved November 18, 2012.
  11. ^ "Rep. Orsamus Merrill". Retrieved November 18, 2012.
  12. ^ "Merrill, Orsamus Cook (1775-1865)". The Political Graveyard. Retrieved November 18, 2012.
  13. ^ The Political Register and Congressional Directory: A Statistical Record of the Federal Officials, Legislative, Executive, and Judicial, of the United States of America, 1776-1878. Houghton, Osgood. 1878. p. 521.
  14. ^ Vermont Archives and Records Administration, General Election results, U.S. Representatives, 1822-1830
  15. ^ E. P. Walton, Records of the Governor and Council of the State of Vermont, Volume VII, 1879, page 109
  16. ^ E. P. Walton, Records of the Governor and Council of the State of Vermont, Volume VII, 1879, page 255
  17. ^ Vermont General Assembly, Journal of the Senate of the State of Vermont, 1842, Appendix, page 7
  18. ^ "Obituary". The New York Times. Retrieved November 18, 2012.
  19. ^ Vermont General Assembly, Journal of the Senate of the State of Vermont, 1836, page 30
  20. ^ Niles' National Register, States of the Union: Vermont, October 26, 1839, page 134
  21. ^ Vermont Historical Society. Robinson Family. Vermont Historical Society. p. 1.
  22. ^ Isaac Jennings, Memorials of a Century: Embracing a Record of Individuals and Events Chiefly in the Early History of Bennington, Vermont and its First Church, 1869, pages 248, 317-318
  23. ^ Abby Maria Hemenway, editor, The Vermont Historical Gazetteer: The History of Washington County, 1882, pages 437-438
  24. ^ "Orsamus Cook Merrill". Find A Grave. Retrieved November 18, 2012.

Further reading

  • "The Disputed Congressional Election of 1818," Vermont History 49 (Summer 1981): 159-68.

External links

U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by
Daniel Chipman
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Vermont's at-large congressional district

Succeeded by
Rollin C. Mallary
This page was last edited on 14 May 2019, at 14:34
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