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Sandford Gadcomb Papers

Identifier: mss-977

The Collection

The Sanford Gadcomb Papers are composed mainly of political sketches and observations on state and national affairs for the years 1811-1819. Gadcomb, a Republican, wrote pieces for Vermont newspapers vilifying the Federalist opponents of the War of 1812, as well as opinions supporting Vermont Republican candidates for election after the war. Included here are Gadcomb’s views on Governor Martin Chittenden’s Federalist opposition to the Republican war, the actions of such prominent national Federalists as Timothy Pickering, and the Vermont Congressional elections of 1818. In addition, there are three letters by Gadcomb as a soldier in the War of 1812, commenting on the shameful conduct of the Vermont militia and citizenry regarding the war, and speculating on the future prospects of meeting the British in battle. Finally, there is a manuscript expressing Gadcomb’s feelings about the proposed changes in the Vermont state constitution in 1814 and a draft for a constitution for the Chittenden County Agricultural Society. Reflecting the Republican positions on the War of 1812 and contemporary politics, the Papers are a small but important collection of manuscripts about Vermont in the second decade of the nineteenth century. The Papers are arranged chronologically.


  • 1811-1819



Collection is open for research.

Publication Rights:

All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the Curator of Manuscripts.

Biographical Note

Only a few facts about Sandford (or Sanford, although he usually signed his name with two "d"s) Gadcomb's life are still known. Born in 1788, he became a member of the Franklin County bar in January, 1810, and shortly thereafter entered into a partnership in St. Albans with local attorney Asa Aldis. An ardent Republican, Gadcomb server as a captain in the Vermont militia from September 25 to November 7, 1813, as a member of the staff of Brigadier General Elias Fassatt in Burlington, Vermont, and Chazy, New York. During this time, Gadcomb wrote the reply of the Vermont officers to Federalist Governor Martin Chittenden's proclamation ordering them home from New York, a reply which denied the Governor's authority over the militia and criticized him for his opposition to the war effort. Gadcomb served again in the militia in September, 1814, and fought as a private in the Battle of Plattsburgh. After the war of 1812, he severed his relationship with Aldis and moved to Burlington in 1815, where he assumed the position of State's Attorney for Chittenden County. Gadcomb became Secretary of the Chittenden County Agricultural Society in 1819, but died late in the same year at the age of 31.


0.2 Linear Feet (1 box)

Language of Materials



The Sanford Gadcomb Papers are composed mainly of political sketches and observations on state and national affairs for the years 1811-1819.

Physical Location

Silver Special Collections, Billings Library.

Guide to the Sandford Gadcomb Papers
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Repository Details

Part of the University of Vermont Libraries, Special Collections Repository

Silver Special Collections Library
48 University Place, Room B201
Burlington Vermont 05405 U.S.A. US
(802) 656-2138
(802) 656-4038 (Fax)