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Biography

Biography

Douglass, Stephen A., was born at Brandon, April 23, 1813. He lost his father while in infancy, and his mother being left in destitute circumstances, he entered a cabinet shop at Middlebury for the purpose of learning the trade. After remaining there several months he returned to Brandon, where he continued for a year at the same calling, but his health obliged him to abandon it, and he became a student in the academy. His mother having married a second time, he followed her to Canandaigua, N. Y. Here he pursued the study of the law, until his removal to Ohio in 1831. From Cleveland he went still further west, and finally settled in Jacksonville, Ill. He was first employed as a clerk to an auctioneer, and afterwards kept school, devoting all the time he could spare to the study of law. In 1834 he was admitted to the bar, soon obtained a lucrative practice, and was elected attorney-general of the state. In 1837 he was appointed by President Van Buren register of the land office at Springfield, Ill. He afterwards practiced his profession, and in 1840 was elected secretary of state, and the following year judge of the Supreme Court. This office he resigned, after sitting upon the bench for two years, in consequence of ill-health. In 1843 he was elected to Congress, and continued a member of the lower House for four years. In December, 1847, he was elected to the United States Senate for the term ending in 1853, was re-elected for the term ending 1859, and re-elected for another term, but died in Chicago, June 3, 1861. In 1860 he was the candidate of his party for President but was defeated.

Source: Jacob G. Ullery, compiler, Men of Vermont: An Illustrated Biographical History of Vermonters and Sons of Vermont, (Transcript Publishing Company, Brattleboro, VT, 1894), Part III, p. 53.