State OfficersState Officials and Activity
PAGE, John B. - Governor, state treasurer, and for a generation prominent in Vermont railroading, as born in Rutland, Feb. 25, 1862, the son of William and Cynthia (Hickok) Page. Educated in the public schools, and at Burr and Burton Seminary at Manchester, he was called at the age of sixteen to assist his father, then cashier of the old bank at Rutland, to which office the son of John B. succeeded later, and so became a banker, and was many years president of the National Bank of Rutland, the reorganized form of the old state bank. He became interested in the Rutland & Burlington R. R., by being appointed one of the trustees of the second mortgage bon-holders, and upon the reorganization of the property as the Rutland Railroad Co., was made president. He was for a time co-trustee with Hon. T. W. Park of the Bennington & Rutland R. R., and later was associated with Hon. J. Gregory Smith as vice-president of the Central Vermont. He was a director of the Champlain Transportation Co., and various other railroad enterprises, and also in the Caughnawauga Ship Canal project for connecting Lake Champlain and the St. Lawrence, etc.
He was instrumental in the transfer of the shops of the Howe Scale Co., from Brandon t Rutland, of which company he was the treasurer. He was in 182 elected a representative to the General Assembly of Vermont at the age of twenty-six, and re-elected for the sessions of 1853 and 1854. In 1860 he was elected state treasurer and received successive re-elections annually till 1866, and was during this time allotment commissioner by appointment of President Lincoln. He originated the plan for the payment of the extra state pay voted by Vermont to her soldiers, $7 per month, and disbursed during his term as treasurer a total of $4,635,150.80 for military expenses.
In 1867 he was elected Governor and re-elected in 1868, serving with judgment and ability through the critical period after the war.
He was again elected representative from Rutland in 1880 and took the place for the purpose of furthering some important measures that he had become interested in. Chief among these was a comprehensive scheme of tax reform, which is the foundation of our present corporation law, and with which he wished also to include a plan for the taxation of personal property like that of Connecticut. He made a strong fight for these ideas with the influential vested interest of the state mustered against him, and he lived to see them afterwards incorporated into its laws.
He was a member of the Congregational church, for many years a deacon and superintendent of the Sunday school, a corporate member of the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions and was instrumental in having the meeting of that society, the only one ever convened in the state, held at Rutland in 1874. During this meeting he led in the movement which resulted in the establishment of a Christian College in Japan which the late Joseph Neesima projected. His strong personality was illustrated by his advocacy and accomplishment, at a meeting of this society at Providence, of an effort to pay off a debt of over $70,000.
He was one of the most public-spirited men and had always in mind the welfare of his town and state. In his young manhood he was foreman of the Nickwackett Engine Co., one of the oldest organizations of firemen in the state. He pushed the erection of the commodious Congregational church in 1860, building for future generations, and largely aided in the construction of the chapel addition, the two united forming, perhaps, the most complete church property in the state. He died Oct. 24, 1885, and is buried near Rutland in Evergreen cemetery, a "city" which eh helped to purchase and adorn.
Source: Jacob G. Ullery, Men of Vermont: An Illustrated Biographical History of Vermonters and Sons of Vermont, (Transcript Publishing Company, Brattleboro, Vt.., 1894), pp. 98-99.
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