Edmunds, George Franklin
Age: 0, credited to Burlington, VT
Service: U.S. Senator
See Legend for expansion of abbreviationsVITALS
Birth: 02/01/1828, Unknown
Burial: Greenmount Cemetery, Burlington, VT
Marker/Plot: Not recorded
Gravestone researcher/photographer: Kathy Valloch
Findagrave Memorial #: 21276
Alias?: None noted
Pension?: Not eligible
College?: Not Found
Veterans Home?: Not Found
(If there are state digraphs above, this soldier spent some time in a state or national soldiers' home in that state after the war)
Remarks: more off-site
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Greenmount Cemetery, Burlington, VT
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George F. Edmunds
Edmunds, George Franklin, of Burlington, son of Ebenezer and Naomi (Briggs) Edmunds, was born in Richmond, Feb. 1, 1828.
His preliminary education was had in the public schools and under a private tutor. When but eighteen he began the study of law in Burlington, and continued it at Richmond in the office of his brother-in-law, A. B. Maynard, in 1846-'47. In the two following years he was a student in the office of Smalley & Phelps in Burlington. In March, 1849, he was admitted to the bar of Chittenden county, and to partnership with Mr. Maynard at Richmond. The new firm was very successful. In November, 1851, he removed to Burlington, which thenceforward became his home. At the time of Mr. Edmunds' removal to Burlington the legal fraternity of the state was exceptionally strong. Ex-Governor Underwood, D. A. Smalley, E. J. Phelps, L. E. Chittenden, and others were formidable competitors, but he soon worked his way to the front. In 1866, when he was first appointed to the National Senate, he had secured the largest and most lucrative practice in that section of Vermont.
The services of George F. Edmunds fill some of the cleanest, brightest pages in the legislative history of the state and nation. In 1854 he made his first appearance in the field of local politics as the moderator of the Burlington March meeting, and he was soon afterward elected representative of the town to the Legislature. A member of the House in the years 1854-'55-'56-'57-'58-'59, he was also speaker during the last three sessions. In 1864 he served in the joint committee on the state library, and also in the committee on the judiciary. In 1855 he was made chairman of the latter body.
In 1861 Mr. Edmunds was returned, against his protest, to the state Senate from Chittenden county, and was chairman of its judiciary committee. Re-elected in 1862, he served on the same committee. In each of these years he was also president pro tempore of the Senate. In 1866, United States Senator Solomon Foote died and Mr. Edmunds was appointed his successor by Gov. Paul Dillingham. April 5, 1866, he began that long senatorial career which so honored himself, his state, and his country. He was afterwards elected by the Legislature for the remainder of the term ending March 4, 1869, and in 1868, 1874, 1880, and 1886 received elections for the full senatorial term. In 1891, after more than a quarter of a century's service, he resigned. His impress on national legislation was greater than that of any other man of his time, and he had for years been the foremost senator. No one thinks of his pro tempore presidency of the Senate, so overshadowed is it by his real leadership.
In the winter of 1876 came a crisis in the history of the United States, the great danger of which is year by year realized. The nation was threatened with all the evils of disputed succession to the chief magistracy. Senator Edmunds comprehended the situation, and led from danger to lawful safety. He first submitted the draft of a constitutional amendment, which remitted the duty of counting the electoral votes to the Supreme Court of the United States. But this was rejected by a vote of 14 to 31. On the 16th of December he called up the message from the House of Representatives, announcing the appointment of a committee of seven to act in conjunction with a committee of the Senate in advising some method of counting the electoral vote; and submitted a resolution referring the message of the House to a select committee of seven senators, having power to prepare and report, without unnecessary delay, such a measure as would secure the lawful count of the electoral vote, and the best disposition of the questions connected therewith, and that this committee have power to confer with the committee of the House of Representatives. The resolution was adopted, the committee appointed and Senator Edmunds was made its chairman. In the discussions which followed he devised the electoral commission bill.
On the 13th of January, 1877, Mr. Edmunds reported the proposed measure, which provided for the appointment of an electoral commission, and which defined the duties of its members. The bill passed into law. Senator Edmunds was appointed a member of the electoral commission on the part of the Senate, and contributed efficiently to the lawful solution of the problem in which so many dangers lurked.
The anti-polygamy law now in force is rightly known as the Edmunds law. But a list of good measures passed and bad measures defeated by his efforts and under his leadership would be interminable.
Unsought by him, in 1880 and 1884 many of his party, who wanted it to make its first statesman its leader, earnestly worked for his nomination for the presidency in the Republican national conventions of those years. In 1891 he resigned his seat in the United States Senate, and has since devoted his time to the practice of his profession.
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 II, p. 118.