|United States Senator
October 14, 1854 – March 4, 1855
|Preceded by||Samuel S. Phelps|
|Succeeded by||Jacob Collamer|
March 16, 1794|
East Hartford, Connecticut, U.S.
|Died||May 9, 1870
St. Albans, Vermont, U.S.
|Political party||Whig, Liberty, Free Soil|
|Spouse(s)||Fidelia B. Gadcombe
Lawrence Brainerd (March 16, 1794 – May 9, 1870) was a businessman, abolitionist and United States Senator from Vermont. He was the father of Ann Eliza Brainerd Smith and the father-in-law of Vermont Governor J. Gregory Smith and Vermont Lieutenant Governor F. Stewart Stranahan.
Born in East Hartford, Connecticut on March 16, 1794, he went to Troy, New York in 1803 to reside with an uncle. In 1808 his uncle and he moved to St. Albans, Vermont. Brainerd completed preparatory studies, taught school, was employed as a clerk in a mercantile establishment until 1816. He expanded his business interests to include stores, banking, shipping, and railroads, and became wealthy as a result.
In 1834 he was elected to the Vermont House of Representatives as a Whig. His anti-slavery views caused him to become a member of the Liberty Party. He was the party's unsuccessful candidate for Governor in 1846, 1847, 1848, 1852, and 1854.
In 1854 he was a member of the Free Soil Party when he was chosen by the Vermont General Assembly to fill a United States Senate vacancy. The Governor had appointed Samuel S. Phelps to fill the vacancy caused by the death of William Upham. Phelps served until the Senate resolved that while the Governor could make an appointment while the state legislature was not in session, it fell to the legislature to make a selection once it convened. Brainerd was then chosen to succeed Phelps, and served from October 14, 1854 to March 4, 1855. He was not a candidate for election to a full term, and was subsequently nominated for Governor, which he declined.
Brainerd became a Republican when the party was founded, and was the first Chairman of the Vermont Republican Party. He was one of the five state party Chairmen who issued the call for the first Republican National Convention, was a Delegate, and called the convention to order for its first session.
He resumed business activities and remained active until his death in St. Albans on May 9, 1870. Interment was in Greenwood Cemetery.
His daughter Ann was a noted author. She was married to J. Gregory Smith, who served as President of the Central Vermont Railway and Northern Pacific Railway. Smith founded Brainerd, Minnesota, which he named for his father in law's family.
- Charles S. Forbes, The Vermonter magazine, History of the Republican Party, June 1906 page 176
- William E. Gienapp, The Origins of the Republican Party, 1852-1856, 1987, page 253
- Green Berry Raum, History of Illinois Republicanism, 1900, page 26
- Warren Upham, Minnesota Place Names: A Geographical Encyclopedia, 2001, page 157
- Daughters of the American Revolution, Lineage Book, Volume 4, 1897, page 269
- Vermont Historical Society, Vermont Women's History Project, Women of Note in St. Albans: Miranda Aldis Brainerd, retrieved December 13, 2013
- Lawrence Brainerd at the Biographical Directory of the United States Congress
- Lawrence Brainerd at Find a Grave
|United States Senate|
Samuel S. Phelps
|U.S. Senator (Class 3) from Vermont
October 14, 1854 – March 4, 1855
Served alongside: Solomon Foot