Samuel S. Phelps

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Samuel Shethar Phelps
Samuel Shethar Phelps.jpg
United States Senator
from Vermont
In office
March 4, 1839 – March 4, 1851
January 17, 1853 – March 16, 1854
Preceded by Benjamin Swift
William Upham
Succeeded by Solomon Foot
Lawrence Brainerd
Personal details
Born (1793-05-13)May 13, 1793
Litchfield, Connecticut, U.S.
Died March 25, 1855(1855-03-25) (aged 61)
Middlebury, Vermont, U.S.
Political party Whig
Spouse(s) Frances Shurtleff Phelpsand Electa Satterlee Phelps
Children Edward John Phelps, James Shether Phelps and Charles Henry Phelps
Profession Politician, Lawyer, Judge

Samuel Shethar Phelps (May 13, 1793 – March 25, 1855) was an American lawyer and politician. He was a United States Senator from Vermont, and a member of the Whig Party.

Biography[edit]

Phelps was born in Litchfield, Connecticut,[1] to John Phelps, an American Revolutionary War soldier.[2] Phelps graduated from Yale University in 1811.[3] He studied law at Litchfield Law School and in the office of Horatio Seymour, and was admitted to the bar.[4] He served as a military paymaster during the War of 1812. Following the war, he settled in Middlebury, Vermont and began the practice of law.

Phelps began his political career serving in the Vermont State House from 1821 to 1832. He was a judge on the Vermont Supreme Court from 1832 to 1838.[5] He was a member of the Vermont Senate from 1838 to 1839. In 1839 he was elected as a Whig to the United States Senate, and he served until 1851.[6] He chaired several committees while serving in the Senate, including the Committee on the Militia, Committee on Revolutionary Claims, Committee on Pensions, Committee on Patents and the Patent Office and the Committee on Territories.[7]

Phelps returned to the United States Senate on January 17, 1853, having been appointed to fill the unexpired term of Senator William Upham, who had died. He served until March 16, 1854 when the Senate resolved that he was not entitled to the seat on the grounds that he had been legally appointed by the Governor of Vermont when the Vermont General Assembly was not in session, but that the General Assembly had not acted to fill the vacancy at its subsequent session, as required by law.[8]

Family life[edit]

Phelps was married to Frances Shurtleff Phelps and they had three children together, Edward John Phelps, James Shether Phelps and Charles Henry Phelps.[9] Phelps later married Electa Satterlee Phelps.[10] Phelps' son Edward John Phelps was also a politician and lawyer, as well as a diplomat.[11]

Death[edit]

Phelps died on March 25, 1855 in Middlebury, and is interred at West Cemetery in Middlebury.

Published works[edit]

  • "Mr. Phelps’ Appeal to the People of Vermont" by Samuel S. Phelps, published in the American Whig Review 12 (July 1850): 93-98, Middlebury, VT, 1846.
  • "Mr. Phelps' Rejoinder to Mr. Slade's "Reply."", printed by J. & G.S. Gideon, Washington, D.C., no date, but ca 1846.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Phelps, Samuel Shethar (1793-1855)". govtrack.us. Retrieved November 4, 2012. 
  2. ^ "Notable Phelps Family Member". Phelps Family History in America. Retrieved November 4, 2012. 
  3. ^ "PHELPS, Samuel Shethar, (1793 - 1855)". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. Retrieved November 1, 2012. 
  4. ^ Litchfield Historical Society, Samuel S. Phelps at The Ledger, A Database of Students of the Litchfield Law School and the Litchfield Female Academy, 2010
  5. ^ "Justices of the Supreme Court". Office of the Vermont Secretary of State. Retrieved November 4, 2012. 
  6. ^ "Sen. Samuel Phelps". govtrack.us. Retrieved November 4, 2012. 
  7. ^ "PHELPS, Samuel Shethar, (1793 - 1855)". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. Retrieved November 1, 2012. 
  8. ^ United States Senate, Compilation of Senate Election Cases from 1789 to 1913, 1913, pages 16-22
  9. ^ "Frances Shurtleff Phelps". Find A Grave. Retrieved November 4, 2012. 
  10. ^ "Electa Satterlee Phelps". Find A Grave. Retrieved November 4, 2012. 
  11. ^ "Edward John Phelps". Find A Grave. Retrieved November 4, 2012. 

Further reading[edit]

  • "Vermont Supreme Court Justices: Wheelock G. Veazey, Samuel S. Phelps, Hiland Hall, Henry R. Start, James Stuart Holden, Harrie B. Chase" published by General Books, 2010.

External links[edit]


United States Senate
Preceded by
Benjamin Swift
U.S. Senator (Class 1) from Vermont
March 4, 1839 – March 4, 1851
Served alongside: Samuel Prentiss, Samuel C. Crafts and William Upham
Succeeded by
Solomon Foot
Preceded by
William Upham
U.S. Senator (Class 3) from Vermont
January 17, 1853 – March 16, 1854
Served alongside: Solomon Foot
Succeeded by
Lawrence Brainerd