Julius Converse

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Julius Converse
Julius Converse.gif
34th Governor of Vermont
In office
October 3, 1872 – October 8, 1874
Lieutenant Russell S. Taft
Preceded by John W. Stewart
Succeeded by Asahel Peck
16th Lieutenant Governor of Vermont
In office
Governor Charles K. Williams
Preceded by Robert Pierpoint
Succeeded by William C. Kittredge
Member of the Vermont House of Representatives
In office
Member of the Vermont Senate
In office
Personal details
Born (1798-12-17)December 17, 1798
Stafford, Connecticut
Died August 16, 1885(1885-08-16) (aged 86)
Dixville Notch, New Hampshire
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Melissa Arnold, Jane Elvira Martin
Profession lawyer / politician

Julius Converse (December 17, 1798 – August 16, 1885) was the 34th Governor of Vermont, from 1872 to 1874 and the 16th Lieutenant Governor of Vermont from 1850 to 1852.

Early life and start of political career[edit]

Julius Converse was born in Stafford, Connecticut on December 17, 1798. He was raised in Vermont, educated at Vermont's Randolph Academy, studied law, and became an attorney in Bethel in 1826. A Whig, Converse served in the Vermont House of Representatives in 1833 and the Vermont State Senate from 1836 to 1840.[1][2]

After his State Senate term ended Converse moved to Woodstock, where he resumed practicing law and served as Windsor County State's Attorney from 1844 to 1847. He returned to the Vermont House in 1847, serving until 1849. From 1850 to 1851 Converse was Vermont's Lieutenant Governor. He became a Republican when the party was founded in the 1850s, and served in the Vermont House for the third time from 1867 to 1868. In 1869 he was an unsuccessful candidate for the nomination for Governor, losing to Peter T. Washburn.[3][4][5]

Election as Governor[edit]

In 1872 Converse was selected as the Republican nominee for Governor even though he was over 70 years old, was not an active candidate, and had not campaigned for the position.[6] His nomination was regarded by observers as a way to block the candidacy of railroad magnate Frederick H. Billings, who had only recently returned to Vermont from California, and the renomination of incumbent John W. Stewart, which would break the Republican party's Mountain Rule. Converse won the general election and served as Governor from 1872 to 1874, afterwards living in retirement.[7][8][9][10]


In 1825 Julius Converse was married to Melissa Arnold (born June 1, 1799) of Randolph. The couple had no children, and Mrs. Converse died on December 12, 1872. In 1873 Converse married 31-year-old Jane Martin (born North Stratford, New Hampshire, March 24, 1842, died Lowell, Massachusetts, June 22, 1916).[11] They were the parents of a daughter, Luna Belle Converse (June 13, 1874 – May 14, 1961).[12]

Death and burial[edit]

Governor Converse died on August 16, 1885 while vacationing in Dixville Notch, New Hampshire.[13][14] He was buried in Woodstock's River Street Cemetery.


  1. ^ Charles Allen Converse, Some of the Ancestors and Descendants of Samuel Converse, Jr., 1905, pages 206 to 208
  2. ^ John Howard Brown, Lamb's Biographical Dictionary of the United States, Volume 2, 1900, page 156
  3. ^ Jacob G. Ullery, Men of Vermont Illustrated, 1894, page 100
  4. ^ Baltimore Sun, The Whig State Covention, July 18, 1850
  5. ^ Henry Swan Dana, History of Woodstock, Vermont, 1889, pages 481 to 482
  6. ^ New York Times, Vermont; The Green Mountain Boys True to Freedom, September 24, 1872
  7. ^ Robin W. Winks, Frederick Billings: A Life, 1998, pages 268 to 270
  8. ^ Samuel B. Hand, The Star That Set: The Vermont Republican Party, 1854-1974, 2003, pages 39 to 41
  9. ^ Prentiss Cutler Dodge, Encyclopedia of Vermont Biography, 1912, page 43
  10. ^ New York Times, Political Notes: Hon. Julius Converse Refuses to be a Candidate for Governor of Vermont, April 29, 1872
  11. ^ Death notice, Mrs. Julius Converse, Lowell Sun, June 22, 1916
  12. ^ Vermont Death Records, entry for Luna Belle Converse, accessed November 9, 2012
  13. ^ George Derby, James Terry White, The National Cyclopedia of American Biography, Volume 8, 1898, page 326
  14. ^ New York Times, Death Notice, Ex-Gov. Converse, August 19, 1885
Political offices
Preceded by
Robert Pierpoint
Lieutenant Governor of Vermont
Succeeded by
William C. Kittredge
Preceded by
John W. Stewart
Governor of Vermont
Succeeded by
Asahel Peck