George P. Tyler letters
In 1862 Abraham Lincoln signed The Morrill Land-Grant College Act. This provided Vermont $125,000 to be used for the founding and operation of state agricultural and mechanical colleges. Some Vermonters supported the idea that Middlebury, UVM, and Norwich should merge into a new agricultural college, establishing one state university. The Middlebury College Board refused. President Labaree opposed the consolidation. Trustees had decided that Middlebury should remain a small, religious, independent, and traditional liberal arts college. Numerous correspondences from Labaree about the College’s uncertainty are in this collection.
- 1861 - 1875
- Tyler, George Palmer, 1809-1896 (Person)
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Biographical / Historical
G.P. Tyler was born on Meetinghouse Hill between the “East Village” and the “West Village” of Brattleborough on December 10,1809. He was named after his mother’s brother—George Palmer. He was the son of Royall and Mary Putnam Tyler. Royall was a successful lawyer/playwright who held profound positions, such as Justice on Vermont’s Supreme Court and Chief Justice of the State’s highest court. He also wrote the first performed American comedy, The Contrast (1787), a satire about fashion-conscious New Yorkers. He also wrote other plays and a fictitious memoir, The Algerine Captive (1797). Mary was the granddaughter of General Palmer, who distinguished himself in the battle of Lexington.
G.P. Tyler was a native of Brattleboro, Vermont and was brother to ten siblings: Royall (1794-1813), John Steele (1796-1876), Mary Whitwell (1798-1874), Edward Royall (1800-1848), William Clark (1802-1882), Joseph Dennie (1804-1852), Amelia Sophia (1807-1878), Charles Royall (1812-1896), Thomas Pickman (1815-1892), and Abiel Winship (1818-1832). G.P. graduated with honor from Yale University and studied for the ministry at Union Theological Seminary, New York. He married Elizabeth Atwater Trowbridge of New Haven, Connecticut on May 12, 1841 and they had two children, a son—Trowbridge, and a daughter—Frances Bradford. Trowbridge was born January 1, 1846 and died March 15, 1859—13 years. Together, G.P. and Elizabeth were known as: “Uncle George” and “Aunt Lizzie.” G.P. resided and preached at the Presbyterian Church in Lowville, Lewis County, New York between 1840-1853. He became the pastor for the Centre Congregational Church in Brattleboro, Vermont on November 16, 1853. G.P.’s pastorate continued until January 28, 1867, when mutual council dismissed him. During his service the church had added 197 members to its congregation. In the book, Tyler-Browns of Brattleboro, he was listed as a Presbyterian, Edward was a Congregationalist, and Joseph and Pickman were Episcopalians, as were their parents. G.P. was a trustee of Middlebury College, which had conferred his Doctor of Divinity degree upon him. His only child, Frances (Fannie) married John Gaston Mairs. They had two children: George Tyler Mairs (no children) and Elizabeth Atwater Mairs. Elizabeth married Charles Merritt and they had one daughter, Frances Ann Merritt. G.P. later moved with wife Elizabeth to Lansingburgh, New York where he became pastor at the Olivet Presbyterian Church. He held this position at the Second avenue building to 1873 until he resigned. From this time to 1883 he preached at the Oakwood Avenue Presbyterian Church and the Memorial Presbyterian Church of Troy. He was again designated pastor of the Olivet Presbyterian Church in Lansingburgh until his retirement from active service in 1891 after the death of his wife that same year. He died on January 17, 1896 at the age of eighty-six years.
G.P. Tyler was also connected to relatives of noteworthy historical significance, such as cousins Mrs. Elizabeth Peabody, the initiator and promoter of kindergarten work in America; Mrs. Horace Mann, whose husband was a renowned educator; Mrs. George B. Loring, George P. Putnam, and Mrs. Nathanial Hawthorne.
He was a life member of the State Colonization Society and also a life member of the American Tract Society of New York.
Bain, Howard David. (1999). The College On The Hill. Middlebury College Press.
Meville, Dorothy Sutherland. (1973). Tyler-Browns of Brattleboro. Exposition Press. New York.
Stameshkin, David. (1985). The Town’s College: Middlebury College, 1800-1915. Middlebury College Press.
Tyler, Mrs. Royall. (1925).Grandmother Tyler’s Book. The Recollections of Mary Palmer Tyler 1775-1866. The Knickerbocker Press.
Vermont Historical Society Library, Royall Tyler (1757-1826) Collection, 1753-1935, Doc. 45.
Year Book, Centre Congregational Church Brattleboro, Vermont, Centennial Edition, 1917.
Other Finding Aids
Immediate Source of Acquisition
- Tyler, George Palmer, 1809-1896 (Person)
- Butler, Franklin, 1814-1880 (Person)
- Byington, Ezra Hoyt, 1828-1901 (Person)
- Hovey, George H., 1817-1891 (Person)
- Hyde, James T. (Person)
- Labaree, Benjamin, 1801-1883 (Person)
- Parker, William Henry (Person)
- Stevens, Alfred, 1810-1892 (Person)
- Walker, Charles (Person)
- Warren, W. (Person)