USA Famous People of Vermont

Vermont Biographies

Llewelyn Sherman Adams governor, East Dover (January 8, 1899 – October 27, 1986) was an American politician, best known as White House Chief of Staff for President Dwight D. Eisenhower, the culmination of a relatively short (18-year) political career that also included a stint as Governor of New Hampshire. He lost his White House position in a scandal over a vicuña fur coat.

Born in East Dover, Vermont, Adams was educated in Providence, Rhode Island public schools, graduating from Hope High School. He received an undergraduate degree from Dartmouth College (1920), having taken time off briefly for a six-month World War I stint in the United States Marine Corps. He then went into the lumber business, first in Headville, Vermont (1921), then to a combined lumber and paper business in Lincoln, New Hampshire. He also was involved in banking. • Llewelyn Sherman Adams Books

Chester Alan Arthur (October 5, 1829 – November 18, 1886) The 21st President of the United States (1881-1885); born in Fairfield. was an American politician who served as the 21st President of the United States. Arthur was a member of the Republican Party and worked as a lawyer before becoming the 20th Vice President under James Garfield. While Garfield was mortally wounded by Charles J. Guiteau on July 2, 1881, he did not die until September 19, at which time Arthur was sworn in as president, serving until March 4, 1885.

Before entering elected politics, Arthur was a member of the Stalwart faction of the Republican Party and a political protégé of Roscoe Conkling, rising to Collector of the Port of New York, a position to which he was appointed by President Ulysses S. Grant. He was then removed by the succeeding president, Rutherford B. Hayes, in an effort to reform the patronage system in New York. • Chester Alan Arthur Books

Orson Bean - born in Burlington. (born July 22, 1928) is an American film, television, and stage actor. Bean was born Dallas Frederick Burrows in Burlington, Vermont, to George Frederick Burrows and his wife Marian A. Pollard. Burrows was a co-founder of the American Civil Liberties Union, a fund-raiser for the Scottsboro Boys' defense, and a 20-year member of the campus police of Harvard College. Bean is a first cousin twiced removed to Calvin Coolidge, who was President of the United States at the time of Bean's birth

He appeared frequently on televised game shows in the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s, but is perhaps best known as a long-time panelist on the television game show To Tell the Truth. • Orson Bean Books • Orson Bean Films

Ben Cohen (March 18, 1951 in Brooklyn, New York), & Jerry Greenfield (1951 - ) Founders of Ben & Jerry’s Homemade Ice-Cream; born in New York and moved to Vermont during the late 1970s. By 1977, Ben had decided to go into the food business with his old friend Jerry Greenfield, and in May of the next year, the two men opened Ben & Jerry's Homemade Ice Cream Parlor in Burlington, Vermont. They had initially intended to start a bagel business, but found the equipment costs prohibitive and switched to ice cream instead, choosing Burlington as a location because it was a prominent college town which lacked an ice cream shop. In part, their distinctive style of ice cream was developed to compensate for Ben's anosmia - his loss of smell and near-loss of taste - as Ben kept adding larger and larger chunks to the ice cream to satisfy his need for texture in food.

Ben & Jerry's became an instant hit in Burlington, drawing crowds with ice creams that mixed fresh local cream and milk with wild new flavors and "large portions of whatever ingredients they felt tasted good on the day of making." • Ben Cohen Books

John Calvin Coolidge Jr  (July 4, 1872 – January 5, 1933) The 30th President of the United States (1923-1929); born in Plymouth Notch. John Calvin Coolidge, Jr. was the 30th President of the United States (1923–1929). A Republican lawyer from Vermont, Coolidge worked his way up the ladder of Massachusetts state politics, eventually becoming governor of that state. His actions during the Boston Police Strike of 1919 thrust him into the national spotlight. Soon after, he was elected as the 29th Vice President in 1920 and succeeded to the Presidency upon the sudden death of Warren G. Harding in 1923. Elected in his own right in 1924, he gained a reputation as a small government conservative. • John Calvin Coolidge Jr Books
Thomas Davenport (July 9, 1802 – July 6, 1851) Inventor; He patented a device for "Improvements in propelling machinery by magnetism and electromagnetism" in 1837; born in Williamstown.  was a Vermont blacksmith who invented the first American DC electrical motor in 1834.

He lived in Forest Dale, a village near the town of Brandon. As early as 1834, he developed a battery-powered electric motor. He used it to operate a small-model car on a short section of track, paving the way for the later electrification of streetcars. With his wife Emily, and a colleague Orange Smalley, Davenport received the first American patent on an electric machine in 1837, U. S. Patent No. 132. • Thomas Davenport Books

John Deere (1804 - 1886) Invented the first successful steel plow; born in Rutland Vermont lived in Grand Detour. Today, John Deere is remembered-some say mistakenly-as the inventor of the steel plow. Who was this legendary man and how did he create the internationally renowned company that still bears his name? He began as a debt-stricken blacksmith who, fleeing debt in New England in the 1830s, set up shop in a little town on the Illinois frontier. There, in response to farmers' struggles, he designed a new plow that cut through the impervious prairie sod and lay open the rich, heavy soil for planting. The demand for his polished steel plow convinced him to specialize in farm implements. In the decades before the Civil War, John Deere envisioned a company supplying midwestern farmers with reliable, affordable equipment. He used only high quality, imported steel and resisted pressure to raise prices. At the same time, he won respectful affection from his employees by working alongside them on the shop floor. Upon taking the helm in the 1860s, John's only surviving son, Charles, expanded the Moline factories to increase production, started branch houses in major midwestern cities to speed distribution, and began to transform the company into a modern corporation. The transformation didn't come without difficulties however: Charles found himself battling the Grange, facing threats of labor unions and strikes led by his own employees, and enduring patent suits and blatant thefts of product designs and advertising. • John Deere Books
George Dewey (December 26, 1837 – January 16, 1917) was an admiral of the United States Navy. Many historians called him the "hero of Manila." He is best known for his victory (without the loss of a single life of his own forces due to combat; one man died of heat stroke) at the Battle of Manila Bay during the Spanish-American War. He was also the only person in the history of the United States to have attained the rank of Admiral of the Navy, the most senior rank in the United States Navy. Dewey was born in Montpelier, Vermont to Julius Yemans Dewey and his first wife, Mary Perrin. His father was a physician, having received his degree from The University of Vermont. Julius was among the founders of the National Life Insurance Company in 1848. According to the "Genealogical and Family History of the State of Vermont" by Genealogical and Family History of the State of Vermont, his fellow founders included among others Paul Dillingham, later Governor of Vermont. • George Dewey Books
John Dewey (1859 - 1952) Philosopher; born in Burlington. • John Dewey Books
Stephen A. Douglas (1813 - 1861) Politician famous for his debates with Abraham Lincoln; born near Brandon. • Stephen A. Douglas Books
Ralph E. Flanders (1880 - 1970) Senator; born in Barnet. • Ralph E. Flanders Books
James Fisk financial speculator, Bennington • James Fisk Books
Wilbur Fisk clergyman, educator • Wilbur Fisk Books
Richard Morris Hunt architect, Brattleboro • Richard Morris Hunt Books
William Morris Hunt painter, Bratleboro • William Morris Hunt Books
Elisha Graves Otis (1811 - 1861) Inventor of the elevator; born near Halifax. • Elisha Graves Otis Books
Katherine Paterson (1932 - ) Children’s author and Newberry Award winner for Jacob Have I Loved; moved to Barre in 1964. • Katherine Paterson Books
Moses Pendleton choreographer • Moses Pendleton Books
Patty Sheehan golfer, Middlebury • Patty Sheehan Books
Joseph Smith religious leader, Sharon • Joseph Smith Books
Horace A. Tabor silver king, Holland • Horace A. Tabor Books
Ernest Thompson actor, writer (born Richard Ernest Thompson; November 6, 1949) is an American writer, actor, and director.

Thompson was born in Bellows Falls, Vermont. He spent his early years in Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Maine, moving to Maryland as a junior high school student. He attended the University of Maryland and The Catholic University of America, graduating cum laude from American University in 1971.

Thompson is known as the author of the play On Golden Pond, which he wrote at the age of twenty-eight. The play opened off-off-Broadway in 1978, starring Tom Aldredge and Frances Sternhagen. A great success at the Kennedy Center, it opened at the New Apollo Theater on Broadway February 28, 1979. Revived the following season at the Century Theatre, On Golden Pond ran for more than 400 performances. It went on to become a hit 1981 film starring Katharine Hepburn and Henry Fonda. Thompson won the Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay in 1982, as well as awards from the Golden Globes and the Writers Guild of America. • Ernest Thompson Books • Ernest Thompson Films

Rudy Vallee Singer, band leaderl; born in Island Pond. (July 28, 1901 – July 3, 1986) was an American singer, actor, bandleader, and entertainer.

Born Hubert Prior Vallée in Island Pond, Vermont, the son of Charles Alphonse and Catherine Lynch Vallée. Both of his parents were born and raised in Vermont, but their parents were immigrants; the Vallées being of French Canadian origin from neighboring Quebec, while the Lynches were from Ireland. Vallée grew up in Westbrook, Maine.

Having played drums in his high school band, Vallée played clarinet and saxophone in various bands around New England in his youth. In 1917, he decided to enlist for World War I, but was discharged when the Navy authorities found out that he was only 15. He enlisted in Portland, Maine on March 29, 1917, under the false birthdate of July 28, 1899. He was discharged at the Naval Training Station, Newport, Rhode Island, on May 17, 1917 with 41 days of active service. From 1924 through 1925, he played with the Savoy Havana Band at the Savoy Hotel in London, where his fellow band-mambers discouraged his attempts to become a vocalist. He then returned to the States to obtain a degree in Philosophy from Yale and to form his own band, "Rudy Vallée and the Connecticut Yankees." With this band, which featured two violins, two saxophones, a piano, a banjo and drums, he started taking vocals (supposedly reluctantly at first).  • Rudy Vallee Books • Rudy Vallee Films • Rudy Vallee Discography

Henry Wells (1805 - 1878) Founder of Wells Fargo and Co.; born in Thetford. • Henry Wells Books
Brigham Young (1801 - 1877) Colonizer, territorial governor, and President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints; born in Whitingham. • Brigham Young Books