HORACE FAIRBANKS was born in Barnet, Vermont. After studying at academies in Vermont, New Hampshire, and Massachusetts, he became a clerk in the Fairbanks Scale Company that his father and uncle had founded. He rose to become the company’s financial manager and was involved in founding the Portland and Ogdensburg Railroad, which provided the Northeast with access to the Great Lakes. Although elected to the state Senate in 1869, he was prevented by illness from taking office. Seven years later, however, he won the race for governor. During his administration, a Board of Agriculture was established, and provision was made for the licensing of physicians. After retiring as governor, Fairbanks resumed his business career and served for a number of years as a trustee of the University of Vermont. He died in New York City and was interred in St. Johnsbury, Vermont.
Sobel, Robert, and John Raimo, eds. Biographical Directory of the Governors of the United States, 1789-1978, Vol. 4. Westport, CT: Meckler Books, 1978. 4 vols.
The National Cyclopaedia of American Biography, Vol. 8. New York: James T. White & Company.