JOHN WOLCOTT STEWART was born in Middlebury, Vermont. After graduating from Middlebury College in 1846, he studied law and was admitted to the Bar in 1850. In 1852 he was elected Prosecuting Attorney for Addison County, a position in which he served for two years. He also served intermittently in the state House of Representatives—as Speaker in 1865, 1867, and 1876, and was a member of the state Senate in 1861-62. Stewart was the first Vermont governor to serve for a two-year term, but was not renominated by the Republican Party. He went on to become a member of Congress from 1883 to 1891 and in 1908 was appointed to fill a vacancy in the U.S. Senate, serving until a successor could be found.
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.