EBENEZER JOLLS ORMSBEE was born in Shoreham, Vermont. He taught in district schools before studying law. His legal career was interrupted by military service in the Vermont Volunteers, where he rose to the rank of Captain during the Civil War. He then resumed the practice of law and became president of the Brandon National Bank. He served by appointment as Assistant U.S. Internal Revenue Assessor from 1868 to 1872. He was also State’s Attorney for Rutland County from 1870 to 1874, a state Representative in 1872, a state Senator from Rutland County in 1878, and a trustee of the Vermont Reform School from 1880 until 1884, when he became Lieutenant Governor. Elected governor in 1886, Ormsbe focused on illiteracy in Vermont and secured the establishment of a commission to revise the state’s education laws. During his administration, the state legislature also established a Board of Railroad Commissioners and a State Board of Health. After leaving office, he was appointed by President Benjamin Harrison to a commission to negotiate a treaty with the Pi-Ute Indians. And from 1891 to 1893, he served as U.S. Land Commissioner in Samoa. He died and was buried in Brandon, 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.