PAUL DILLINGHAM JR. was born in Shutesbury, Massachusetts. After studying law, he began the practice of his profession in Waterbury, Vermont. He was a Justice of the Peace from 1826 to 1844; a member of the state House of Representatives from 1833 to 1834 and again from 1837 to 1839; State’s Attorney of Washington County from 1835 to 1837; and a member of the state Senate in 1841-1842 and again in 1861. He was elected to Congress in 1843 and again in 1845. After the start of the Civil War, Dillingham switched allegiance from the Democratic Party to the Republican Party, and served as Lieutenant Governor of Vermont from 1862 to 1865 as a Republican. Elected governor in 1865, he created Vermont’s first reform school and established a state normal school for teacher training. After serving two terms as governor, he declined renomination and returned to his law practice, retiring in 1875. He died at his home in Waterbury.