REDFIELD PROCTOR was born in Proctorsville, Vermont. He received bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Dartmouth College and a law degree from Albany Law School. Although he began the practice of law in Boston, he returned to Vermont when the Civil War broke out, serving in the 3rdVermont Regiment, the 5th Vermont Volunteers, and the 15th Vermont Volunteers-which he commanded at Gettysburg, and rising to the rank of Colonel. When the war ended, he returned to the practice of law and became manager of the Sutherland Falls Marble Company, which merged with the Rutland Marble Company to form the Vermont Marble Company-the largest marble company in the world. Proctor’s public life began with his service as a selectman in 1866. He went on to represent Rutland in the state House as well as in the state Senate, where he served as President Pro Tem. He was elected Lieutenant Governor in 1876 and governor in 1878. As governor, he made a successful recommendation to the legislature for divorce laws to be made more stringent. He served as Secretary of War under President Benjamin Harrison from 1889 until 1891, when he was appointed to fill a vacancy in the U.S. Senate. He was elected to the Senate seat for three additional terms in his own right. He visited Cuba at his own expense, making a report to Congress that was used to justify a demand for Spain’s evacuation of Cuba. Proctor died in Washington, D.C. while serving in the Senate and was buried in his home town.
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. 1. New York: James T. White & Company.