Charles Paine, Governor

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Charles Paine

Birthdate: (54)
Birthplace: Williamstown, Orange County, Vermont, United States
Death: July 6, 1853 (54)
Waco, McLennan County, Texas, United States
Place of Burial: Northfield, Washington County, Vermont, United States
Immediate Family:

Son of Elijah Paine, U.S. Senator and Sarah Paine

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Immediate Family

About Charles Paine, Governor

Charles Paine (April 15, 1799 – July 6, 1853) was an American Whig politician.

Paine was the son of U.S. Senator Elijah Paine. He was a Harvard graduate (1820), and woolen mill owner. He moved to Northfield, Vermont in the early part of the nineteenth century to run the family woolen mill. He opearted this business until it was destroyed by fire in 1848. He had various other business interests including an hotel and a store, but he is most often remembered as the individual who brought railroads to Vermont. In Northfield, Paine held the offices of Town Selectman and Moderator of the Town Meeting. In his political life he was a member of the Vermont house from 1828 through 1829 and the 15th Governor of Vermont from 1841 until 1843.

Paine was president of the Vermont Central Railroad and built its headquarters in his home town of Northfield. In 1853 the Vermont Central Railroad went into bankruptcy due to over expansion and, in some cases, mismanagement. The railroad was placed under receivership and renamed the Central Vermont Railroad. Its headquarters were moved to St. Albans.

Paine died in Waco, Texas after three weeks of dysentery while helping the Southern Pacific Railroad choose a route. He is buried in Northfield, Vermont.


Vermont Governor. Son of US Senator and woolen mill builder and owner Elijah Paine. Graduate, Harvard, 1820. Moved from Williamstown to adjoining Northfield, took charge of family woolen mill, operated it until it was destroyed by fire, 1848. Successful businessman, built and operated hotel and store. Farmer and cattle breeder. Donated land for school and Congregational church. Town Selectman. Moderator, Northfield Town Meeting. Member, Vermont House, 1828-29. Governor, 1841-43. Active in building Vermont railroads and determining routes and stations. President, Vermont Central Railroad. Used influence to have route include Northfield despite hilly terrain unfavorable for railroads, thus earning the enmity of residents of larger and more accessible nearby towns, including Montpelier and Barre. Financial setbacks caused him to resign presidency of railroad and sell home and other properties. Active with New York investors in construction of Southern Pacific Railroad. Died of dysentery after three week illness while in Texas to choose route for Southern Pacific. Governor Charles Paine House, 75 South Main Street, Northfield, is home to Northfield Historical Society.

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Charles Paine, Governor's Timeline

April 15, 1799
Williamstown, Orange County, Vermont, United States
July 6, 1853
Age 54
Waco, McLennan County, Texas, United States
Northfield, Washington County, Vermont, United States