Harry A. Black Article

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From volume 26 (1921) of "The Vermonter" magazine.

Harry A. Black (November 22, 1879 -- April 9, 1923) was a Vermont attorney and public official. He served as Secretary of State of Vermont from 1919 until his death.


Harry Alonzo Black was born in Coventry, Vermont on November 22, 1879. [1] He was educated in the public schools of Orleans County, and graduated from Derby Academy in 1899. [1] Black then studied law in St. Johnsbury and Newport. [1] He was admitted to the bar in 1903, and practiced in Newport. [1]

A Republican, he served as second assistant clerk of the Vermont House of Representatives in 1906, and first assistant clerk in 1908 and 1910. [1] During the legislative sessions from 1912 to 1918, Black was the Clerk of the House. [1] From 1918 to 1920 he also served as a member of Newport's city council. [1]

In 1918, Black was elected Secretary of State. [1] He was reelected in 1920 and 1922, and served from January 1918 until his death. [1]


Black died in Wells River on April 9, 1923 as the result of injuries he sustained when he was struck by a train as he was en route from Newport to Montpelier. [2] According to news accounts, Black had been ill at his home for a month before beginning his trip, and appeared to faint as he was changing trains. [2] Witnesses indicated that he stepped out of the Wells River station and walked across several tracks to board the train for Montpelier. [2] He fell onto one track, and a moving train hit him before onlookers could take action to rescue him. [2] Orlando L. Martin, the Speaker of the Vermont House of Representatives, was with Black at the time of the accident, but was not injured. [2]


In 1905, Black married Jennie Gates of Newport. [1] Their children included: Henry, Raymond, Gordon, Gerald, and Kenneth. [1]




  • Proceedings of the Vermont Historical Society. Montpelier, VT: Vermont Historical Society. 1923. p. 270.


Political offices
Preceded by
Frederick G. Fleetwood
Vermont Secretary of State
Succeeded by
Aaron H. Grout