Redfield Proctor (June 1, 1831-March 4, 1908) was a U.S. politician of the Republican Party. He served as Governor of Vermont from 1878 to 1880, as Secretary of War from 1889 to 1891, and as a United States Senator for Vermont from 1891 to 1908.
Proctor was a native of Proctorsville, a town named after his family, in Rutland County, Vermont. His father, Jabez Proctor, was a farmer, a merchant, and a prominent local Whig politician.
After graduating from Dartmouth College in 1851, Redfield Proctor returned to Proctorsville, where he became first a businessman, and later a lawyer. He married Emily Jane Dutton in 1858, and moved to Boston two years later.
Proctor fought in the American Civil War, rising to the rank of colonel in the Fifteenth Vermont Regiment.
After being mustered out of military service in 1863, Proctor initially returned to practicing law, this time in Rutland, Vermont. Four years later, he entered business again, taking a job as a manager in the Sutherland Falls Marble Company. In 1880, this company merged with another to become the Vermont Marble Company, over which Proctor served as president. Six years later, the area containing the company's marble quarries was split into a separate town, called Proctor.
During these years, Proctor began his political career. After serving four non-consecutive terms in the Vermont state legislature, Proctor was elected lieutenant governor of Vermont in 1876. Two years later, he was elected governor, for a single two-year term.
Proctor remained active in state politics after stepping down as governor. In 1888, he led the Vermont delegation to the Republican National Convention, where he seconded the presidential nomination of Benjamin Harrison.
After Harrison was elected to the Presidency, he chose Proctor to be his Secretary of War. At the War Department, Proctor made a mark with his managerial skill and reforming zeal, with which he modernized the armed forces and improved the living conditions of enlisted soldiers.
Proctor left the War Department in November, 1891 to become a United States senator, filling a vacancy caused by resignation. As a senator he served as chairman of the U.S. Senate Committee to Establish a University of the United States from 1891 to 1893. He remained a senator for the rest of his life, and was an effective advocate in the Senate for high tariffs and the gold standard, as well as an influence on the military policies of the McKinley and Theodore Roosevelt administrations.
Proctor died in Washington, DC.
Two of Proctor's children, Fletcher D. Proctor and Redfield Proctor, Jr., served as Governors of Vermont.