Maine's Governors

Since William King was inaugurated as Maine’s first governor on June 2, 1820, the state has been led by 70 men and one woman. The position held today by Janet Trafton Mills has been occupied by such notable figures in our history as Hannibal Hamlin, Abraham Lincoln’s first vice president; Abner Coburn, generous benefactor to Maine educational institutions; Joshua L. Chamberlain, Civil War hero at the Battle of Gettysburg; Percival P. Baxter, donor of Mount Katahdin to the state; and Edmund S. Muskie, champion of Federal environmental protection legislation.

Only two governors are not represented by pictures. Of the balance, four are shown in portraits and the rest in photographs. Photographic images dating back to the 1840s enable us to study with complete clarity the faces of the men who governed Maine during the first decades of statehood before the Civil War as well as their more recent successors. These pictures come from three sources, the Maine State Archives, the Maine Historical Society, and the Maine Historic Preservation Commission.

These pages are based upon research which I initially undertook in 2001 assisted by the Commission’s summer intern Adam M. Crowley of the University of Maine at Orono, now an Assistant Professor of English at Husson College in Bangor. At that point, the project was envisioned as a publication, but the ever expanding use of the internet during the last decade has led me to offer this information to a broader online audience. I want to thank the Friends of the Blaine House for hosting this information. 

Earle G. Shettleworth, Jr.
Maine State Historian


Governor Edward Kent

Edward Kent

DATE OF BIRTH:  January 8, 1802
DATE OF DEATH:  May 19, 1877
TERM IN OFFICE:  1) January 19, 1838 – January 4, 1839
2) January 15, 1841 – January 4, 1842
FIRST LADY:  Sarah Johnson

QUOTE: He was a man of fine education and acquirements, possessed a very acute legal mind, and ranked very high in his profession.

Eastern Argus, May 21, 1877

OTHER ELECTED OR APPOINTED OFFICES: Chief Justice of the Court of Sessions, State Representative, Mayor of Bangor, U.S. Consul to Rio de Janeiro, Associate Justice of the Maine Supreme Court, President of the 1875 Maine Constitutional Convention


Biographical Encyclopedia of Maine of the 19th Century.  Boston: Metropolitan Publishing and Engraving Company, 1885, pp. 84-91.

Chase, Henry.  Representative Men of Maine.  Portland: The Lakeside Press, 1893, p. XIX.

“Death of Edward Kent at Bangor,” Eastern Argus, Portland, May 21, 1877.

“Edward Kent,” Bangor Whig & Courier, May 21, 1877.

Gold, David M.  “Edward Kent,” American National Biography.  New York: Oxford University Press, 1999, Vol. 12, pp. 594-595.

Hormell, Oren C.  “Edward Kent,” Dictionary of American Biography.  New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1933, Vol. 10, pp. 343-344.

Williams, H.C.  “Edward Kent,” Maine Historical and Genealogical Recorder, Bangor, October, 1893, pp. 177-180.

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