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



William D. Williamson

DATE OF BIRTH:  July 31, 1779
PLACE OF BIRTH:  Canterbury, CT
DATE OF DEATH:  May 27, 1846
PROFESSION:  Lawyer, Author of The History of The State of Maine
POLITICAL AFFILIATION:  Democratic-Republican
TERM IN OFFICE:  May 28, 1821 to December 6, 1821
FIRST LADY:  Jemima Montague

QUOTE: Maine is a corner-pillar in the American Republic. Its territory equals one half of New England, – its natural resources are great and various – its climate is good – its population now considerably exceeds 400,000 – and only two individual States have a greater extend of seaboard or more shipping.

Introduction to Williamson’s The History of The State of Maine, 1832

OTHER ELECTED OR APPOINTED OFFICES: County Attorney for Hancock County, Massachusetts State Senator, Maine State Senator  (Senate President), Congressman, Judge of Probate for Penobscot County, Bank Commissioner


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

Malone, Dumas.  “Wiliam Durkee Williamson,” Dictionary of American Biography.  New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1933, Vol. 20, pp. 301-302.

Williamson, Joseph.  “Hon. William Durkee Williamson,” Maine Historical and Genealogical Recorder.  Bangor, 1888, pp. 73-80.

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