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 Robert P. Dunlap

Robert P. Dunlap

DATE OF BIRTH:  August 17, 1794
PLACE OF BIRTH:  Brunswick
DATE OF DEATH:  October 20, 1859
PLACE OF DEATH:  Brunswick
TERM IN OFFICE:  January 2, 1834 – January 19, 1838
FIRST LADY:  Lydia Chapman

QUOTE: It is not sufficient that towns are required to maintain schools, nor that schools are kept within the reach of all our youth; the desired result will seldom be obtained…unless the several towns shall be enabled to procure faithful and competent teachers.

Inaugural Address, January 2, 1834

OTHER ELECTED OR APPOINTED OFFICES: State Representative, State Senator (Senate President), Executive Councilor, Congressman, Collector of the Port of Portland, Postmaster of Brunswick, President of the Board of Overseers of Bowdoin College


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

“Death of Ex-Governor Dunlap,” Eastern Argus, Portland, October 21, 1859; October 22, 1859, October 25, 1859.

Gold, David M.  “Robert Pinckney Dunlap,” American National Biography.  New York: Oxford University Press, 1999, Vol. 7, pp. 91-93.

King, M.F.  “Gov. Robert Pinckney Dunlap,” Maine Historical and Genealogical Recorder, Bangor, 1887, pp. 69-76, 174-181.

Mahan, Bruce E.  “Robert Pinckney Dunlap,” Dictionary of American Biography.  New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1933, Vol. 5, pp. 515-516.



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