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 Nelson Dingley, Jr.

Nelson Dingley, Jr.

DATE OF BIRTH:  February 15, 1832
DATE OF DEATH:  January 13, 1899
PLACE OF DEATH:  Washington, DC
PROFESSION:  School Teacher, Lawyer, Newspaper Publisher
TERM IN OFFICE:  January 7, 1874 – January 6, 1876
FIRST LADY:  Salome McKenney

QUOTE: In the judgement of many of our best educators, the time has arrived for this State to enact a law making attendance upon some school a certain portion of the year obligatory upon children between the ages of eight and fourteen years.

Inaugural Address, January 8, 1874

OTHER ELECTED OR APPOINTED OFFICES: State Representative (Speaker of the House), Congressman


Chase, Henry.  Representative Men of Maine.  Portland: The Lakeside Press, 1893, p. 13.

Dingley, Edward Nelson.  The Life and Times of Nelson Dingley, Jr.  Kalamazoo, Michigan: Ihling Bros. & Everard, 1902.

Gould, Lewis L.  “Nelson Dingley, Jr.,” American National Biography.  New York: Oxford University Press, 1999, Vol. 6, pp. 615-616.

Lingley, Charles R. “Nelson Dingley,” Dictionary of American Biography.  New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1933, Vol. 5, pp. 314-315.

McIntyre, Philip W. and Blanding, William F.  Men of Progress.  Boston: New England Magazine, 1897, pp. 481-485.

Memorial Addresses on the Life and Character of Nelson Dingley, Jr.  Augusta: Kennebec Journal, 1899.

Memorial Addresses on the Life and Character of Nelson Dingley, Jr.  Washington: Government Printing Office, 1899.


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