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 Frederick Robie

Frederick Robie

DATE OF BIRTH:  August 12, 1822
DATE OF DEATH:  February 2, 1912
PROFESSION:  Physician, Businessman
TERM IN OFFICE:  January 4, 1883 – January 6, 1887
FIRST LADY:  Olivia M. Priest

QUOTE: I would call your attention to the necessity of some change of our laws which would and should give woman increased opportunities to discharge the duties of citizenship.  By innumerable deeds of noble conflict on every field of moral, intellectual and social effort, woman has won equal honors with the other sex, and established by works her right to a just recognition and equality which selfish rule has heretofore prevented. Intelligence of the citizen is the only true basis of suffrage, and if equality is assured, let us not ignore its logical consequences, but give to woman all the rights of citizenship.

Inaugural Address, January 8, 1885

OTHER ELECTED OR APPOINTED OFFICES: Lieutenant Colonel, State Representative (Speaker of the House), State Senator, Member of the 1878 Paris Exposition Commission, Worthy Master of the Maine State Grange


Biographical Encyclopedia of Maine of the 19th Century.  Boston: Metropolitan Publishing and Engraving Company, 1885, pp. 148-152.

Chase, Henry.  Representative Men of Maine.  Portland: The Lakeside Press, 1893, p. 53.

Kennebec Journal, Augusta, February 5, 1912.

McIntyre, Philip W. and Blanding, William F.  Men of Progress.  Boston: New England Magazine, 1897, pp. 71-75.


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