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 Joseph R. Bodwell

Joseph R. Bodwell

DATE OF BIRTH:  June 18, 1818
DATE OF DEATH:  December 15, 1887
PLACE OF DEATH:  Hallowell
PROFESSION:  Farmer, Businessman (Owner of granite works in Vinalhaven and Hallowell)
TERM IN OFFICE:  January 6, 1887 – December 15, 1887
FIRST LADY:  Hannah C. Fox

QUOTE: The Industrial School for Girls, established some years since at Hallowell, has proved an excellent institution. It has saved a large number of girls from the unfortunate surroundings in which fate had placed them and has secured for them respectable employment.

Inaugural Address, January 6, 1887

OTHER ELECTED OR APPOINTED OFFICES: Mayor of Hallowell, State Representative


Biographical Encyclopedia of Maine of the 19th Century.  Boston: Metropolitan Publishing and Engraving Company, 1885, pp. 379-382.

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

In Memoriam: Governor Bodwell.  Augusta: Burleigh & Flynt, 1888.

Kennebec Journal.  Augusta, December 16, 1887.

Lapham, Dr. William B.  “Gov. Joseph R. Bodwell,” Maine Historical and Genealogical Recorder, Bangor, 1895, p. 191-197.



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