Maine Biographies

Nelson Dingley Jr.

Genealogy is about the memories we give, as well
The presentation is free and open to all. Donations will be accepted to benefit Orono Historical Society. For information on researching family history in Maine, see Genealogy Resources under Family Ties at

$10000 grant will help renovate old train depot
The 1851 depot is the oldest rail-related structure in Maine, and among the oldest in the US, according to a press release from the society. The restoration is a component of the society’s ongoing initiative to restore its historic village…

Presque Isle trolley offering trips back in time
“There used to be electric trolleys all over the state,” said historical society president Craig Green. “But this is the first-ever trolley in northern Maine.” Vintage trolleys and replicas like the Presque Isle vehicle are common tourist attractions…

Misery Gore. China. Meddybemps. Bangor. Poland. Amity. Cornville. Maine names: Behind the state’s unusual place names are our hopes, ancestors, religion, colorful characters and imaginations.

Have you ever driven down a Maine road and seen a sign that made you wonder just where on Earth our names come from? Meddybemps. Mars Hill. Argyle. Misery Gore. That last one might have made you want to turn back. There are some pretty odd place names in Maine and…

In death, Portland woman reunited with long-lost love

Teresa Getchell spent decades seeking the truth about her husband’s wartime death in 1969.

Cultivating Younger Buyers a Must for Antique Dealers
As an antique dealer and collector, as well as a business owner, Michelle Staley is always looking for new ways to reinvent her business, her brand and her product line. Right now, Michelle says, she sees the need to make her inventory attractive to the Twentysomething consumer. Many Baby Boomers are downsizing and, while they are still spending money on antiques and collectibles, Michelle argues that antiques and collectibles dealers need to cultivate a younger generation of shoppers to keep their businesses afloat. So, how do you go about making your antique store front or website attractive to the young consumer? Michelle has some tips. Read “Cultivating Younger Buyers a Must for Antique Dealers”

More Events, Exhibits and Presentations

Selections from the Red Boutilier Collection: Exhibit of photography from the museum’s archives. Free. At Camden Public Library. April 1-30.

Selections from the Elmer Montgomery and Atlantic Fisherman Collections: Exhibits of photography from the museum’s archives. Free. At Hutchinson Center, Belfast. Through April 30.

Digging Deeper into the Elmer Montgomery Collection: Illustrated talk by Curator Ben Fuller. Free. At Hutchinson Center, Belfast. April 25, 6:30 p.m.

Greetings from Stockton Springs: Illustrated talk by Photo Archivist Kevin Johnson, with historic photos from the Eastern Illustrating collection. Free. At Stockton Springs Community Library. April 29, 2 p.m.

Maine Agriculture: Views from the Past: Historic photo exhibit. Donation requested. At Page Farm and Home Museum, University of Maine-Orono. May 10 – Nov. 10.

The following is excerpted from Representative Men of Maine, ed. by Henry Chase, pub. 1893 by the Lakeside Press:

Journalist, Legislator, Ex-Governor, and Congressman, Nelson Dingley, Jr., stands in the front rank of the sons of Maine and is in very many respects a most excellent type of New England character. Ability, industry, courage, and a capacity for work are the great causes of his success. It is these, coupled with honesty and perseverance, that have made his pathway straight from the country schoolhouse to the national capitol.

Mr. Dingley was born in Durham, Maine, February 15, 1832, being the eldest son of Nelson and Jane L. Dingley. The following year the parents removed to Parkman, this state, where they kept a country store in connection with the village hotel. The son was distinguished in the district school for his studious habits and good scholarship. At twelve years of age, he attended the high school, three miles distant, walking each morning and night and carrying his dinner pail. When sixteen years of age he organized a temperance society in his town, and from that time to the present he has always taken a deep interest, and been an able and faithful worker, in the great cause of temperance. When seventeen years of age he taught school in the town of China, and continued to teach every win1er but one for the next five years. In 1851, he entered Colby University, then Waterville College, where he remained one year and a half, and then took a course at Dartmouth, from which he graduated in 1855 with high rank in scholarship.

After leaving college, Mr. Dingley studied law with Morrill & Fessenden at Auburn, and was admitted to the Bar in 1856. In September of that year he purchased one-half of the Lewiston Journal, and the year following he became the sole proprietor and editor. At this time, the Journal
was a weekly paper. A daily edition was added in 1861, and Frank L., a younger brother of Nelson, became associated with the paper, which has continued under their management to the present time. It supported the first Republican nominee in this State, and has since that time been an able Republican journal

In 1861 Mr. Dingley received his first election to public office, being only twenty-nine years of age. He was re-elected a member of the Legislature in 1862, 1863, 1864, 1868, and 1873; was speaker in 1863 and 1864. In 1867-8 he was at the head of the State Lodge of Good Templars, and was justly regarded as the leader in the temperance and prohibitory movement in Maine. Mr. Dingley was elected Governor of the State in 1873, and re-elected by an increased majority in 1874, but declined a re-election the following year.

In 1881 he was elected by the Republicans in the second district to fill the vacancy in Congress caused by the election to the Senate of Hon. William P. Frye, and took his seat in the House at the opening of the Forty-seventh Congress, in December of that year. He was re-elected to the Forty-eighth, Forty ninth, Fiftieth, Fifty-first, Fifty-second, and Fifty-third Congresses, and always by good majorities.

Mr. Dingley’s first speech in Congress was made April 25, 1882, on “Protection to American Shipping.” This speech commanded attention both in Congress and throughout the country, especially in commercial circles. It was pronounced by the Washington Star “a speech of much ability and force, giving promise of a successful career in Congress,” and by the Washington correspondent of the New York Tribune ” one of the best speeches ever made by a new member.” He has taken an active part in the discussions of many of the leading measures before the House during his congressional career. Among those may be mentioned the various shipping bills the silver question, reduction of taxation, compulsory pilotage, the tariff, the fishery question, the French spoliation claims, the anti-Chinese bill, etc. Perhaps his greatest efforts in Congress have been devoted to relieving American shipping of many of the burdens resting upon it and to the promotion of that great industry in which many of his constituents have large interests.

Mr. Dingley has served on some of the important committees of the House, notably the Ways and Means, the Appropriations, the Banking and Currency Committee, the Committee on Merchant Marine and Eisheries, and the Select Committee on American Ship-building and Ship-owning Interests In 1884 he reported from the Shipping Committee a bill to remove certain burdens on American shipping, and a bill to “Constitute a Bureau of Navigation” in the Treasury Department, and largely through his labor and influence these bills passed both houses of Congress the same year and became laws.

As a legislator Congressman Dingley is industrious and painstaking, and as a debater he is vigorous and logical. He is thoroughly conscientious and honest in all he does and says, and to these qualities may be attributed largely his success in Congress and throughout his whole public career.

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Hudson Maxim; A Maine Success

All too often we forget about some of the people of Maine who have become successful in their lives, even though they may leave the state. Hudson (born Isaac) Maxim is just one of these men. Born into a poor family in the little town of Orneville, Maine, Hudson left for New Jersey and became one of the most prolific inventors in the field of explosives used by the military. Every person in Maine who hunts with modern smokeless ammunition can thank this Maine born inventor, as he is the inventor of this product, produced and marketed by Dupont. Maxim is important to us today in Maine because he is proof that no matter where you were born, and no matter the circumstances of life, you can do great things. Unfortunately, most references to this great man omit his birthplace, also omitting the pride this small community should have for one of its sons. (photo Library of congress)

HUDSON MAXIM, who next to Edison is probably the greatest scientist and inventor in America, was born in a little backwoods village in Maine. His father was a miller with a large family and a small income. However, the elder Maxim was a man of imagination and inventive skill —traits which his son inherited from him.

The lad, Hudson, possessed unusual physical strength, developed from working in the fields in order to secure funds with which to go to school. He used to walk two miles to the district school, often through snowdrifts almost as high as his head. After absorbing all the knowledge available in the vicinity of Orneville, which was not a great deal, young Maxim was offered a position as teacher in a neighboring school. The job was given him more on account of his muscular build than his store of knowledge, for the school had the reputation of being one of the hardest to manage in Maine, containing a number of rowdies who had thrown the previous teacher out through the window without raising the sash. Young Maxim, however, succeeded in subduing them by thrashing one after the other. After that he was able to start instructing them, at the same time educating himself, so that soon he was able to enter Maine Wesleyan Seminary for a real education.

When twenty-two years old, Hudson Maxim advanced the scientific theory of the “ultimate atom”, which was widely published in scientific journals throughout the country.

But though he knew at this time that his lifework was to be a science, the young man’s researches availed him little money and he was in need of ready cash. So after his graduation from Maine Wesleyan, he spent five years in the book-publishing business, earning enough out of this to start experimenting in the field of explosives on a large scale.

About this time he took a trip to New York that might have cut short his career as a scientist. He was introduced by his brother to some sporting men, who, impressed by his muscular physique and reputation in Maine as a wrestler and boxer, induced him to challenge a wrestler named Flynn, then one of the top-notchers in the game. Young Maxim threw Flynn easily and big money was offered him for a second bout, but Hudson Maxim had other plans.

Going to a small town in New Jersev, he built his first dynamite and smokeless powder mill in I890. Here he worked out the experiments that gave smokeless powder to the United States Army. The Du Pont people afterward bought this invention from him, and Mr. Maxim became their consulting engineer and expert.

From that point on he continued to mount up the ladder, producing one valuable invention after the other. These include Maximite, the first high explosive successfully used in armor piercing projectiles; Stabillite, a development of the smokeless powder idea; and Motorite, which propels torpedoes with compressed air. These discoveries, all conceived and brought to perfection in Mr. Maxim’s private laboratory on his estate at Lake Hopatcong, N. J., have made him the foremost authority on explosives in America.

Of course his work was not without great danger. During one of his experiments an accident occurred that cost the inventor the loss of his left hand. He was many miles from a physician at the time, and it was only his wonderful stamina that enabled him to pull through.

Mr. Maxim is a poet and author, as well as inventor. His book, “defenseless America”, did much to arouse this country to the need of preparedness in the days immediately preceding our entrance into the war.

Though he has invented probably the most terrible engines of destruction, Mr. Maxim is not a militarist.

“War is sometimes a necessity, and when it comes we want the best tools we can get to fight with”, says Mr. Maxim. “But I don’t believe in war, and I am confident the day is coming when peace will be universal. Meantime, the use of such terrible explosives as I have invented makes for peace more than all the sermons that can be delivered.”

Mr. Maxim is a man of boundless energy, even now at the age of sixty-seven. When he feels the need of recreation, he ceases work upon his inventions and, retiring to his library, studies philology or poetry.

The inventor’s pet beliefs at present are that the energy in the sun’s rays can in some way be used by mankind, and that an airplane can be evolved that will encircle the world in seventeen hours.

Probably Mr. Maxim will soon work out these beliefs to practical ends, for he is a dreamer whose dreams generally come true. (From

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Representative Men of Maine; Hon. Thomas B Reed

Hon. Thomas B. Reed

HON. THOMAS B. REED was born in Portland on the 18th of October, 1839. He was educated in the common schools of Portland and at Bowdoin College, where he was graduated in the class of 1860. During the four years immediately following his graduation Mr. Reed was engaged in teaching and in the study of law. He was for a time assistant teacher in the Portland High School. In April, 1864, before he had passed his examination for admission to the Bar, he was appointed Acting Assistant Pay-master in the United States Navy, and was assigned to duty on the “tin clad” Sybil, then under command of Lieut. H. H. Gorringe, later a distinguished officer of the navy.

After the close of the war Mr. Reed returned to Portland and was admitted to the Cumberland Bar. Before three years the Republicans of Portland made him their candidate for one of the seats in the lower branch of the State Legislature. His election followed, and he took his seat in the House in the session of 1868. Mr. Reed was re-elected to the Legislature of 1869, and in 1870 the Republicans of Cumberland County promoted him to a seat in the State Senate.

In his terms of service as a member of the Judiciary Committee Mr. Reed had shown his abilities as a lawyer, and great confidence was felt in his judgment by all with whom he came in contact. So it happened that while acting as a member of the State Senate, he was selected in 1870 by the Republicans of Maine as their candidate for Attorney-General of the State He was elected, and assumed the duties of the office at the age of thirty years, being younger than any man who had held the office since the organization of the State. The three terms which he served in this important office were marked by the trials of many important causes for the State.

In 1874, Mr. Reed became City Solicitor of Portland, and for four years served the city in that capacity. It was a time when the city had large interests at stake, for the management of which Mr. Reed’s experience and ability were most successfully applied.

Mr. Reed was still serving the city of Portland as its Solicitor, when the election of 1876 approached for the choice of members of the Forty-fifth Congress, which was to assemble in December, 1877. Mr. Reed’s friends in the first district determined that he should be the Republican nominee. In a memorable canvass he was nominated and elected. The House of Representatives which he entered was Democratic, as have been all the Houses but two since he has been in Congress. But he was not long in coming to the front, and gave early promise of the distinguished legislative career of influence and leadership which has marked his membership of the House. As speaker of the Fifty-first Congress, and as leader of the Republican side, he has won great fame. Mr. Reed’s speakership marked a new era in the legislative history of Congress. Before that, it had always been within the power of a strong and determined minority to stop any legislation. Minorities had never failed to use this power, and the absurdity of allowing a minority to dictate in a popular government, where all government is supposed to be by majorities, had not only been tolerated, but had actually been elevated to the dignity of a great principle of statesmanship. It was Mr. Reed’s great work to abolish this pernicious usage. His famous rulings caused a tremendous uproar in the national House and throughout the country. He was denounced in unmeasured terms by partisan papers; but his rulings were sustained by the Supreme Court of the United States, and the principle that he enunciated of the inviolability of the right of the majority to rule has been followed by his political opponents. Although they have studiously asserted that the “Reed Rules” would never be adopted by them, they have used analogous methods; and now no minority is allowed to thwart the will of the majority.

As a leader on the floor Mr. Reed has attained distinguished success. This is in a large measure due to the fact that he has added to unrivaled forensic ability good common sense and honesty of purpose. An undoubted partisan, he has always had a firm conviction that in the domination of the Republican Party lies the surest safeguard of the fame and prosperity of his country. Keeping the mission of his party in view, he has never allowed his influence to count for any partisan move of doubtful patriotism. In the present Congress he has just led the Republican minority in the repeal of the Sherman law, when the Democratic majority found itself powerless by itself to carry out the program of its President.

Mr. Reed has not allowed his engrossing duties as a public man to interfere with his taste for literary pursuits. He is a student of English literature and a great admirer of its masterpieces. He is also familiar with the literature of several foreign tongues, and especially French literature. Few names are more familiar on the title pages of the great magazines than his, and the North American Review for the last four years has rarely failed, at any memorable juncture of public affairs, to contain a luminous and charming article from his pen.

Mr. Reed’s attachment to the city of his birth is sincere and strong; and whenever public duties do not call him away, he is to be found at his office or his home in Portland.

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Representative Men of Maine; Sen. William P. Frye

The Honorable William P. Frye

William P. Frye graduated at Bowdoin College in 1850; studied law with Hon. William Pitt Fessenden and began the practice of his profession at Rockland. Soon, however, he removed to Lewiston and entered into a co-partnership with Thomas A. D. Fessenden, which continued until the death of the latter. Mr. Frye then took as a partner Mr. John B. Cotton, who became Assistant Attorney-General under President Harrison; and later, Mr. Wallace H. White, a son-in-law of the Senator, became the junior member of the firm of Frye, Cotton & White.

A fine physique and voice, a logical mind, and a ready tongue, contributed to his success, and he early gained a reputation as an eloquent advocate. The rapidity with which he absorbed the facts in a case and the promptness with which he met any new phase in its development are still subjects of comment in the Bar of Androscoggin County, of which he was the acknowledged leader.

In 1867 he was elected Attorney-General of the State and held the office for three years, during which he conducted the prosecution of several trials for capital offenses in such a manner as to gain a reputation which extended far beyond the .limits of his State.

But he was not allowed to devote himself exclusively to the practice of his profession. He was chosen in 1861, 1862, and 1867 as the Representative of Lewiston in the State Legislature; in 1864 he served as a presidential elector; in 1866 he was elected Mayor of Lewiston and re-elected in 1867; thus holding at one time no less than three public offices. He was a member of the Republican National Executive Committee in 1872; was re-elected in 1876 and again in 1880. He was a delegate to the Republican National Conventions in 1872, 1876, and 1880, and in 1881 was elected chairman of the Republican State Committee, in the place of Hon. James G Blaine. He was chosen Trustee of Bowdoin College in 1880; received the degree of LL.D. from Bates College in 1881 and from Bowdoin in 1889. In 1871 he was elected a Representative to the Forty-second Congress, and he continued to hold a seat in that body until elected, in 1889, to the United States Senate, to fill the vacancy caused by the resignation of the Hon. James G. Blaine. He was re-elected to the Senate in 1883 and again 1888.

In the House of Representatives he was chairman of the Library Committee; served several years on the Judiciary and Ways and Means Committees, and during two Congresses was chairman of the Executive Committee. It was generally conceded that he would have been elected Speaker of the House in the Forty seventh Congress, had he not resigned before it met on account of his election to the Senate. In the House he was prominent as a debater, especially on political questions, displaying a degree of courage and brilliancy sufficient to give him a reputation as one of the foremost champions of the principles of the Republican Party. He took, also, a leading part in the discussion of all important national questions. In the distribution of the Geneva Award, he espoused the cause of the actual losers, conducted the contest in the House through four Congresses, and in the Senate through one, until the bill as originally introduced by him became a law and the entire fund was distributed according to its terms.

In the Senate he was for several years, until the recent change in administration, chairman of the Committee on Commerce, one of the largest and most important in that body. As such, he had charge of all matters relating to the general commerce of the country, and never failed in passing through the Senate measures which he reported from that committee.

In the reorganization of the Senate he retained a place on this committee, and also on that of Foreign Relations, and was given one of the few chairmanships of minor committees which are accorded to the minority.

He took a leading part in all matters touching our fishery relations with Canada. It was largely due to his efforts that the complications of affairs in Samoa were settled. He introduced the bill providing for a Congress of American Nations and took charge of it until it became a law, as he did also of the bill providing for the Maritime Congress and all legislation resulting there from. Indeed, he has been closely identified with most of the important legislation of Congress for the past twenty years.

He has been a political speaker in every campaign for thirty years, speaking in nearly every Northern State. On the platform, as in Congress, his speeches are remarkable, not only for their eloquence, but for the directness and courage with which he expresses his convictions.

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Representative Men of Maine; Sen. Eugene Hale

The Honorable Eugene Hale

The senior Senator from Maine comes from the oldest New England stock His father, James Sullivan Hale, II of Turner, where the Senator was born, was the son of David Hale, who came from Old Newbury in Massachusetts and who was one of the pioneers in Turner, where he settled upon a farm which is still in the possession of the family. The line of descent is clearly traced to Thomas Hale, of Walton, at Stone, Hertfordshire, England, who came with his wife, Thomasine, to Newbury in 1635, bringing a letter of introduction to Governor John Winthrop from Francis Kirby, a maternal relative, a copy of which letter is found in Volume VII of the collection of the Massachusetts Historical Society.

Senator Hale’s mother was Betsey Staples, who came from an old Turner family. The children of James Sullivan and Betsey Hale were Eugene, Hortense, who married Dr. John T. Cushing and now lives on the homestead, Frederick, who was a lawyer and partner of Senator Hale and who died in 1868, Augusta, the wife of George Gifford, United States Consul at Basle, Switzerland, and Clarence, who is a leading lawyer in Portland.

Eugene Hale was born in Turner, June 9, 1836; attended the village district school and the grammar school endowed by the town, and went from Hebron Academy into the office of Howard & Strout in Portland, where he studied law and was admitted to the Bar in January, 1857.

At the age of twenty he commenced the practice of law in Orland, but soon removed to Ellsworth and became a member of the firm of Robinson & Hale. Mr. Robinson soon died, and Mr. Hale for ten years devoted himself closely to his profession and built up a large practice He was a sound counselor and one of the most successful lawyers with both court and jury. He was for nine successive years County Attorney for Hancock County. For many years he was senior member of the firm of Hale & Emery, and, since the latter’s elevation to the bench of the Supreme Court, the firm has consisted of Mr. Hale and Hannibal E. Hamlin, a son of the late and venerated Hannibal Hamlin.

In December, 1871, Mr. Hale was married in Washington to Mary Douglas Chandler, the only daughter of Hon. Zachariah Chandler, long time a Senator from Michigan and afterwards Secretary of the Interior. Their children are three sons, Chandler, Frederick, and Eugene, Jr.

Mr. Hale was a member of the Maine Legislature in 1867, 1868, and 1880. In that body he soon proved a ready debater and to be remarkably well versed in the political questions of the time. In 1880 he was appointed chairman of the committee of the Legislature to investigate what has since become familiarly known as the “State Steal,” and it is recognized as largely through his efforts that this scheme was thwarted and exposed.

He was elected to the Forty-first Congress in 1868 and afterwards to the Forty-second and Forty-third Congresses; was appointed Postmaster-General by President Grant in 1874, but declined ; was re-elected to the Forty-fourth and Forty-fifth Congresses ; was tendered a cabinet appointment as Secretary of the Navy by President Hayes, and declined ; was chairman of the Republican Congressional Committee for the Forty-fifth Congress ; was a delegate to the National Convention in 1868 and the Cincinnati and Chicago Conventions in 1876 and 1880, leading the Blaine forces in both conventions ; was elected to the United States Senate to succeed Hannibal Hamlin and took his seat March 4, 1881, and was re-elected in 1887 and in 1893. For the three elections he received the unanimous nomination of his party in the Legislature.

He was a member of important committees in the House of Representatives, and upon his coming to the Senate, in 1891, he was given a place on the committees on Appropriation and Naval Affairs. He was also made chairman of the Committee on the Census, which position he continued to occupy till the Democrats gained control of that body in 1893. He is at present a member of the Committee on Appropriations, Naval Affairs, Census, Canadian Relations, and chairman of the Committee on Private Land Claims.

Senator Hale has always taken a prominent part in the legislation of the Senate. Several of the more important appropriation bills have been made under his management. Representing both the Appropriation and Naval Committees, he has reported and managed every bill which has passed the Senate for the building of the new navy. He introduced the first amendment favoring reciprocity with the countries of Central and South America, which he supported with speeches that received wide circulation. His political speeches in the Senate are sharp, but never ill natured. His speech upon the Free Trade attitude of the Democratic Convention in 1882 was as widely circulated as any speech during the campaign. He has taken a prominent part in the debates relating to the affairs of the District of Columbia; has favored suitable appropriations for the necessary buildings for the public business there, and has persistently opposed the introduction of overhead wires in the street railways of the capital city.

Senator Hale is always recognized as a wise counselor in party politics. He is an easy and forcible speaker; his words are carefully selected, and his extemporaneous speeches require no revision. He is a popular after-dinner speaker; and on these occasions, both where great subjects are presented and where wit and merriment abound, he is in his element.

He is a wide reader, keeping alive his love for books, and delights especially in poetry. His style has been formed on the best of models in English Literature. He has received the degree of LL D. from Hates College and from Colby University.

Senator Hale is a believer in Maine and her future. His investments testify to this, commencing with his beautiful home on the heights at Ellsworth, surrounded by several hundred acres of field and woodland, and continuing in extensive purchases of timber lands and sea-shore property, interests in cotton, woolen and pulp mills, and other manufactories.

Senator Hale is known throughout the State and Nation as a man of broad and genial social nature; and this perhaps accounts for the close and cordial personal feeling which binds him to his friends. He is a liberal entertainer both in Washington and in Ellsworth. At his home, “The Pines,” during the summer vacation, many friends, both from within and without the State, gladly accept his hospitalities. Mrs. Hale is an accomplished hostess and delights in nothing more than in looking after a house full of friends.

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Representative Men of Maine: Henry B. Cleaves

The Honorable Henry B. Cleaves

The present Governor of Maine comes of a good, solid family. His father was Thomas Cleaves, a native of Bridgton, Maine, a man of great energy and of the strictest integrity. His mother, Sophia Bradstreet Cleaves, a most worthy woman, was a daughter of Daniel Bradstreet, who, in the early days of Bridgton, came from Rowley, Massachusetts. They had five children, Robert A. Cleaves, Nathan Cleaves, Thomas P. Cleaves, Henry B. Cleaves, and Mary S. Cleaves, wife of William W. Mason. Judge Nathan Cleaves, the senior member of the firm of Nathan & Henry B. Cleaves, died September 5, 1892. Judge Cleaves had been a resident of Portland for nearly thirty years, and was closely identified with her interests. He was graduated from Bowdoin College in 1858; he had attained eminence in his profession as a lawyer, and had occupied many positions of honor and public trust. He was held in the highest esteem and the expressions of sorrow at his death were universal throughout the State.

Henry B. Cleaves was born in Bridgton in 1840, and educated in the common schools of his native town and at Bridgton Academy. He enlisted in the summer of 1862, as a private soldier in Co. B, 23d Maine Volunteers, under Col. William Wirt Virgin, late a justice of the Supreme Judicial Court of the State of Maine. He served during his first enlistment at Poolsville on the Potomac and at Harper’s Ferry, and was promoted to the position of Orderly Sergeant of Co. B. The regiment was mustered out at the expiration of its term of service. Sergeant Cleaves immediately re-enlisted for three years under General Francis Fessenden, who was recruiting a veteran regiment for active service in the South. Young Cleaves was appointed 1st Lieutenant of Co. F, and a portion of the time during his service was in command of Co. E, the officers of the latter company having been either killed or disabled in action. Lieutenant Cleaves, during his latter enlistment, served a portion of the time in the Department of the Gulf. He participated in various engagements under General Banks on the Red River expedition, and was with General Fessenden at Mansfield, Pleasant Hill, and Cane River Crossing. After the close of the campaign in Louisiana, the regiment was ordered to Virginia and Lieutenant Cleaves served during the remainder of the war in the Army of the Potomac and under General Sheridan in the Shenandoah Valley. When mustered out of service at the close of the war, he was offered, but declined, a commission in the regular army by Secretary of War Stanton.

At the close of the war he returned to his home in Bridgton, and was employed on the farm and in the lumber business. In January, 1868, he began the study of law, and was admitted to the Bar the following September. He removed to Portland and formed a law partnership with his brother, the late Judge Nathan Cleaves. They always enjoyed a large and lucrative practice, the firm being extensively known throughout the State and New England. The surviving members of the firm are Governor Cleaves and Stephen C. Perry, of Portland.

Governor Cleaves was a member of the Legislature from Portland in 1876 and 1877, and was appointed chairman of the Judiciary Committee. He was elected City Solicitor of Portland in 1877, and during his two years of office tried many important cases for the city. He was made Attorney-General of the State in 1880, and was twice re-elected. During his term of office as Attorney-General, he was engaged in the prosecution of a large number of prominent criminal cases, and in prosecution of the State tax cases against the railroads.

Governor Cleaves is a prominent member of the Grand Army and the Maine State Veteran Association. In the practice of his profession, and in matters of charity, he has always shown a great friendship for the old soldier. His successful defence of William T. Best, a disabled veteran, in the extradition proceedings brought against him a few years ago by the Province of New Brunswick, will be readily recalled, as it excited great interest at the time.

Governor Cleaves’s first vote for President was cast for Abraham Lincoln, while he was still in active service in Virginia, in the fall of 1864. He has always been a Republican, and was unanimously nominated as the Republican candidate for Governor at the Republican State Convention held in Portland, June, 1892. He was elected in September, and inaugurated as Governor of the State on the 5th day of January last. He came to the position with a large experience in public affairs and is giving the people of the State a most excellent administration.

About the book Representative Men of Maine;


A Collection Of Portraits With Biographical Sketches Of Residents Of The State Who Have Achieved Success And Are Prominent in Commercial, Industrial, Professional And Political Life, To Which Is Added.

Since The Formation Of The State. The Men Who Have Helped Make And Who Are Making The History Of The State.

Prepared Under The Direction Of HENRY CHASE.

PORTLAND, ME, The Lakeside Press, Publishers. 1893

The Representative Men of Maine was published in 1893 and shares the biographies of important and influential men of Maine that works to create one of the greatest states in the nation. I will be listing the portraits and biographies directly from this book here over the next few weeks.

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