Maine: An Encyclopedia
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Kent, Edward

(1802-1877) was born in Concord, New Hampshire on January 8, 1802.

After studying law with Benjamin Orr of Topsham, Kent began his own practice in Bangor in September of 1825. He later was a partner in several law firms and held various judicial positions.

After several terms in local office, he was elected from Bangor to the Legislature in 1828 and 1829. In 1836 “Judge” Kent was elected Bangor’s second mayor, and in the same year was nominated as the Whig candidate for Governor.

Though defeated by incumbent Governor Dunlap, he won the post in the 1837 election by a narrow margin. The election, especially the legality of certain returns and votes, was challenged by the Democrats. The Maine Supreme Court, however, ruled in Kent’s favor. During the Aroostook War, a fort was constructed to assert Maine’s authority in the northern part of the state. Fort Kent became the name of the fortification as well as the town later formed at the site.

He was ousted the next year by John Fairfield, but came back to win in 1841 when the Whig controlled Legislature elected him, there being no majority in the popular vote for any candidate.  Kent was the first of only two people to be reelected after being out of the governor’s office; the other was John W. Dana.

After returning to his law practice, and a diplomatic tour as Counsel to Rio de Janeiro, Kent was appointed Associate Justice of the Maine Supreme Court, a position he held for fourteen years.

Again he returned to his practice and was President of the Convention in 1875 for the amendment of the Maine Constitution.

Edward Kent died in Bangor on May 19, 1877.

Additional resources

Chase, Henry, ed. Representative Men of Maine.

*Biographical Encyclopedia of Maine of the 19th Century. Boston: Metropolitan Publishing and Engraving Company, 1885, pp. 84-91.

*“Death of Edward Kent at Bangor,” Eastern Argus, Portland, May 21, 1877.

“Edward Kent,” Bangor Whig & Courier, May 21, 1877.

*Gold, David M. “Edward Kent,” American National Biography. New York: Oxford University Press, 1999, Vol. 12, pp. 594-595.

*Hormell, Oren C. “Edward Kent,” Dictionary of American Biography. New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1933, Vol. 10, pp. 343-344.

*Williams, H.C. “Edward Kent,” Maine Historical and Genealogical Recorder, Bangor, October, 1893, pp. 177-180.

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*Cited in “Edward Kent” Friends of the Blaine House at http://blainehouse.org/governors/Edward_Kent.html (accessed April 20, 2011)

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