Maine: An Encyclopedia

Plaisted, Harris M.

Harris M. Plaisted (courtesy Maine State Museum)

Harris M. Plaisted (courtesy Maine State Museum)

(1828-1898) a U.S. Representative, was born in Jefferson, Coos County, New Hampshire on November 2, 1828. He attended the common schools, and was graduated from Waterville College in 1853 and from the Albany (New York) Law School in 1856. His son, Frederick W. Plaisted was governor 1911-1913.

Plaisted was admitted to the bar and commenced practice in Bangor in 1856. During the Civil War he served in the Union Army and was commissioned lieutenant colonel of the Eleventh Regiment, Maine Infantry on October 30, 1861, and colonel May 12, 1862. He was brevetted brigadier general of Volunteers on February 21, 1865 and major general on March 13, 1865.

A member of the Maine House of Representatives in 1867 and 1868, he was a delegate to the Republican National Convention in 1868; and Attorney General of Maine (1873-1875).

Elected as a Republican to the Forty-fourth Congress to fill the vacancy caused by the death of Samuel F. Hersey, he served from September 13, 1875, to March 3, 1877, but was not a candidate for renomination in 1876.

He was Governor of Maine (1881-1883), elected on a “fusionist” platform.  The fusionists were an alliance of the Greenbacks and the Democrats, whose mutual goal was to oppose the Republican candidate seeking reelection, Daniel F. Davis. Plaisted, now a former Republican, identified with the Greenback Party.

Author of “Digest of Maine Reports from 1820 to 1880,” Plaisted was also editor and publisher of the New Age newspaper in Augusta, from 1883 until his death. He died in Bangor January 31, 1898, with interment in Mount Hope Cemetery.

Additional sources

Chase, Henry. ed. Representative Men of Maine.

Jordan, David M. Winfield Scott Hancock: A Soldier’s Life.  Bloomington, IN. Indiana University Press. 1995. p. 296.  Referenced at (October 31, 2013)

*Kennebec Journal, Augusta, January 31, 1898.

Letter to Republicans of the 4th Congressional District of Maine, presenting claims of General Plaisted as a candidate for Congress. 1876. (Maine State Library)

Life and public services of Gen’l Harris M. Plaisted. Portland, Me.  New Era Publishing. 1880.

Lowell, James Mark. Report of the trial of James M. Lowell, indicted for the murder of his wife, Mary Elizabeth Lowell, before the Supreme judicial court of Maine, for Androscoggin County; containing the evidence, arguments of the counsel and the charge of the court, in full, with the verdict of the jury and sentence of the prisoner, and an appendix. By H. M. Plaisted . Portland, Me. Dresser, McLellan & co. 1875.

*McIntyre, Philip W. and Blanding, William F.  Men of Progress.  Boston: New England Magazine, pp. 222-229.

*Moody, Robert E.  “Harris Merrill Plaisted,” Dictionary of American Biography.  New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1933, Vol. 14, pp. 645-646.

Plaisted, Harris M. Frederick H. Appleton. The Maine Digest: being a digest of the decisions of the Supreme Judicial Court of Maine, from 1820 to 1879, reported in Maine reports, volumes 1 to 68, inclusive. Portland, Me. Dresser, McLellan & Co. 1880.

Plaisted, Harris M.  Papers of Harris M. Plaisted. 1858-1895. (Maine State Library)


*Cited in Friends of the Blaine House at April 25, 2011) (accessed April 25, 2011)

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This entry was last modified: January 20, 2014 01:48 AM

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