(1811-1870), Governor of Maine from 1864 to 1867, was born in Augusta on February 27, 1811 in a politically active family with a military tradition. His father, General Samuel Cony, was the first Adjutant-General of Maine, holding that office for a decade, and was a representative of Augusta to the Massachusetts General Court.
Educated at the town schools, private tutors, and China Academy, the future Governor Cony graduated from Brown University in 1829. He studied law, was admitted to the bar in 1832, and moved to Old Town where he remained for eighteen years.
At the age of twenty four he was elected to the Legislature; at twenty-eight he was a member of the Executive Council, then Judge of Probate for Penobscot County. In 1847 Cony was appointed Land Agent for the State.
When he was elected State Treasurer, a post he held for five years, he moved back to Augusta where he remained and became its Mayor in 1854. A “War Democrat,” Cony supported the Union vigorously in his new term in the Legislature in 1862.
Nominated by the Republican Party in 1862, he was elected Governor by a large majority, and reelected twice. Following governors Coburn and Washburn, both “War Governors,” Cony supported the President’s calls for troops and supplies to aid the Union cause.
After apparently enjoying a comfortable retirement, Samuel Cony died on October 5, 1870.
The Governor Samuel Cony House, also known as William Payson Viles House, at 71 Stone Street in Augusta, is on National Register of Historic Places. The Register summarizes its significance as follows:
Historic Significance: Person, Architecture/Engineering
Architect, builder, or engineer: Davis, A.J.; Thomas, John P.
Architectural Style: Classical Revival
Historic Person: Cony, Gov. Samuel, et al.
Significant Year: 1930, 1846
Area of Significance: Architecture, Politics/Government
Period of Significance: 1825-1849, 1850-1874, 1875-1899, 1925-1949
See Augusta Historic Register for more details.
*Biographical Encyclopedia of Maine of the 19th Century. Boston: Metropolitan Publishing and Engraving Company, 1885, pp. 127-134.
Chase, Henry, ed. Representative Men of Maine.
*Kingsbury, Henry D. Illustrated History of Kennebec County, Maine. New York: H.W. Blake & Company, 1892, pp. 468-469.
*North, James W. The History of Augusta. Augusta: Clapp and North, 1870, p. 839.
*Cited in Friends of the Blaine House at http://blainehouse.org/governors (accessed April 26, 2011)