Maine: An Encyclopedia
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Wells, Samuel

Samuel Wells (courtesy Maine State Museum)

Samuel Wells (courtesy Maine State Museum)

(1801-1868) was born in Durham, New Hampshire on August 15, 1801. He was a lawyer and began his practice in Waterville in 1816, moved to Hallowell in 1835 and to Portland in 1844.

On September 28, 1847 Wells was appointed Associate Justice of the Maine Supreme Court by Governor Dana. A strong Democrat, he resigned his judicial position to successfully run for Governor in 1855.

Though nominated again in 1856, the Democratic Party was badly split on the issues of slavery and temperance. Democrats who opposed the extension of slavery to Kansas and Nebraska and who favored prohibition of alcohol joined the new Republican Party.

Hannibal Hamlin lead that party to victory in 1856 and insured the Democrats would not gain the Governor’s office for the next twenty years. The Whigs were greater victims of the time an soon disappeared as a political party.

Wells retreated from public affairs and eventually moved to Boston. He died there on July 15, 1868.

Additional resources

Chase, Henry, ed. Representative Men of Maine.

“Ex Gov. Wells,” Eastern Argus, Portland, July 18, 1868.

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*Cited in  Friends of the Blaine House at http://blainehouse.org/governors (accessed April 26, 2011)

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This entry was last modified: September 30, 2013 06:39 PM

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