Maine: An Encyclopedia
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Sewall, Arthur

(1896-1900) was born in Bath, son of one of the City’s first shipbuilders, in whose shipyards he worked learning the trade. In 1854, he and his brother Edward formed E. & A. Sewall continuing their father’s business. It became Arthur Sewall & Co. when his brother died.

Arthur Sewall’s firm built 80 ships over 50 years. During the Civil War his ship Vigilant was captured by the Sumter, a Confederate blockade raider. In 1892 his company built the largest wooden sailing ship in the United States, the Roanoke. In 1894 he launched the first American-built, steel-hulled, square-rigger, the Dirigo.

Sewall was president (1884-1893) of the Maine Central Railroad, president of the Eastern Railroad, the Boston and Maine Railroad and others. He was also president of the Bath National Bank from 1871 to 1900.

He was a leader of the Democratic Party in Maine, serving on the Democratic National Committee.  In 1893, he was a candidate for the U.S. Senate, losing the election in the Republican-dominated state legislature. The national Democratic Party nominated him as their vice-presidential candidate, along with presidential candidate William Jennings Bryan, in 1896.

Arthur Sewall died at his summer home at Small Point in Phippsburg September 5, 1900.

Additional resources

“Biographies: Arthur Sewall.” Harpweek. http://elections.harpweek.com/1896/bio-1896-Full.asp?UniqueID=4&Year=1896 (accessed April 17, 2015)

Bunting, William Henry. Live Yankees: the Sewalls and their Ships. Gardiner, Me. Tilbury House. Bath, Me.  Maine Maritime Museum. 2009.

Yakowicz, Susie. Steel Glory: The Life of Shipbuilder Arthur Sewall, 1835-1900. Eagan, Minn. S. Yakowicz. c1996.

 
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This entry was last modified: April 17, 2015 04:33 PM

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