Maine: An Encyclopedia
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Crosby, William G.

William G. Crosby (courtesy Maine State Museum)

William G. Crosby (courtesy Maine State Museum)

(1805-1881) was born in Belfast on September 10, 1805. He was educated at Belfast Academy and graduated from Bowdoin College just before his eighteenth birthday. He was the first person born in Belfast to receive a college education.

His contemporaries included Franklin Pierce, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Henry W. Longfellow, and William Pitt Fessenden, among other notables. Crosby was interested in poetry and some of his works were published in the newspapers of the time.

After a legal education, and an apprenticeship with his father in Boston, in 1828 he returned to Belfast to practice.

Politically a Whig, he was an unsuccessful candidate for Congress in 1838. He actively campaigned for “Harrison and Reform” during the presidential election of 1840, and attended the 1844 National Convention that nominated Henry Clay for President.

Though he was an unsuccessful candidate for Governor in 1850, he won election in 1852 not by popular mandate but by the Legislature. In that year the Democrats won a plurality of the popular vote, but not a majority. After a protracted struggle, the Legislature chose Cosby even though he lagged the Democrat by over 10,000 popular votes.

After two years as Governor, he retired to many years of professional and civic pursuits. He died on March 21, 1881.

Additional resources

Chase, Henry, ed. Representative Men of Maine.

Crosby, William George. Annals of Belfast for Half a Century. Belfast, Me. W.G. Crosby. 1875.

Maine. Governor (1853-1855) Crosby. Address of Governor Crosby: to both branches of the Legislature of the State of Maine, January, 1853. Augusta, Me. Office of the Governor., 1853. (W.T. Johnson)

Maine. Governor (1853-1855) Crosby. Address of Governor Crosby: to the Legislature of the State of Maine, February 8, 1854. Augusta, Me. Office of the Governor. 1854. (W.T. Johnson)

*Williamson, Joseph.  “Gov. William G. Crosby,” Maine Historical and Genealogical Recorder.  Bangor, 1887, pp. 153-160.

*Williamson, Joseph.  History of the City of Belfast.  Portland: Loring, Short and Harmon, 1877, p. 400.

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

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