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Edward Kent (January 8, 1802 – May 19, 1877) was the Governor of the U.S. state of Maine during the Aroostook War. Born in 1802 in Concord, New Hampshire, he later moved to Bangor, Maine and spent the rest of his life there. He was among the last prominent members of the Whig Party in Maine before it collapsed in favor of the Republicans. He is the only Maine governor to have served two non-consecutive terms (1838–39 and 1841–42), though his second term was through direct appointment by the Whig-dominated legislature.

Kent graduated from Harvard in 1821, in the same class as Ralph Waldo Emerson. According to a biographical article reprinted in the New York Times, "he had no rank in college and in truth was President of the 'Lazy Club'". He apprenticed as a lawyer in Topsham, Maine, but established his own practice in the growing lumber-port of Bangor in 1825. He was elected to the Maine Legislature in 1829 and held political offices on and off the rest of his life, becoming the 2nd Mayor of Bangor (1836–37), then Governor, and then U.S. Consul in Rio de Janeiro (1849–53). Tragedy struck him in Rio when two of his three children, along with his wife, died of yellow fever. His surviving child died soon after they returned to Bangor. Kent married a second time, however, and had one more child, Edward Kent, Jr., who became the Chief Justice of the Arizona Territory Supreme Court.[1]

Kent went into practice with Jonas Cutting in 1831 and their partnership lasted 18 years. The two even built a double-house together, in Bangor's Broadway neighborhood, which is presently listed on the National Register of Historic Places as a unique example of the Greek Revival style.[2]

Kent ended his public life as an Associate Justice of the Maine Supreme Judicial Court (1859–73). His law partner and neighbor Jonas Cutting served almost concurrently in the same position (1854–75). Kent's uncle Prentiss Mellen had been the first Chief Justice of the same court.

Kent played a part in both instigating and resolving the Aroostook War. Fort Kent, situated where the Fish River meets the St. John River in the St. John River Valley, was named in his honor. Later, the town of Fort Kent, Maine was named for the military installation (of which only a single blockhouse survives) and for Governor Kent. He died of congestive heart failure in 1877 in Bangor, Maine, and is buried at the Mount Auburn Cemetery in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

References

  1. ^ "Edward Kent: Anecdotes of the Governor for Whom Maine Went", New York Times, Dec. 4, 1881, p. 2; Henry Chase, "Edward Kent", Representative Men of Maine (Portland, 1893)
  2. ^ Ibid
Political offices
Preceded by
Robert Dunlap
Governor of Maine
1838 – 1839
Succeeded by
John Fairfield
Preceded by
John Fairfield
Governor of Maine
1841 – 1842
Succeeded by
John Fairfield
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