JOSEPH R. BODWELL, the fortieth governor of Maine, was born in Methuen, Massachusetts on June 18, 1818. His education was limited and attained in the common schools of his native state. Due to the family's dire financial situation, young Bodwell was sent to live with his older sister's husband, where he worked as a farm hand and a shoemaker. He later worked on Lawrence Dam improvement project, hauling stone and learning the stone cutting business. He eventually became the owner of two stone companies, becoming one of the largest granite producers in the country. Bodwell entered politics in 1869, serving as the mayor of Hallowell, an office he held two years. He also served two terms as a member of the city legislature. In 1866, Bodwell won the Republican gubernatorial nomination, and then went on to win the general election by a popular vote. He was sworn into office on January 5, 1887. During his tenure, the improvement of labor conditions was endorsed, and child welfare programs were advocated. While still in office, Governor Joseph Bodwell passed away on December 15, 1887. He was buried at the Hallowell Cemetery in Hallowell, Maine.
Sobel, Robert, and John Raimo, eds. Biographical Directory of the Governors of the United States, 1789-1978, Vol. 2, Westport, Conn.; Meckler Books, 1978. 4 vols.