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Governor Sumner Sewall

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Office Dates:  Jan 01, 1941 - Jan 03, 1945

Born:  Jun 17, 1897

Passed:  Jan 25, 1965

Birth State:  Maine

Party:  Republican

Family:  Married Helen Ellena Evans

School(s):  Harvard University

Military Service:  Air Force

Awards: Distinguished Service Cross with Oak Leaf, the French Legion of Honor, the Croix de Guerre, and the Order of the Crown of Belgium


SUMNER SEWALL, the fifty-eighth governor of Maine, was born in Bath, Maine on June 17, 1897. His education was attained in the Bath public school system, and at Harvard University, where he earned both his undergraduate and law degrees. During World War I, he served in France, as a driver for the American Ambulance Field Service. He later enlisted and served in the 95th Squadron of the 1st Pursuit Group with the rank of second lieutenant. He was decorated for his heroic flying, and was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross with Oak Leaf, the French Legion of Honor, the Croix de Guerre, and the Order of the Crown of Belgium. After his military service, Sewall established a successful career in the burgeoning air industry. He was instrumental in launching the Colonial Air Transport Co., which led to the nation’s first airmail contract. Sewall entered politics in 1933, serving as the alderman of Bath. He also served as a member of the Maine House of Representatives from 1934 to 1936, and was a member of the Maine State Senate from 1936 to 1940, serving the last two years as president. Sewall won the 1940 Republican gubernatorial nomination, and then went on to win the general election by a popular vote. He was reelected to a second term in 1942. During his tenure, World War II issues were dealt with, and the state’s economy boomed with the increased production of wartime goods. After completing his term, Sewall left office on January 3, 1945, and retired from political life. He returned to the aviation business, serving as president of the American Overseas Airlines. He later served in Germany as the military governor of Wurttenberg-Bade in 1946. Governor Sumner Sewall passed away on January 25, 1965, and was buried in the Oak Grove Cemetery in Bath, Maine.

Sources:

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.

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