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Governor Charles Paine

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Office Dates:  Oct 15, 1841 - Oct 13, 1843

Born:  Apr 15, 1799

Passed:  Jul 06, 1853

Birth State:  Vermont

Party:  Whig

Family:  Unmarried; two children

School(s):  Harvard University

CHARLES PAINE was born in Williamstown, Vermont. After graduating from Harvard in 1816, he managed his father's businesses. He founded the Vermont Central Railroad, becoming its first president. In the gubernatorial election of 1841, neither Paine as the Whig candidate nor his Democratic opponent garnered the majority of the popular vote, leaving the decision of who would be governor to the state legislature, which chose Paine. Paine was reelected by popular vote the following year. His business acumen played a significant role in his gubernatorial administration, which focused on establishing stricter accounting of public funds. Paine also sought-though unsuccessfully-to make colleges, academies, and the common schools all part of a single educational system. Declining renomination for governor in 1843, he devoted the remainder of his life to expanding the national railroad system. He died while on a visit to Waco, Texas to explore the route for a Pacific railroad, and was interred in Williamstown, the city of his birth.


Sobel, Robert, and John Raimo, eds. Biographical Directory of the Governors of the United States, 1789-1978, Vol. 4. Westport, CT: Meckler Books, 1978. 4 vols.

The National Cyclopaedia of American Biography, Vol. 8. New York: James T. White & Company.

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