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Harris Merrill Plaisted

Gov. Harris Merrill Plaisted

  • January 13, 1881 - January 13, 1883
  • Greenback
  • November 2, 1828
  • January 31, 1898
  • New Hampshire
  • Waterville University, Albany Law School
  • Married twice--Sarah J. Mason, Mabel True Hill; four children
  • Representative
  • Army


HARRIS M. PLAISTED, the thirty-eighth governor of Maine, was born in Jefferson, New Hampshire on November 2, 1828. His education was attained at Waterville College, where he graduated in 1853, and at the Albany Law School, where he earned a law degree in 1856. Later that year, he was admitted to the bar, and then established a successful legal practice in Bangor, Maine. During the Civil War, he was commissioned lieutenant colonel of the 11th Maine Regiment. He rose through the ranks, attaining the status of colonel, brigadier general, and major general by brevet. Plaisted entered politics in 1867, serving as a member of the Maine House of Representatives, a position he was reelected to in 1868. He also served as a delegate to the 1868 Republican National Convention, was the attorney general of Maine from 1873 to 1875 and served as a member of the U.S. House of Representatives from 1875 to 1877. After becoming disillusioned with the Republican Party, Plaisted switched his political allegiance, joining the Greenback Party in 1879. He won the Democratic gubernatorial nomination and was elected governor as a fusion candidate of the Greenbacks and Democrats in 1880. He was sworn into office on January 13, 1881. During his tenure, the Republican majority assembly contested his political appointments. After losing his reelection bid, Plaisted left office on January 3, 1883, and retired from public service. From 1884 to 1898 he served as the editor and publisher of the New Age in Augusta, Maine. Governor Harris M. Plaisted passed away on January 31, 1898 and was buried at the Mount Hope Cemetery in Bangor, 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.

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