ISRAEL WASHBURN JR.., the twenty-ninth governor of Maine, was born in Livermore, Maine on June 6, 1813. His early education was attained by private tutors and in the common schools of his native state. He studied law, was admitted to the bar in 1834, and established a successful legal practice in Orono, Maine. Washburn entered politics in 1842, serving as a member of the Maine House of Representatives, a position he held until 1843. He also served as a member of the U.S. House of Representatives from 1851 to 1861. Although he was elected to the House as a Whig, Washburn helped found the Republican Party in 1854 in response to the passage of the Kansas-Nebraska Act. Washburn won the 1860 Republican gubernatorial nomination and was elected governor by a popular vote on September 10, 1860. He was reelected to a second term in 1861. During his tenure, a fort at the mouth of the Kennebec River was authorized, a partial geological survey of the state was initiated, and revenue profits were utilized to finish construction on a railroad from Nova Scotia to Portland, Maine. Also, the approaching civil war was dealt with. Volunteers, arms, and equipment were raised, and provisions were installed that granted the governor power to organize a coast guard if needed. After completing his term, Washburn left office on January 7, 1863. He later secured an appointment as Collector of Customs for the port of Portland, a post he held from 1863 to 1877. He also was the author of Notes, Historical, Descriptive, and Personal of Livermore, Maine, and served as president of the board of trustees for Tufts College in Massachusetts, as well as serving as president of the Rumford Falls and Buckfield Railroad. Governor Israel Washburn Jr. passed away on May 12, 1883 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.