JOHN ABNER MEAD was born in Fair Haven, Vermont. His studies at Middlebury College were interrupted while he served in the Vermont Volunteers for about nine months during the Civil War. He was later Brigadier-General on Governor Redfield Proctor’s staff. After graduating from Middlebury, he studied medicine at the College of Physicians and Surgeons of the Columbia University Medical College and became house physician at King’s County Hospital in Brooklyn, New York. He later moved to Rutland, Vermont, where he practiced medicine until 1888, when he was appointed chair in the medical department at the University of Vermont. When business pressures necessitated giving up his medical practice, he associated with a number of banking firms and served as director of the Rutland Railroad Company and president of the John A. Mead Manufacturing Company. His elected and appointed positions in the public sector included terms as both a state Senator and state Representative, Surgeon-General on the staff of Governor Redfield Proctor, Commissioner to the Columbian Exposition in Chicago in 1893 by the appointment of Governor Levi Fuller, Commissioner to the Mexican National Exposition by the appointment of Governor Urban Woodbury, Medical Superintendent of the House of Corrections, and Lieutenant Governor. Elected governor in 1910, Mead presided over the state legislature’s reapportionment of state senatorial districts. In addition legislation was enacted during his administration establishing a State School of Agriculture, requiring the registration of nurses, and providing for a direct primary. Mead died at his home in Rutland.
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. 19. New York: James T. White & Company.