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John Winchester Dana

Gov. John Winchester Dana

  • January 3, 1844 - January 3, 1844
    April 13, 1847 - April 8, 1850
  • Democratic
  • June 21, 1808
  • December 22, 1867
  • Maine
  • Fryeburg Academy
  • Married Eliza Ann Osgood; five children
  • Succeeded, NGA Chair


JOHN W. DANA, the nineteenth governor and twenty-first governor of Maine, was born in Fryeburg, Maine on June 21, 1808. His education was attained in the common schools, and at the Fryeburg Academy in his native state. After a career in the mercantile business, Dana entered into politics. He served as a member of the Maine House of Representatives from 1841 to 1842, and was a member of the Maine State Senate from 1843 to 1844, serving as senate president in the latter year. On January 3, 1844, Acting Governor David Dunn resigned from office, and Dana, who was president of the senate at the time, assumed the duties of the governorship. He served only that day, abdicating the office to Hugh Anderson, the new governor elect. In 1846, Dana was elected to his own gubernatorial term. He won reelection in 1847 and 1848. During his tenure, anti-slavery measures were endorsed, and William Moore was appointed to the State Senate. After completing his term, Dana left office on May 8, 1850. He later secured an appointment as minister to Bolivia, a post he held from 1853 to 1859. After running unsuccessfully for reelection to the governor’s office in 1861, Dana retired from public service, and moved to South America. After contracting cholera in Argentina, Governor John W. Dana passed away on December 22, 1867. Several years later, he was reinterred in the village cemetery in Fryeburg, 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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