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Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain

Gov. Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain

  • January 2, 1867 - January 4, 1871
  • Republican
  • September 8, 1828
  • February 24, 1914
  • Louisiana
  • Bowdoin College
  • Married Frances Caroline Adams; five children
  • Army, National Guard
  • Congressional Medal of Honor


JOSHUA L. CHAMBERLAIN, the thirty-second governor of Maine, was born in Brewer, Maine on September 8, 1828. His education was attained at an Ellsworth military academy, at Bowdoin College, where he graduated in 1852, and at the Bangor Theological Seminary. Chamberlain had a successful career in education, teaching rhetoric and modern languages at Bowdoin College. During the Civil War, he enlisted and served as a lieutenant colonel of the 20th Maine Infantry. He later rose to the rank of major general, and fought courageously in numerous battles, earning the Congressional Medal of Honor for his heroism. Chamberlain entered politics in 1866, winning the Republican gubernatorial nomination. He was elected governor by a popular vote, and then went on to win reelection in 1867, 1868, and 1869. During his tenure, the prohibition question continued to remain unsettled, and a new agricultural and technical college was authorized. After completing his term, Chamberlain left office on January 4, 1871. He returned to his teaching duties at Bowdoin College, where he also served as president from 1871 to 1883. He later served as major general of the state militia and was the surveyor of the port of Portland from 1900 to 1908. Governor Joshua L. Chamberlain passed away on February 24, 1914 and was buried at the Pine Grove Cemetery in Brunswick, 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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