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Nelson Dingley

Gov. Nelson Dingley

  • January 7, 1874 - January 5, 1876
  • Republican
  • February 15, 1832
  • January 13, 1899
  • Maine
  • Waterville College, Dartmouth College, Bates College
  • Married Salome McKenney; five children
  • Representative


NELSON DINGLEY, JR., the thirty-fourth governor of Maine, was born in Durham, Maine on February 15, 1832. His education was attained at Waterville Seminary, at Waterville College, and at Dartmouth College, where he graduated in 1855. He studied law, and in 1856 was admitted to the bar. However, he never practiced law, choosing instead to go into the publishing field. He bought the Lewiston Evening Journal, and served as the editor for more than twenty years. Dingley entered politics in 1862, serving as a member of the Maine House of Representatives, a position he was reelected to in 1863, 1864, 1868 and 1873. He also served as speaker of the house in 1863 and 1864. Dingley won the Republican gubernatorial nomination, and was elected governor by a popular vote in 1873. He was reelected to a second term in 1874. During his tenure, free public education was supported, prohibition measures were endorsed, and railroad and corporation taxation reform was recommended. After declining to run for a third term, Dingley left office on January 5, 1876, and returned to his publishing interests. He returned to politics in 1881, winning election to the U.S. House of Representatives, an office he held until 1899. He also served on an international commission in 1898 that negotiated the Alaskan boundary and seal fisheries disagreement with Canada. Governor Nelson Dingley Jr. passed away on January 13, 1899, and was buried at the Oak Hill Cemetery near Auburn, 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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