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William King

Gov. William King

  • March 15, 1820 - April 28, 1821
  • Democratic-Republican
  • February 9, 1768
  • June 17, 1852
  • Maine
  • Married Ann Frazier; one child
  • Resigned, NGA Chair
  • Ambassador


WILLIAM KING, the first governor of Maine, was born in Scarborough, Maine on February 9, 1768. His education was limited and attained in the common schools of his native state. As a teenager, he worked in a lumber mill, of which he eventually became the owner. He also had a successful business career in the real estate and the ship building industries. King entered politics in 1795, serving as a representative in the General Court of Massachusetts, a position he held again from 1803 to 1806. He also served as a Lincoln County senator from 1807 to 1811. After Maine entered statehood in 1820, King was elected governor by a popular vote. During his tenure, tax incentives were endorsed for the establishment of new businesses within the state. After securing a federal appointment, King resigned from office on May 28, 1821. He served as a U.S. commissioner that worked on treaty negotiations with Spain, a post he held until 1824. He also served as the State Public Building Commissioner in 1828, and was the Collector of Customs at Bath from 1831 to 1834. After running unsuccessfully for reelection to the governor’s office in 1835, King retired from public service. Governor William King passed away on June 17, 1852 and was buried at the Oak Grove Cemetery in Bath, 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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