Governor Edward Kent
As found in REPRESENTATIVE MEN OF MAINE
A Collection of Biographical Sketches of all the Governors since the formation of the State.
Prepaired under the direction of Henry Chase
Portland, ME.
The Lakeside Press, Publisher
1893

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THE seventh Governor by election of the State of Maine, Gov. Edward Kent, was born at Concord, N. H., January 8, 1802. His father was William A. Kent, a native of Charlestown, Mass., and his mother was a Mellen, a sister of Prentiss Mellen, the first Chief Justice of Maine, She was a native of Sterling, Mass. Young Kent received his elementary education in the district schools and the academies, and graduated at Harvard College in the famous class of 1821. Among his classmates were Josiah Quincy, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Robert Barnwell of South Carolina, and many others who attained great prominence in after years.

He studied law in the office of the Hon. Benjamin Orr, of Topsbam, and was also a student of Chancellor Kent, the distinguished jurist and legal commentator. In September, 1825, he established himself in the practice of his profession in Bangor, Me. Being of fine personal presence and genial manners he won friends rapidly, and soon succeeded in building up a good business. He spent his spare hours often in writing articles on and in the discussion of the political questions of the day, which attracted attention by their terseness and the clear and strong arguments presented.

Having complied with the rules of the Court by practicing two years in the Court of Common Pleas, he was, in 1827. admitted to practice in the Supreme Judicial Court. He was the same year appointed Chief Justice of the Court of Sessions, which position he held until the close of the December term, 1828. He then formed a partnership with the distinguished Jonathan P. Rogers, who was familiarly known as "Jock Rogers," then acting as Attorney-General of the State. This partnership continued about two years, when in 1831 Judge Kent formed another connection in the practice of the law, this time with Jonas Cutting, afterwards an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court. This partnership lasted about eighteen years.

Judge Kent was very popular and was elected to about all of the local offices in Bangor. In 1828 and 1829 he was a member of the Legislature from the Bangor J)istrict, and made a wide reputation by the able manner he discussed the questions before that body. In 1836 he was elected Mayor of the city of Bangor, its second Mayor, and was re-elected the next year by an increased majority. In this office he gave great attention to the promotion of education and to the cause of temperance and good morals, so that he received the hearty support of the best citizens of the city, almost without regard to party affiliations.

In 1836 Mr. Kent was nominated by the Whigs as their candidate for Governor. He was defeated by Governor Dunlap, but was re-nominated in 1837 and elected, though by an exceedingly narrow margin. So close was the vote between him and the Democratic candidate that a dispute arose about the legality of some of the returns and votes. The questions involved in the contest were referred to the Supreme Court, which decided in favor of Judge Kent, and he was inaugurated Governor of Maine, January 19, 1838. In 1839 he was defeated by his opponent, Governor Fairfield. In 1840 he was again a candidate, but there was no election by the people. The Legislature, having a Whig majority, elected him Governor for the year 1841.

His administration of the office of Chief Magistrate of the State was conspicuous for great ability, honesty, and firmness. The northeastern boundary question was still unsettled, and Governor Kent probably did more to bring that long-standing and perplexing matter to a final settlement than almost any other person.

Governor Kent returned to his practice at Bangor after the expiration of his term of office, continuing with Mr. Cutting as partner until his appointment, in 1849. as Consul to Rio Janeiro, which office he held four years. Returning again to his profession, he associated his brother, George Kent, with himself in his practice, which continued until 1S59, when Gov. Lot Morrill appointed Governor Kent an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of Maine. He was re-appointed in 1866, holding the office fourteen consecutive years, until 1873, when, though in full vigor both physically and mentally, he retired to private life.

He spent a year abroad, and in 1874 returned to his law office at Bangor, where he was engaged in several very important cases. He was President of the Convention in 1875 for the amendment of the Constitution of the State, which was his last official position.

Governor Kent first married Miss Sarah Johnson, of Hilisboro, N. H., who died in 1853. They had three children, two of whom died of yellow fever in Rio Janeiro, and the third in Bangor some time after the death of the mother. In 1855 a second marriage was contracted, the lady being Anne Rockwood of Lynn, Mass. They had one child. His chief happiness was found in the home circle, and the loss of his children clouded with sorrow his last years. After a very short illness, Governor Kent's death occurred at Bangor, May 19, 1877.



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