MELVIN PORTER FRANK is a son of Alpheus and Naomi (Stimson) Frank, and grandson
of James Frank, who was one of the early inhabitants of the town of Falmouth and a Revolutionary soldier. The first
conflict at Concord aroused his patriotism, and when the news came of the battle at Lexington and at concord he
was among the first to enlist in the Continental Army. He continued in the service, by repeated enlistments, until
nearly the close of the war, doing good service for the cause of the American Revolution. On his return from the
war he purchased a farm in the town of Gray and settled on it. Here he raised his family and spent the remainder
of his days. His son, Aipheus, also lived here, and it was on this farm that Melvin Porter Frank was born, on December
26, 1841, and where he spent his boyhood days. The farm has remained in the possession of the family until within
a few years.
Being ambitious to obtain an education, he availed himself of such limited privileges as the common schools afforded,
and whenever opportunity was offered he attended such terms of high school as were accessible, traveling, oftentimes,
on foot, a distance of three miles and return, daily, for this purpose. He also attended the Lewiston High School,
the Maine State Seminary (now Bates College), and Lewiston Falls Academy, where he fitted for college. He entered
Tufts College in 1861 and graduated in the class of 1865. In order to obtain means to defray the expenses of his
education, Mr. Frank worked on the farm during summer vacations and taught school during winters, and so has had
quite an extensive experience as a teacher.
Deciding upon the law as his proftssion, he actively began to prepare himself for its practice in the law offices
of Hon. A. A. Strout and of Shepley & Strout, in. Portland, where he studied diligently for nearly three years.
He was admitted to the Bar in Cumberland County in 1868, and at once began the practice of his profession. He was
not very long in building up a good law business, which has been constantly on the increase, until to-day Mr. Frank
ranks among the very first lawyers in Portland and Cumberland County, both in ability and amount of business done.
It can be justly said that he is well versed in all the various branches of the law and its practice, and that
he enjoys the high regard of the Bench and Bar and the confidence of the business community, from which he draws
a practice which is equaled by but few law firms in our State.
Mr. Frank was well endowed by nature. He has a strong constitution, a well-balanced and active mind, which he has
cultivated by study and reading, and a retentive memory, to which may be added most excellent health and spirits.
Thus splendidly equipped, he stands to-day a strong man in his profession, ready to meet its greatest emergencies
and to grapple with its most intricate questions. He is clear-headed, broad-minded, and has quick perceptions and
a sound judgment. These qualities are widely recognized and make his opinions on disputed points of law of great
Mr. Frank has devoted his time to the duties of his profession, and has never sought political preferment, yet
he has frequently received the nomination of his party to positions of honor and trust. In 1876 he was a member
of the House of Representatives and drafted and was instrumental in securing the passage of the first law abolishing
capital punishment in Maine. He was again a member of the House in 1879 and was chosen Speaker, where he displayed
admirable qualities as a presiding officer. He showed himself to be entirely familiar with parliamentary law and
able to cope with its most difficult problems, while he presided with that firmness, ease, and grace that mark
the model speaker. Few sessions of our Maine Legislature have been favored with more dignified and courteous presiding
officers, in either branch, than the House in 1879. In 1890 he was the Democratic candidate for Representative
in Congress and received the united and full strength of his party, of which he is a recognized leader in his section
of the State and always a trusted adviser.
Mr. Frank's exuberant spirits make him always cheerful, good-natured, and open-hearted. He is social and companionable,
and always has a warm welcome for all who approach him. His fine natural abilities and his frank and genial nature
have conspired to make him eminently successful and really a representative man of Maine