Governor Albion K. Parris
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

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THE second governor of Maine by election, Albion K. Parris, was born in Hebron, Me., January 19, 1788. Immediately after the Revolutionary War his father, Samuel, moved from Massachusetts to Hebron, which was then unincorporated, and was one of the first settlers of that town. Albion worked on his father’s farm until he was fourteen years old, and then began to prepare for college. He entered Dartmouth in the Sophomore class, in 1803, and graduated in 1806. He soon commenced the study of law with Judge Whitman, of New Gloucester, and was admitted to the Bar in 1809, establishing himself in practice in Paris, Oxford County. From that time his career was one of uninterrupted success.

In 1811 he was appointed County Attorney for Oxford; in 1813 was elected to the Massachusetts Legislature; in 1814 chosen Senator from the counties of Oxford and Somerset. In November of that year he was elected to the Fourteenth Congress, and again to the Fifteenth Congress. While a Representative to Congress, in 1818, he was, at the age of thirty, appointed Judge of the District Court of the United States for the District of Maine, to succeed Judge Sewall.

In 1819 be moved to Portland and was chosen a member of the Convention to form a Constitution for Maine, then seeking admission into the Union. The Convention was presided over by William King, and among the members were Dane of Wells, Whitman of Portland, General Wingate, Judge Bridge, and Judge Dana. Mr. Parris took a very active part in its proceedings; was appointed Treasurer of the Convention and was a member of the Committee that drafted the Constitution. On the admission of the State into the Union, Judge Parris was appointed Judge of Probate for Cumberland County. While holding this office he was nominated for Governor by the Democratic party, though not without much opposition from the friends of General Wingate, to succeed Governor King. Judge Parris was elected, in a triangular contest, when he was only thirty-three years old, and was continued In office five successive years. In his message in 1826 he positively declined another election.

Governor Parris administered the government with conspicuous ability and faithfulness. The most important questions which arose during his administration were those relating to the common property owned with Massachusetts, and the northeastern boundary. The latter subject was referred to a committee of which Hon. Reuel Williams was chairman in the Senate, and on whose report the Governor was instructed to procure “all such maps, documents, publications, papers, and surveys relating to the northeastern boundary of the United States as he may deem necessary and useful for the State to be possessed of.”

In 1825 Lafayette visited the State and was most cordially received and entertained by the Governor and the people. His journey was like a triumphal march, and he was received with great ovations wherever he went.

The last year of Governor Parris’ administration had not expired when he was elected to the United States Senate to succeed Hon. John Holmes, whose term expired March 3, 1827. He had hardly entered upon the duties of his new position, when he was appointed, in June, 1828, Associate Justice of the Supreme Court Of Maine. He at once devoted himself arduously to the duties of his new position, and he received unqualified testimonials from the Bar and Bench and community of the ability, promptness, and impartiality which characterized his judicial life.

It was only for a few years that he was allowed to grace the Bench, for in 1836 President Jackson appointed him Second Comptroller of the Treasury, which office he held thirteen years, until 1849. On retiring from this honorable position he returned to Portland, but here he found but little repose from the drudgery of public life, for in 1852 he was elected Mayor of the city. Declining a re-election, he retired to private life the following year. In 1854 lie was nominated Democratic candidate for Governor, but was defeated by the late Anson P. Morrill, was the first Republican Governor of this State.

Probably never in the history of this State has any other person enjoyed such a long and almost uninterrupted public career. For thirty-six years he was continuously in office without scarcely a day’s interruption, filling offices of the highest importance and responsibility. The secret of his success lay in his persevering industry, honesty, and fidelity to every trust confided to him. He was cordial and gentlemanly in his manners, and had the happy faculty of adapting himself to almost every situation he was called to fill. However varied his duties, he discharged them with credit alike to himself and his State.

Governor Parris, in 1810, married Miss Sarah Whitman, eldest daughter of Rev. Levi Whitman, of Wellfleet, Mass., who, with three daughters and two sons, survived him. On his return to Portland he became an active member of the High Street Church and took his place as a teacher in the Sunday-school. He passed away February 11, 1857, at the age of sixty-nine, honored and respected by all the peolpe of the State he served so long and well.

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