Governor Samuel Wells
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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SAMUEL WELLS. the seventeenth Governor of the State by election, was born in Durham, N. H.. August 15, 1801. He was a lawyer and first settled in the practice of his profession in Waterville, in 1826, where he had a large practice and a high standing at the Bar and in the community. In 1835 he removed to Hallowell, and in 1844 he became a resident of Portland. He was a good scholar and a high-toned and dignified gentleman. He was a Representative in the State Legislature from the town of Hallowell in 1836, and again in 1838.

On September 28, 1847, Mr. Wells was appointed, by Governor Dana, an Associate Justice on the Bench of the Supreme Judicial Court of Maine, in accordance with a resolve of the Legislature increasing the number of judges. His first term was held at Paris that autumn, where he presided with great dignity and ease, gaining at once the respect of the Bar and the confidence of the people whose cases came before him. He continued on the Bench until March 31, 1854, when he resigned his commission. Judge Wells won an excellent reputation over the State as an able jurist and an impartial judge.

He was a strong Democrat and was nominated by his party, in 1855, as its candidate for Governor. He entered upon the duties of his office in January, 1856, and discharged them with signal ability. Governor Wells received his second nomination that year, but the Democratic party had been rent asunder by the great agitation on the slavery and temperance questions. Many Democrats and Whigs who were opposed to the further extension of slavery, and who were dissatisfied with the position of their leaders on that question as related to the new Territories of Kansas and Nebraska, then seeking admission into the Union, and who were in favor of the prohibitory law, had joined the ranks of the new Republican party, of which Hannibal Hamlin that year was the gubernatorial candidate. At the election, in September, Mr. Hamlin received sixty-nine thousand votes, in round numbers, and Mr. Wells forty-three thousand, while Mr. George F. Patten, the Whig candidate, received only six thousand five hundred votes. This ended the career of the Whig party in Maine, and Mr. Wells was the last Democratic Governor for more than twenty years, though that party was successful in holding its vote at nearly every election in the State during that time, and very frequently it largely increased it.

Being a strong party man, Governor Wells took the defeat of his party somewhat severely. He was not afterwards prominent in affairs here. After a time he removed to Boston, where he spent the remainder of his days. He died July 15, 1868.

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