Although no Mainer has yet become president, Hannibal Hamlin, vice president to Abraham Lincoln, introduced Maine to the White House in 1861.
While now claimed as one of Maine’s most prominent politicians, Hamlin technically was born in Paris, Massachusetts, as the state of Maine had not been officially separated until 1820.
Hamlin’s long career of public service brought him from the U.S. House of Representatives to Augusta as governor, to the U.S. Senate, and ultimately to the White House with Lincoln in the 1860 election.
During the war, the Maine State Guard militia was ordered to report for service at Fort McClary in Kittery, and as a member of the militia, Hamlin decided to answer the call. While still serving as vice president, Hamlin acted as guard and cook, although quartered with the officers.
Hamlin would not remain vice president, as Andrew Johnson was named Lincoln’s 1864 running mate.
After returning to Maine, Hamlin continued to serve as senator and ambassador to Spain. One afternoon in the Tarratine Club in Bangor, Hamlin collapsed at the card table and passed away at the age of 81, ending the career of one of the most prominent Mainers to ever serve on the national stage.