Alonzo Garcelon, Governor

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Alonzo Garcelon, Governor's Geni Profile

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Alonzo Garcelon

Birthplace: Lewiston, Androscoggin, ME, USA
Death: Died in Medford, Middlesex, MA, USA
Place of Burial: Lewiston, Androscoggin, ME, USA
Immediate Family:

Son of William Green Garcelon and Mary Garcelon
Husband of Ann Augusta Garcelon and Olivia Nelson Spear
Father of Charles Garcelon and Edith Spear Garcelon

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About Alonzo Garcelon, Governor

Dr. Alonzo Garcelon (May 6, 1813 – December 8, 1906) was the 36th Governor of Maine, an American Civil War surgeon general, and a co-founder of Bates College in Lewiston, Maine.

Birth and early years

Garcelon was born in Lewiston, Maine, to French Huguenot parents. Garcelon attended Monmouth Academy, Waterville Academy, and New Castle Academy. Garcelon taught school during the winter terms to help pay for his tuition. In 1836 Garcelon graduated from Bowdoin College, and in 1839 he graduated from the Medical University of Ohio, which was the Medical College of Ohio at the time, and then returned to Lewiston to practice. Garcelon co-founded the Lewiston Journal in 1847. He served in the Maine House of Representatives from 1853–54, 1857–58, and in the Maine Senate from 1855-56. Garcelon was instrumental in bringing Bates College to Lewiston in 1855 and served as an instructor and longtime trustee at the College. He was elected as a Delegate to the Republican National Convention in 1856.

Civil War

During the Civil War, Garcelon served in the Union Army as Maine's Surgeon General. During the impeachment of Andrew Johnson after the War, Garcelon became disgusted with the Republican Party and became a Democrat. In 1871 he was elected mayor of Lewiston, and in 1879 he was elected Governor of Maine by the legislature, serving one term until 1880.

During his term as governor, Garcelon oversaw the "Greenback" controversy, when he investigated alleged voter fraud and determined that the Democrats and not the Republicans had won a majority in the legislature. Senator James Blaine came to Augusta with a hundred armed men to protest the results, and Garcelon called out the state militia. Civil war was narrowly averted, thanks to the peaceful intervention of militia leader Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain. In 1883 Garcelon was once again elected mayor of Lewiston.

Garcelon died in Medford, Massachusetts, and was buried at Riverside Cemetery in Lewiston, Maine.

Legacy and honors

Garcelon Field at Bates College is named after Dr. Garcelon, as is the Alonzo Garcelon Society, which provides scholarships to Bates for local students. In 2008 the Garcelon family announced the donation of a large collection of Garcelon family manuscripts to the Bates College Special Collections Library.

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Alonzo Garcelon, Governor's Timeline

May 6, 1813
Lewiston, Androscoggin, ME, USA
November 14, 1842
Age 29
Lewiston, Androscoggin, ME, USA
December 16, 1861
Age 48
Lewiston, Androscoggin, ME, USA
December 8, 1906
Age 93
Medford, Middlesex, MA, USA
December 1906
Age 93
Lewiston, Androscoggin, ME, USA