Saturday, July 6, 2013

Sebeus Colver Maine (1812-1887)


   Bearing a remarkable resemblance to literary icon Charles Dickens, Massachusetts state senator, judge and inventor Sebeus Colver Maine looks every bit the dapper 19th century man-of-affairs. This interestingly named man carved quite a career for himself in a number of different vocations, but despite his impressive stature in Massachusetts public life, very little information could be found on him.
   Born in North Stonington, Massachusetts on June 22, 1812, Sebeus was one of thirteen children born to Jabish Breed Maine (1774-1856), a stone and plaster mason, and his wife, Freelove Edwards (1776-1856). No information could be located as to Maine's childhood or education, although it has been found that he taught school in Herkimer County, New York for a time and during the early 1840s operated the law office of Benton and Maine in the town of Little Falls. He married in Pittson, Maine on September 18, 1843 to Julia Octavia Stevens (1806-1881), a native of Kennebec County. The couple later became the parents of two children, Annie Evans (birth-date unknown) and William Stevens Bartlett (birth-date unknown) who later became a well known painter of landscapes.
   Maine was admitted to the Suffolk, Massachusetts bar in February 1845 and spent the next decade in the practice of law. In 1854 he won election to the Massachusetts State Senate, representing the county of Suffolk. His name appeared in an 1855 Massachusetts State Register and is shown below. 
  In the year following his term in the senate he was named as a commissioner of Insolvency in Boston and in 1858 was appointed as Judge of the Boston Police Court, serving on the bench until 1866. During his tenure on the court Maine had to contend with numerous instances of draft protests in Boston during the Civil War period, and is acknowledged by a 2012 Foxboro Reporter article as coming "down hard on those who protested the draft during a time of great peril for the nation." Maine's reputation for doling out harsh sentences to protesters garnered him a number of threats, and he eventually had to leave Boston for a short period out of concern for his safety!


   Following his tenure on the Boston police court, little else could be found on Maine's life. In addition to serving in the above capacities, Maine was also an inventor, being awarded patents for "inventions relating to disinfection, cooling and ventilation" between 1866 and 1872. He also was awarded patents for a "cabinet-bedstead" and a fire extinguisher in June 1869. Maine's wife Julia died in 1881 at age 75 and he himself died on November 25, 1887 at the same age. The Genealogical Record of Nathaniel Babock, Simeon Maine, Issac Miner, Ezekiel Main notes that Sebeus Maine was buried in Stonington, but fails to mention a name for the cemetery in which he was interred. Julia Octavia Maine was buried in Pittston, Randolph County, Maine following her death in 1881.

   From the Genealogical Record of Nathaniel Babock, Simeon Maine, Issac Miner, Ezekiel Main, 1909.

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