Edward Kavanagh

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Edward Kavanagh
Edward Kavanagh (Maine Governor).jpg
Governor Edward Kavanagh. From 1893's "Representative Men of Maine".
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Maine's 3rd district
In office
March 4, 1831 – March 3, 1835
Preceded byJoseph F. Wingate
Succeeded byJeremiah Bailey
Chargé d'Affaires to Portugal
In office
March 3, 1835 – June 1841
Preceded byThomas L.L. Brent
Succeeded byWashington Barrow
17th Governor of Maine
In office
March 7, 1843 – January 1, 1844
Preceded byJohn Fairfield
Succeeded byDavid Dunn
19th President of the Maine Senate
In office
Preceded bySamuel Blake
Succeeded byVirgil D. Parris
Member of the
Maine Senate
In office
Member of the
Maine House of Representatives
In office
Personal details
Born(1795-04-27)April 27, 1795
Newcastle, Massachusetts
(now Maine)
DiedJanuary 22, 1844(1844-01-22) (aged 48)
Newcastle, Maine
Resting placeSt. Patrick's Catholic Cemetery, Damariscotta Mills, Maine
Political partyDemocratic
Alma materMontreal Seminary, Georgetown College, St. Mary's College

Edward Kavanagh (April 27, 1795 – January 22, 1844) was a United States Representative and the 17th Governor of Maine. Born in Newcastle (in modern-day Maine, then a part of Massachusetts), he attended Montreal Seminary (in Quebec, Canada) and Georgetown College, (Georgetown, D.C.) He graduated from St. Mary's College (Baltimore) in 1813.[1] He studied law, was admitted to the bar and commenced practice in Damariscotta, Maine. He was a member of the Maine House of Representatives from 1826 to 1828, and was secretary of the state senate in 1830.[2]

Kavanagh's public career began with a plea to the framers of the Maine Constitution to include an article for official religious toleration. His first elected role was on the school committee, followed by roles as selectman, state representative, and state senator. In 1829 the legislature elected him as secretary of state.

Kavanagh was elected as a Jacksonian to the Twenty-second and Twenty-third Congresses, serving from March 4, 1831, to March 3, 1835. He was nationally noticed as the first Catholic elected from New England.[3] He was an unsuccessful candidate for reelection in 1834 to the Twenty-fourth Congress, and was appointed Chargé d'Affaires to Portugal on March 3, 1835, and served until his resignation in June 1841. He was one of the four Maine commissioners on the northeastern boundary in 1842 in the negotiations that led to the Webster-Ashburton Treaty, and was a member of the Maine Senate in 1842 and 1843 and served as the president of the Maine Senate.

Governor of Maine[edit]

Kavanagh became Governor of Maine upon the election of Governor Fairfield on March 7, 1843, to replace U.S. Senator Reuel Williams upon William's resignation, and served until the end of the term in 1844. Less than four weeks later, Kavanagh died in Newcastle; interment was in St. Patrick's Catholic Cemetery, Damariscotta Mills.

Kavanagh's house in Newcastle has been listed on the National Register of Historic Places.


  1. ^ Wikisource-logo.svg Herbermann, Charles, ed. (1913). "Edward Kavanagh" . Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company.
  2. ^ United States Congress. "Edward Kavanagh (id: K000022)". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress.
  3. ^ Rolde, Neal (1990). Maine: A Narrative History. Gardiner, ME: Harpswell Press. pp. 172–173. ISBN 0-88448-069-0.

External links[edit]

U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by
Joseph F. Wingate
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Maine's 3rd congressional district

March 4, 1831 – March 3, 1835
Succeeded by
Jeremiah Bailey
Political offices
Preceded by
John Fairfield
Governor of Maine
March 7, 1843–1844
Succeeded by
David Dunn
Preceded by
Samuel Blake
President of the Maine Senate
Succeeded by
Virgil D. Parris
Diplomatic posts
Preceded by
Thomas L.L. Brent
Chargé d'Affaires to Portugal
March 3, 1835 – June 1841
Succeeded by
Washington Barrow