Sumner Sewall

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Sumner Sewall
Lieutenant Sumner Sewall.jpg
Sumner Sewall in World War I
58th Governor of Maine
In office
January 1, 1941 – January 3, 1945
Preceded byLewis O. Barrows
Succeeded byHorace A. Hildreth
Member of the Maine Senate
In office
Member of the Maine House of Representatives
In office
Personal details
Sumner Sewall

(1897-06-17)June 17, 1897
DiedJanuary 25, 1965(1965-01-25) (aged 67)
Oak Grove Cemetery, Bath, Maine
Political partyRepublican
Alma materHarvard College
ProfessionBusinessman, politician, airman
AwardsDistinguished Service Cross with Oak Leaf Cluster, Croix de Guerre (France), Legion of Honour (France), Order of the Crown (Belgium)
Military service
Allegiance United States
Branch/serviceAir Service, United States Army
Years of service1917-1919
Unit95th Aero Squadron
Battles/warsWorld War I

Sumner Sewall (June 17, 1897 – January 25, 1965) was a U.S. Republican politician and airline executive who served as the 58th Governor of Maine from 1941 to 1945. He began his aviation career during World War I as a fighter ace.


A native of Bath, Maine, Sewall dropped out of Harvard College in 1917 to go to Europe to aid the Allies during World War I. Sewall served first in the American Ambulance Field Service from February through August 1917, then in the U.S. Army Signal Corps, then finally as a fighter pilot in the U.S. Army Air Service, becoming an ace by scoring seven victories.

He enlisted in the USAAS in Paris, underwent training, and reported to the 95th Aero Squadron in February 1918. He was promoted to Flight Commander, and went on to score five victories over enemy planes between 3 June and 18 September 1918, sharing a couple of them with future general James Knowles and Edward Peck Curtis. Sewall then became a balloon buster, shooting down an observation balloon each on 4 and 5 November. The only victory he did not receive credit for came when German pilot Leutnant Heinz Freiherr von Beaulieu-Marconnay mistakenly landed on the 95th Aero Squadron's airfield, and Sewall and a couple of other American pilots captured him at gunpoint.[1]

Sewall returned home with the Distinguished Service Cross with oak leaf cluster, the French Legion of Honor, the Croix de guerre and the Order of the Crown of Belgium.[1]

After the war, he worked in a variety of jobs, including being an executive with Colonial Air Transport and a director of United Air Lines.

His political career began when he became an alderman in Bath in 1933. He was elected to the Maine state legislature as a representative in 1934, then as a senator in 1936 and 1938. After the latter election, he was named President of the State Senate. In 1940, he was elected governor, and served two terms. Sewall's administration was notable for cleaning up scandals in state government and passing a minimum wage law for state teachers.

After stepping down as governor, Sewall became president of American Overseas Airlines for a year, then served as the military governor of Württemberg-Baden from 1946 to 1947. In 1948, Sewall finished a distant third in the Republican primary for Maine's open United States Senate seat, which ended his political career.[citation needed]

Sewall became president of the Bath National Bank in the 1960s. He died on 26 January 1965.[1]


Sewall married Helen Ellena Evans in 1929. They had two sons, David and Nick and a daughter Alexandria

Sewall's grandfather, Arthur Sewall, was the Democratic candidate for vice president in 1896.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c American Aces of World War I. p. 68–69.


External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Lewis O. Barrows
Governor of Maine
Succeeded by
Horace A. Hildreth