Alonzo Garcelon

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Alonzo Garcelon
Alonzo Garcelon Governor of Maine.jpg
36th Governor of Maine
In office
January 8, 1879 – January 17, 1880
Preceded by Seldon Connor
Succeeded by Daniel F. Davis
Member of the Maine Senate
In office
Member of the Maine House of Representatives
In office
Personal details
Born (1813-05-06)May 6, 1813
Lewiston, Massachusetts
(now Maine)
Died December 8, 1906(1906-12-08) (aged 93)
Medford, Massachusetts
Resting place Riverside Cemetery, Lewiston, Maine
Political party Democratic
Other political
Whig, Free Soiler, Republican
Alma mater Bowdoin College
Medical University of Ohio
Profession Physician
Military service
Allegiance United States of America
Service/branch United States Army
Union Army
Years of service 1861–1865
Rank Surgeon General
Battles/wars American Civil War

Alonzo Garcelon (May 6, 1813 – December 8, 1906) was the 36th Governor of Maine, and an American Civil War surgeon general.

Birth and early years[edit]

Garcelon was born in Lewiston (in modern-day Maine, then a part of Massachusetts), 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 donated to Bates College to Lewiston in 1855 and served as an instructor and trustee at the College. He was elected as a Delegate to the Republican National Convention in 1856.

Civil War[edit]

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[edit]

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.[1]

See also[edit]


  • "Bio of Alonzo A. Gercelon, M.D." Representative Men of Maine: A Collection of Biographical Sketches,(Portland, ME: The Lakeside Press, 1893). (link)

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Seldon Connor
Governor of Maine
Succeeded by
Daniel F. Davis