Burton M. Cross

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Burton M. Cross
61st and 63rd Governor of Maine
In office
January 7, 1953 – January 5, 1955
Preceded by Nathaniel M. Haskell
Succeeded by Edmund Muskie
In office
December 24, 1952 – January 6, 1953
Preceded by Frederick G. Payne
Succeeded by Nathaniel M. Haskell
Member of the Maine Senate
In office
Member of the Maine House of Representatives
In office
Personal details
Born (1902-11-15)November 15, 1902
Gardiner, Maine, U.S.
Died October 22, 1998(1998-10-22) (aged 95)
Augusta Maine, U.S.
Political party Republican

Burton Melvin Cross (November 15, 1902 – October 22, 1998) was a Maine Republican politician. Cross was Maine's 61st and 63rd Governor.[1]


In 1933 Cross won a seat on the Augusta Common Council and four years later in 1937 moved up to the Board of Aldermen, presiding over both bodies. Elected to the Maine House of Representatives in 1941 he served two terms before moving up to the Maine Senate in 1945. He became majority floor leader in 1947 and President of the Senate in 1949 until 1952.

In 1952 Cross won the Republican nomination for Governor and went on to defeat Democrat James Oliver in the general election by a substantial margin. Cross actually became Governor about two weeks prior to the start of his elected term of office. The outgoing Governor, Frederick G. Payne resigned on December 25, 1952 to prepare for his term in the United States Senate; Cross, as President of the Senate became Governor through constitutional succession. Cross himself resigned as Senate President (and Governor) at 10:00am January 6, 1953 and was replaced for the next 25 hours by Nathaniel Haskell. At 11:00am on January 7, 1953, Cross' official elected term of office began.

Although exonerated in a liquor scandal, a politically wounded Cross was defeated in his reelection bid in 1954 by Democratic challenger, Edmund S. Muskie, by over 20,000 votes.

Cross never sought public office again but returned to private life engaging in the insurance and stock brokerage business until his retirement in 1971.


In 2001, after major renovations, the Maine State Office Building was dedicated to Cross. A plaque in his honor is located in the second floor lobby.


Political offices
Preceded by
Frederick G. Payne
61st Governor of Maine
Succeeded by
Nathaniel M. Haskell
Preceded by
Nathaniel M. Haskell
63rd Governor of Maine
Succeeded by
Edmund S. Muskie