Prentiss Mellen

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Prentiss Mellen
United States Senator
from Massachusetts
In office
June 5, 1818 – May 15, 1820
Preceded by Eli P. Ashmun
Succeeded by Elijah H. Mills
First Chief Justice
of the Maine Supreme Judicial Court
In office
July 1, 1820–October 11, 1834
Preceded by None
Succeeded by Nathan Weston
Personal details
Born (1764-10-11)October 11, 1764
Sterling, Massachusetts
Died December 31, 1840(1840-12-31) (aged 76)
Portland, Maine
Political party Federalist
Spouse(s) Sarah Hudson[1]
Children Grenville Mellen;[2]
Frederic Mellen[3]
Alma mater Harvard University
Profession Attorney
Religion Congregationalism

Prentiss Mellen (October 11, 1764 – December 31, 1840) was a Senator from Massachusetts; born in Sterling, Massachusetts to Rev. John and Rebecca (Prentiss) Mellen.[4] Mellen graduated from Harvard University in 1784; studied law; admitted to the bar in 1788 and commenced practice in Sterling and Bridgewater, Massachusetts, and in Dover, New Hampshire; moved to Biddeford, Massachusetts (later a part of the State of Maine in 1820), around 1791 and practiced law; settled in Portland, Maine, around 1806; member of the Massachusetts Executive Council 1808-1809, 1817; presidential elector in 1817; trustee of Bowdoin College, Brunswick, Maine from 1817 to 1836; elected to the United States Senate to fill the vacancy caused by the resignation of Eli P. Ashmun and served from June 5, 1818, to May 15, 1820, when he resigned; upon the admission of the State of Maine into the Union in 1820 became chief justice of the supreme court of that State and served until his resignation in 1834, when age disqualified him;[5] member and chairman of the commission to revise and codify the public statutes of Maine in 1838; died in Portland, Maine, December 31, 1840; interment in Western Cemetery.

In 1833, Mellen was the first President of a newly formed abolitionist society formed in Portland. Samuel Fessenden and Methodist Rev. Gershom A. Cox were the vice-presidents.[6]


  1. ^ Greenleaf, LL.D., S. Herbert (1841), Reports of cases determined in the Supreme Judicial Court of the State of Maine, Volume 17; Memoir of the Life and Character of the Late Chief Justice Mellen, Augusta, ME.: The Maine Supreme Judicial Court, p. 471. 
  2. ^ Lancey, S. Herbert (1856), The gift book of gems, Bangor, ME.: David Bugbee & Co., p. 103. 
  3. ^ Griffith, George Bancroft (1888), The poets of Maine: a collection of specimen poems from over four hundred Verse Makers of the Pine Tree State, Augusta, ME.: Elwell Pickard & Co., p. 107. 
  4. ^ Davis, William Thomas (1895), Bench and Bar of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Volume II, Boston, MA.: The Boston History Company, p. 544. 
  5. ^ "Senators From the Bay State". Boston Post (Boston). July 25, 1910. p. 10.  open access publication - free to read
  6. ^ The Abolitionist, Volume 1 Page 95


Dictionary of American Biography; Greenleaf, Simon. “Memoir of the Life and Character of the Late Chief Justice Mellen.” Maine Reports 17 (1841): 467-76.

External links[edit]

United States Senate
Preceded by
Eli P. Ashmun
U.S. Senator (Class 1) from Massachusetts
Served alongside: Harrison Gray Otis
Succeeded by
Elijah H. Mills
Legal offices
Preceded by
Chief Justice of the
Maine Supreme Judicial Court

July 1, 1820 – October 11, 1834
Succeeded by
Nathan Weston