John W. Dana

John Winchester Dana (June 21, 1808 – December 22, 1867) was an American businessman, diplomat and Democratic politician in the U.S. state of Maine. He served as the 19th and 21st Governor of Maine and as Chargé d'affaires to Bolivia during the 19th century.

John W. Dana
John Winchester Dana (Maine Governor).jpg
4th United States Ambassador to Bolivia
In office
February 23, 1854 – March 10, 1859
PresidentFranklin Pierce
James Buchanan
Preceded byHorace H. Miller
Succeeded byJohn C. Smith
19th and 21st Governor of Maine
In office
January 3, 1844
Preceded byDavid Dunn
Succeeded byHugh J. Anderson
In office
May 13, 1847 – May 8, 1850
Preceded byHugh J. Anderson
Succeeded byJohn Hubbard
President of the Maine Senate
In office
Member of the Maine House of Representatives
In office
Personal details
Born(1808-06-21)June 21, 1808
Fryeburg, Massachusetts
(now Maine)
DiedDecember 22, 1867(1867-12-22) (aged 59)
near Buenos Aires, Argentina
Resting placeVillage Cemetery, Fryeburg, Maine
Political partyDemocratic
Spouse(s)Eliza Ann Osgood
RelationsJudah Dana
Alma materFryeburg Academy

Early lifeEdit

Dana was born in Fryeburg (in modern-day Maine, then a part of Massachusetts), the son of Judah and Elizabeth Dana.[1] He studied in the local schools and at Fryeburg Academy before pursuing a business career.[2]

Political careerEdit

Dana served as a Democratic member of the Maine House of Representatives from 1841 to 1842.[3] He was a member of the Maine State Senate from 1843 to 1844. and was elected president of the Maine State Senate.[4] He became the Governor of Maine on January 3, 1844 after Acting Governor David Dunn resigned from office. He served only that day. As president of the state senate, Dana filled an unexpired term. Hugh J. Anderson became the Governor of Maine on the same day.

In 1846, Dana ran against Liberty Party candidate Samuel Fessenden and Whig Party candidate Daniel Bronson. No candidate received a majority of the vote; the Democratic dominated Legislature selected Dana.[5] He was successful in his re-election bid in 1847 and 1848.[6] During his term, anti-slavery measures were endorsed. He left office on May 8, 1850.

After leaving office, Dana returned to his business pursuits. He was appointed Chargé d'affaires to Bolivia in 1853 by President Franklin Pierce.[7] On March 10, 1859, Dana resigned his position and returned to Maine to run for governor. He was defeated by Israel Washburn, Jr.

Later yearsEdit

After losing the election, Dana sold his property and moved to South America to raise sheep.[8] While assisting in a plague stricken area, Dana contracted cholera in Argentina[9] and died near Buenos Aires. Years later he was re-interred in the Village Cemetery in Fryeburg, Maine.[10]

Personal lifeEdit

Dana married Eliza Ann Osgood[11] and they had five children. Dana's father Judah Dana was a Maine statesman and U.S. Senator.[12]


  1. ^ "Governor John Winchester Dana". Retrieved December 13, 2013.
  2. ^ Watson, Stephen Marion (1898). The Maine Historical and Genealogical Recorder, Volume 9. S.M. Watson. p. 353.
  3. ^ Maine (1840). Public Documents of the State of Maine; Being the Reports of the Various Public Officers and Departments. Maine. p. 20.
  4. ^ "Governor John Winchester Dana". Retrieved December 13, 2013.
  5. ^ "John W. Dana, Fryeburg, 1844". Maine Memory Network. Retrieved December 13, 2013.
  6. ^ Chase, Henry (1893). Representative Men of Maine: A Collection of Portraits with Biographical Sketches of Residents of the State, who Have Achieved Success ... to which is Added the Portraits and Sketches of All the Governors Since the Formation of the State. Lakeside Press. p. xxvii.
  7. ^ "John W. Dana". The Blaine House. Retrieved December 13, 2013.
  8. ^ "Dana, John W." Maine An Encyclopedia. Retrieved December 13, 2013.
  9. ^ "John W. Dana, Fryeburg, 1844". Maine Memory Network. Retrieved October 31, 2008.
  10. ^ The Maine Historical Magazine, Volume 7. Joseph W. Porter. 1892. p. 125.
  11. ^ Brown, John Howard (1900). Lamb's Biographical Dictionary of the United States: Chubb-Erich. James H. Lamb Company. p. 332.
  12. ^ Fosdick, Lucian John (1906). The French blood in America. R.G. Badger. p. 187. ISBN 9780665984068.

Further readingEdit

  • Sobel, Robert and John Raimo. Biographical Directory of the Governors of the United States, 1789-1978. Greenwood Press, 1988. ISBN 0-313-28093-2

External linksEdit

Party political offices
Preceded by Democratic nominee for Governor of Maine
1846, 1847, 1848
Succeeded by
Preceded by Democratic nominee for Governor of Maine
Succeeded by
Bion Bradbury
Political offices
Preceded by Governor of Maine
Succeeded by
Preceded by Governor of Maine
Succeeded by