Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
Grant Wilson, John Fiske and Stanley L. Klos. Six volumes, New York: D. Appleton
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COBURN, Abner, merchant, born in Skowhegan, Maine, 22 March, 1803; died there, 4 January, 1885. His father, Eleazar, a land-surveyor, several times represented the town of Canaan (now embraced in Skowhegan) in the legislatures of Massachusetts and Maine. Though employed in early life on his father's farm, Abner spent several terms at Bloomfield academy, and in 1825 became a surveyor. The knowledge obtained in this profession led him into the lumber business, which he prosecuted for more than half a century with ability and success. He began to take an interest in railway enterprises in 1854, and became director or president of several important lines. In 1838 he was elected as a Whig to the Maine legislature, and again in 1840. In 1852, when General Scott was the Whig candidate for president, he was on the electoral ticket. In 1855 he was a member of Governor Morrill's council, and in 1857 held the same office under Govs. Hamlin and Williams. In 1860 he was an elector on the Lincoln ticket and chosen governor of Maine in 1862, filling the office during most of the year 1863 and supporting the national government with devotion and fidelity. His last public service was rendered in 1884, when he was one of the Republican electors and was made their chairman. Governor Coburn was active in philanthropic movements, mid evinced a practical interest in higher education. He was president of the managers of the College of agriculture and mechanic-arts, and vice-president of the board of trustees of Colby university. He gave largely in his lifetime to aid schools and Colleges and the building of churches, especially in connection with the Baptist denomination, to which he was warmly attached. He bequeathed to various educational, religious, and charitable institutions over $800,000, including $200,000 to Colby University, $100,000 to the Maine state College of agriculture, $200,000 to the American Baptist home missionary society, and $100,000 to the American Baptist missionary union.
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