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Biography of Luther Severance (1797-1855)
Daniel H. Weiskotten

Click Here to Return to the Cazenovia/Fenner/Nelson Biography Page

There is a pamphlet referred to as "J. G. Blaine's Memoir of Severance" but this source has not been found.  If you know of this reference, please contact me.

From: Web Page, The Political Graveyard, maintained by Lawrence Kestenbaum

Severance, Luther (1797-1855) Born in Montague, Franklin County, Mass., October 26, 1797. Member of Maine state house of representatives, 1829; member of Maine state senate, 1835; U.S. Representative from Maine 3rd District, 1843-47. Died January 25, 1855. Interment at Forest Grove Cemetery, Augusta, Maine.


From: Web Page, Biographical Directory of the United States Congress

(original source may be Dictionary of American Biography)

SEVERANCE, Luther, a Representative from Maine; born in Montague, Mass., October 26, 1797; moved with his parents to Cazenovia, N.Y., in 1799; attended the common schools; learned the printerís trade in Peterboro, N.Y.; established the Kennebec Journal in Augusta, Maine, in 1825; member of the State house of representatives in 1829, 1839, 1840, 1842, and 1848; served in the State senate in 1835 and 1836; elected as a Whig to the Twenty-eighth and Twenty-ninth Congresses (March 4, 1843-March 3, 1847); vice president of the Whig National Convention in 1848; United States commissioner to the Sandwich Islands 1850-1854; died in Augusta, Maine, January 25, 1855; interment in Forest Grove Cemetery.


Benefaction of William Evans and the Evans Festival
1858, published in Syracuse, NY by G.V. Luce, speech by Asahel C. Stone, page 26
(thanks to Donna Burdick for this source)

... I remember, when a mere boy, of coming of a Saturday night to a little Printing Office standing upon the very spot now occupied by this Hotel, to get "the newspaper."  For then we had a newspaper published in Peterboro, and the first one, too, that was ever published in Madison county!  That paper was called the FREEHOLDER:  Peter Smith, Editor; J. Bunce, Printer.  I remember a young man, who, week after week and month after month, labored at the press.  He left us, and for a time was lost sight of.  Years after his star appeared in the east, and steadily ascended the horizon until its light shone far and wide.  Maine, his adopted State, may well be proud of her SEVERANCE; but let her remember he was once the "Printer boy" of Peterboro, and from us she borrowed him.


From "North's History of Augusta (ME)" reprinted in "The News Press of Kennebeck County" (no other information available)

A brief from North's History of Augusta.

Luther Severance was the son of Elilu Severance, a farmer at Cazenovia, N. Y.  He was born in Oct. 1797,.  He worked upon the farm and attended the village school until his seventeenth year, when he went to Peterborough to learn the art of printing of Jonathan Bunce.  With him he remained five years; when, being of age, he sought work as a journeyman printer.  He found employment at Philadelphia with Wm. Duane, publisher of the Aurora, a newspaper which supported the administration of Pres.  Munroe.  He remained more than a year in Philadelphia, and wrote, among other things for the Aurora, a communication upon the subject of the Missouri Compromise (a subject then agitating the country), which did him great credit.  In the fall of 1820 he went to Washington and obtained work in the Intelligencer Office where he remained, with slight interruptions, until he went to Augusta.  In 1829 he was elected by the National Republican party to represent Augusta in the Legislature.  In 1835 and 1836 he was elected to the Senate from Kennebec.  In 1839 and 1840 he was again in the House of Representatives.  In 1843 he was elected to Congress; and again in I M. He was one of the vice-presidents at the national convention which nominated Gen.  Taylor to the presidency.  Upon the election of Gen.  Taylor and the accession of the Whigs to power, Mr. Severance,who had for some years suffered much from ill health, desired the appointment of the United States Commissioner to the Sandwich Islands in the hope that the salubrity of the climate of those islands might restore him.  In this he was gratified, after some delay made by southern senators on account of his anti-slavery views. Accompanied by his family, he sailed from Boston for Honolulu on the 22d day of August, 1850, and safely reached his destination on the 12th day of the following January.  He remained nearly three years commissioner at the Sandwich Islands, acquiring great influence with the king and his cabinet, and winning the favorable regards and esteem of the foreign consuls and the people of the islands.  The climate did not have the favorable effect anticipated, and his rapidly failing health made him anxious to return.  He embraced the earliest opportunity to leave, after the arrival of his successor, and reached his home at Augusta on the 12th of April, 1854, with health prostrated past hope of recovery.  In much suffering, which he bore with Christian fortitude, he lived until January 25,1855, when he died, at the age of fifty-seven years.  The legislature then in session, upon being informed of the event, passed appropriate resolutions, and as a "testimonial of their regard for his memory as a man of integrity and honor and a faithful public officer," attended his funeral, as did also the Governor, and Council, the city council of Augusta, and a large number of citizens.  Rev.  Dr. Tappan, who assisted Rev.  L.G. Ware, pastor of the Unitarian church, at the funeral, said he had known Mr. Severance for many years, "and held him in high esteem.  Though not blessed with superior advantages in early life, yet by diligent culture in the faithful use of those means of information which are accessible to all, he obtained high rank among men of intelligence.  As the editor of a weekly journal as a citizen of Augusta, as a member of our State legislature and our national Congress, as commissioner from the United States in a foreign country, he was uniformly distinguished for his good sense, his sound judgment, his extensive acquaintance with men and things, and his firm adhesion to what fie regarded as correct principle.  A man of exemplary morals himself, be was ever found on the side of good morals in the community, both in his native country and in those interesting islands of  the sea where his elevated station gave to his opinions, counsel and example, a commanding influence.  Peculiarly amiable and kind in his domestic and social relations, he was sure to gain the affections, in no ordinary degree, of kindred and friends."
See J. G. Blaine's Memoir of Severance.