Sumner Sewall
Sumner Sewall was a U.S.
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

Republican Party (United States)
The Republican Party is one of the two major contemporary political parties in the United States, along with the Democratic Party. Founded by anti-slavery expansion activists in 1854, it is often called the GOP . The party's platform generally reflects American conservatism in the U.S...

A politician, political leader, or political figure is an individual who is involved in influencing public policy and decision making...

 and airline
An airline provides air transport services for traveling passengers and freight. Airlines lease or own their aircraft with which to supply these services and may form partnerships or alliances with other airlines for mutual benefit...

 executive who served as the 58th Governor of Maine
Governor of Maine
The governor of Maine is the chief executive of the State of Maine. Before Maine was admitted to the Union in 1820, Maine was part of Massachusetts and the governor of Massachusetts was chief executive....

 from 1941 to 1945. He began his aviation career during World War I as a fighter ace
Flying ace
A flying ace or fighter ace is a military aviator credited with shooting down several enemy aircraft during aerial combat. The actual number of aerial victories required to officially qualify as an "ace" has varied, but is usually considered to be five or more...



A native of Bath, Maine
Bath, Maine
Bath is a city in Sagadahoc County, Maine, in the United States. As of the 2000 census, the city population was 9,266. It is the county seat of Sagadahoc County. Located on the Kennebec River, Bath is a port of entry with a good harbor. The city is popular with tourists, many drawn by its...

, Sewall dropped out of Harvard College
Harvard University
Harvard University is a private Ivy League university located in Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States, established in 1636 by the Massachusetts legislature. Harvard is the oldest institution of higher learning in the United States and the first corporation chartered in the country...

 in 1917 to go to Europe to aid the Allies during World War I. Sewall served first in the American Ambulance Field Service
AFS Intercultural Programs
AFS Intercultural Programs was established in 1915 by A. Piatt Andrew, a onetime economics professor at Harvard University and former U.S. Assistant Secretary of the Treasury...

 from February through August 1917, then in the U.S. Army Signal Corps, then finally as a fighter pilot
Fighter pilot
A fighter pilot is a military aviator trained in air-to-air combat while piloting a fighter aircraft . Fighter pilots undergo specialized training in aerial warfare and dogfighting...

 in the U.S. Army Air Service, becoming an ace by scoring seven victories. He enlisted in the USAAS in Paris, underwent training, and reported to the 95th Aero Squadron in February 1918. He was promoted to Flight Commander, and went on to score five victories over enemy planes between 3 June and 18 September 1918, sharing a couple of them with future general James Knowles
James Knowles (aviator)
Lieutenant James Knowles, Jr. was a World War I flying ace credited with five aerial victories. He was one of the final aces in the war.Knowles was a Harvard student who was accepted into the U.S. Army Air Service in April 1917. In June 1918, he reported to the 95th Aero Squadron for duty as a Spad...

 and Edward Peck Curtis
Edward Peck Curtis
Major General Edward Peck Curtis began his career as a lieutenant in World War I. His six aerial victories made him a flying ace.Born in Rochester, New York, Edward Peck Curtis was a graduate of St. Georges School, Newport, Rhode Island...

. Sewall then became a balloon buster
Balloon buster
Balloon busters were military pilots known for destroying enemy observation balloons. These pilots were noted for their fearlessness. Seventy-six fighter pilots in World War I were each credited with destroying five or more balloons, and thus were balloon aces....

, shooting down an observation balloon each on 4 and 5 November. The only victory he did not receive credit for came when German pilot Leutnant Heinz Freiherr von Beaulieu-Marconnay mistakenly landed on the 95th Aero Squadron's airfield, and Sewall and a couple of other American pilots captured him at gunpoint.

Sewall returned home with the Distinguished Service Cross
Distinguished Service Cross (United States)
The Distinguished Service Cross is the second highest military decoration that can be awarded to a member of the United States Army, for extreme gallantry and risk of life in actual combat with an armed enemy force. Actions that merit the Distinguished Service Cross must be of such a high degree...

 with oak leaf cluster
Oak leaf cluster
An oak leaf cluster is a common device which is placed on U.S. Army and Air Force awards and decorations to denote those who have received more than one bestowal of a particular decoration. The number of oak leaf clusters typically indicates the number of subsequent awards of the decoration...

, the French Legion of Honor
Légion d'honneur
The Legion of Honour, or in full the National Order of the Legion of Honour is a French order established by Napoleon Bonaparte, First Consul of the Consulat which succeeded to the First Republic, on 19 May 1802...

, the Croix de guerre
Croix de guerre
The Croix de guerre is a military decoration of France. It was first created in 1915 and consists of a square-cross medal on two crossed swords, hanging from a ribbon with various degree pins. The decoration was awarded during World War I, again in World War II, and in other conflicts...

 and the Order of the Crown of Belgium
Order of the Crown (Belgium)
The Order of the Crown is an Order of Belgium which was created on 15 October 1897 by King Leopold II in his capacity as ruler of the Congo Free State. The order was first intended to recognize heroic deeds and distinguished service achieved from service in the Congo Free State - many of which acts...


After the war, he worked in a variety of jobs, including being an executive with Colonial Air Transport
Colonial Air Transport
Colonial Air Transport was founded in 1926 in New York, NY by Juan Trippe, and moved their HQ to Boston in 1927. In 1930, it was acquired by AVCO to become American Airlines.Colonial acquired rights to fly the early U.S...

 and a director of United Air Lines.

His political career began when he became an alderman
An alderman is a member of a municipal assembly or council in many jurisdictions founded upon English law. The term may be titular, denoting a high-ranking member of a borough or county council, a council member chosen by the elected members themselves rather than by popular vote, or a council...

 in Bath in 1933. He was elected to the Maine state legislature
Maine Legislature
The Maine Legislature is the state legislature of the U.S. state of Maine. It is a bicameral body composed of the lower house Maine House of Representatives and the upper house Maine Senate...

 as a representative
Maine House of Representatives
The Maine House of Representatives is the lower house of the Maine Legislature. The House consists of 151 members representing an equal amount of districts across the state. Each voting member of the House represents around 8,450 citizens of the state...

 in 1934, then as a senator
Maine Senate
The Maine Senate is the upper house of the Maine Legislature, the state legislature of the U.S. state of Maine. The Senate currently consists of 35 members representing an equal number of districts across the state, though the Maine Constitution allows for "an odd number of Senators, not less than...

 in 1936 and 1938. After the latter election, he was named President of the State Senate. In 1940, he was elected governor, and served two terms. Sewall's administration was notable for cleaning up scandals in state government and passing a minimum wage law
Minimum wage law
Minimum wage law is the body of law which prohibits employers from hiring employees or workers for less than a given hourly, daily or monthly minimum wage. More than 90% of all countries have some kind of minimum wage legislation....

 for state teachers.

After stepping down as governor, Sewall became president of American Overseas Airlines
American Overseas Airlines
American Overseas Airlines was an airline that operated between the United States and Europe between 1945 and 1950. It was headquartered in Midtown Manhattan, New York City.-Early history:...

 for a year, then served as the military governor of Württemberg-Baden
Württemberg-Baden is a former state of Federal Republic of Germany. It was created in 1945 by the U.S. occupation forces, after the previous states of Baden and Württemberg had been split up between the US and French occupation zones. Its capital was Stuttgart...

 from 1946 to 1947. In 1948, Sewall finished a distant third in the Republican
Republican Party (United States)
The Republican Party is one of the two major contemporary political parties in the United States, along with the Democratic Party. Founded by anti-slavery expansion activists in 1854, it is often called the GOP . The party's platform generally reflects American conservatism in the U.S...

 primary for Maine's open United States Senate
United States Senate
The United States Senate is the upper house of the bicameral legislature of the United States, and together with the United States House of Representatives comprises the United States Congress. The composition and powers of the Senate are established in Article One of the U.S. Constitution. Each...

 seat, which ended his political career.

Sewall became president of the Bath National Bank in the 1960s. He died on 26 January 1965.


Sewall married Helen Ellena Evans in 1929. They had two sons, David and Nick and a daughter Alexandria

Sewall's grandfather, Arthur Sewall
Arthur Sewall
Arthur Sewall was a U.S. Democratic politician from Maine most notable as William Jennings Bryan's first running mate in 1896. As the Populist Party nominee, Bryan had another running mate as well, Thomas E. Watson...

, was the Democratic
Democratic Party (United States)
The Democratic Party is one of two major contemporary political parties in the United States, along with the Republican Party. The party's socially liberal and progressive platform is largely considered center-left in the U.S. political spectrum. The party has the lengthiest record of continuous...

 candidate for vice president
Vice President of the United States
The Vice President of the United States is the holder of a public office created by the United States Constitution. The Vice President, together with the President of the United States, is indirectly elected by the people, through the Electoral College, to a four-year term...

 in 1896
United States presidential election, 1896
The United States presidential election held on November 3, 1896, saw Republican William McKinley defeat Democrat William Jennings Bryan in a campaign considered by political scientists to be one of the most dramatic and complex in American history....


External links

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