A marble statue of William King, who helped lead Maine to statehood and became its first governor, is displayed in the U.S. Capitol. Courtesy of the Architect of the Capitol

Feb. 29, 1820: The Portland-based Eastern Argus newspaper reports that William King, soon to become Maine’s first governor, led a successful effort to convince the Massachusetts General Court to grant a two-year extension to Maine on the terms of its separation from Massachusetts.

The court’s action removed one of the final obstacles to Maine’s statehood, set to take effect March 15.

Some separation advocates had argued that if Massachusetts didn’t extend its March 4 deadline, Maine should declare itself an independent republic until Congress acted on the statehood question.

Joseph Owen is a retired copy desk chief of the Morning Sentinel and Kennebec Journal and board member of the Kennebec Historical Society. He can be contacted at: jowen@mainetoday.com.

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