Biography of Ira G. Hersey

Ira G. Hersey, of Houlton, a leading attorney of Aroostook County, was born in Hodgdon, Maine, on March 31, 1858. A son of Samuel B. and Elizabeth (White) Hersey, he is a descendant of William Hersey, who settled in Hingham, Massachusetts, in 1635. He attended the common schools of his native town, and subsequently Houlton Academy, now the Ricker Classical Institute.

After leaving the academy, he read law with the Hon. Lyman S. Strickland, of Houlton, and in September, 1880, was admitted to the bar of Aroostook County. Since that time he has built up a large and lucrative practice, and has acquired an enviable reputation. He is especially strong in addressing a jury, and is a skillful cross-examiner on jury trials. On this account he is now often called upon to act as counsel for cases tried before juries.

In 1896 Mr. Hersey was a candidate for County Attorney on the Independent ticket, and received nearly three thousand votes. He was beaten only by a small majority, the Republican candidate being elected. His handsome and spacious law office at Houlton, one of the finest in the State, contains a large and valuable law library. Mr. Hersey is thoroughly acquainted with the resources of the State and well informed on all industrial and financial questions. Much of this information has been obtained on political canvasses. In the campaign of 1894 he was candidate for Governor on the Prohibition ticket, and spoke to large audiences in the interest of his party in nearly all the large cities and towns. He has also spoken in various other campaigns. His first vote was cast for a Prohibition candidate, and he has always since been a stanch Prohibitionist. Today he is recognized as the backbone of the party in the county. Besides the political speeches he has delivered, he has made occasional addresses before the Ricker Classical Institute, his Alma Mater. His speeches are said to be characterized by “fire, eloquence, and grace.” Mr. Hersey is an active member and an official of the Methodist Episcopal church in Houlton. On various occasions, at the request of the congregation, when the pastor was absent, he preached from the pulpit of that church. At one time he was the State president of the Epworth League and prominent in the Young Men’s Christian Association. He is also a trustee of the Eastern Maine Seminary at Bucksport. A Mason of Monument Lodge, No. 96, he belongs to St. Aldemar Commandcry, and is Deputy High Priest of the State. In the Knights of Pythias and the Independent Order of Odd Fellows he has taken all the degrees, and at the present time is Deputy Grand Master of the latter organization. He was married on January 6, 1885, to Miss Annie Dillon, a daughter of William Dillon, of Mars Hill, Aroostook County.

Source: Biographical review: containing life sketches of leading citizens of Somerset, Piscataquis, Hancock, Washington, and Aroostook counties, Maine. Boston: Biographical Review Publishing Company, 1898.

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