Judge Martin L. Durgin, Justice of the Municipal Court at Milo, was born in this town, March 26, 1852, son of Martin L. and Emalie (Cogswell) Durgin. Both parents were natives of New Hampshire. The father, who came from Coos County of that State about fifty years ago, lived in Exeter, Orneville, La Grange, and Sebec before he came to Milo. He was a blacksmith by trade, which he followed until 1868; and he was subsequently engaged in farming for a short time. During his later years he conducted an express business and carried the United States mail. A progressive, public-spirited man, he took an important part in the public affairs of the various towns in which he resided. His first Presidential vote was cast for William H. Harrison in 1840. Later he became a strong abolitionist, and during the Civil War enlisted several times, but was not accepted on account of physical disability. While in religious belief he was a Universalist, he had respect and sympathy for all other denominations, and his hospitable roof frequently provided rest and refreshment to ministers who temporarily visited the community in which he lived. His wife, Emalie, was of Scotch ancestry on her mother’s side, and represented the Cogswell and McAllister families of New Hampshire. She became the mother of ten children, five of whom are living, namely: Cyrus C., a prosperous farmer of La Grange; Adelaide V., who married Robert H. Leonard, and resides in Silver City, Idaho; Ida L.; Martin L.; and C. H. Durgin, who is chief engineer at Morse & Co.’s mills in Bangor, Me. The others were: Cyrus C. (first), Sarah, John M., Mary, and Charles F. The father died in 1891, and the mother in 1885.
Martin L. Durgin, the subject of this biography, was educated in the public schools of La Grange, Sebec, and Milo. After completing his studies he went to Idaho, where he was for some time employed in a quartz-mill. Then he returned home and studied law with William P. Young, of Milo, and was admitted to the bar in 1878. His law practice is extensive and profitable. The high reputation he enjoys has been won by hard work and an untiring devotion to the cases entrusted to his charge. An indefatigable worker for the success of the Republican party; he has been the chairman of the Town and County Committees, a delegate to many conventions, and has often presented the names of successful candidates for public office. He has served with ability as Town Clerk, has been Moderator several years, and, appointed Justice of the Municipal Court by Governor Cleaves in 1893, he was reappointed by Governor Powers in 1897. He is actively interested in educational matters, was instrumental in building the new schoolhouse, and is at the present time serving as Supervisor. His ability, both as a lawyer and orator, are frequently used for the benefit of his party. He conceived and prepared the bill passed by the legislature, by which all municipal judges are made justices of the peace ex officio.
Judge Durgin is a Past Master of Piscataquis Lodge, F. & A. M.; a member of Piscataquis Chapter, Royal Arch Masons; and of Aldworth Chapter, 0. E. S. He is also ‘connected with Dirigo Lodge, . No. 163, I. 0. 0. F.;’ with the Lodge of Rebeccas; with Mutual Lodge, No. II, Ancient Order of United Workmen; with Constantia Lodge, No. 233, Independent Order of Good Templars; and with the fraternity of Foresters. He takes a lively interest in all social events, amusements, and musical affairs, and is a member of the quartet choir of the Baptist church. He married Rosella J. Sampson, daughter of Captain Sampson, who commanded Company D, Second Maine Regiment, during the Rebellion, and was a prominent resident of Milo in his day. Mrs. Durgin is the mother of one son, Frank W., who is now attending the high school.
Source: Biographical review: containing life sketches of leading citizens of Somerset, Piscataquis, Hancock, Washington, and Aroostook counties, Maine. Boston: Biographical Review Publishing Company, 1898.