Oliver Otis Howard
(1830 - 1909)
Oliver Otis Howard was one of Maine's many Civil War heroes. Howard was born in Leeds, and graduated from Bowdoin College and West Point. Despite various aspersions cast on his military record, Howard rose to become Major General in the U.S. Army, and won a Congressional Medal of Honor for his efforts in the Civil War. He is more widely recognized for his contributions to Reconstruction after the war. Howard was appointed commissioner of the Freedman's Bureau, an organization that helped freed blacks establish themselves in homes and jobs. He founded and served as president of a university founded to educate African American students: Howard University, located in Washington, D.C. Howard University remains an excellent institution with a primarily African American student body. O.O. Howard resigned from the university in 1874 and led expeditions against the Nez PercÚ, Bannock, and Piute Indians before retiring from the Army in 1894.
Source: Finding Katahdin: An Exploration of Maine's Past, by Amy Hassinger. Orono: University of Maine Press, 2000; and Dictionary of American Biography, Vol. IX. Ed. Allen Johnson. New York: Charles Scribners' Sons. 1929. Image courtesy Maine Historical Society.