Dec. 23, 1831: The Augusta newspaper The Age publishes its first issue, just in time to capitalize on the impending arrival of state government and the printing contracts it is likely to offer.

In the 1850s, Melville Weston Fuller (1833-1910) is a part-owner of the newspaper. The Age competes for several decades with the Kennebec Journal, which began publishing in 1825. For a few years, Fuller is employed at The Age at the same time James G. Blaine is in a partnership that owns the Kennebec Journal.

“The Age and the Kennebec Journal were not respectful to each other in their columns,” writes Willard King, Fuller’s biographer, referring to that period when the two men’s careers overlapped. “In fact, neither Fuller nor Blaine gave promise of their future eminence in the pages of those papers.”

More than 30 years later, Fuller is chief justice of the U.S. Supreme Court at the same time Blaine is serving as U.S. secretary of state.

Joseph Owen is an author, retired newspaper editor and board member of the Kennebec Historical Society. Owen’s book, “This Day in Maine,” can be ordered at To get a signed copy use promo code signedbyjoe at checkout. Joe can be contacted at:

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