Washburne, Elihu B.

Born: 1816-09-23 Livermore, Maine

Died: 1887-10-23 Chicago, Illinois

Alternate name: Washburn

Elihu B. Washburne tried several different occupations before pursuing law at the Maine Wesleyan Seminary and Harvard Law School. He was admitted to the bar in 1840 and moved to Galena, Illinois, where he eventually partnered with Charles S. Hempstead. He married Hempstead's niece, Adèle Gratiot, in 1845, with whom he had seven children. Washburne became a prominent Whig and friend of Abraham Lincoln. He won election to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1852 and remained there until 1870. With Lincoln, he was one of the organizers of the Illinois Republican Party and supported Lincoln's senatorial and presidential campaigns. When Lincoln arrived in Washington, D.C., in secret after his election, it was Washburne alone who met him at the station. Washburne was also an acquaintance of Ulysses S. Grant and was instrumental in furthering Grant's wartime military career.

John Y. Simon, "Washburne, Elihu Benjamin," American National Biography (New York: Oxford University Press, 1999), 22:750-51.