About William Barrett Washburn
William Barrett Washburn (January 31, 1820 – October 5, 1887) was an American politician from Massachusetts who served in the United States House of Representatives and as the 28th Governor of Massachusetts.
Born in 1820 in Winchendon, Massachusetts, he was the son of Asa and Phoebe (Whitney) Washburn and brother of Nelson Phinehas Washburn.
He graduated from Yale College in 1844, where he was a member of Skull and Bones. He was employed as a store clerk from 1844 to 1847. He was engaged in manufacturing pursuits in Erving, Massachusetts from 1847 to 1857.
Washburn became a member of the Massachusetts Senate in 1850 and was a member of the Massachusetts House of Representatives from 1853 to 1855.
He moved to Greenfield in 1858 and engaged in banking. He was elected as a Republican to the Thirty-eighth and to the four succeeding Congresses and served from March 4, 1863 to December 5, 1871. He served as chairman of the Committee on Claims during the Forty-first Congress.
In 1871 he was elected Governor of Massachusetts and served in that post until 1874. He was elected as a Republican to the United States Senate to fill the vacancy caused by the death of Charles Sumner and served from April 17, 1874 to March 4, 1875. He was not a candidate for reelection.
He was president of the Greenfield National Bank; he was a trustee of Yale College, the Massachusetts Agricultural College, and Smith College, of which he was also a benefactor, and a member of the board of overseers of Amherst College from 1864 to 1877. Harvard University conferred the degree of EL. D. upon him in 1872. He served on the board of directors of the Connecticut River Railroad.
He was a member of the American board of the American Home Missionary Society, and the American Missionary Association Residuary legatees, leaving each society about $50,000 in his will. He was a benefactor of the Greenfield Public Library.
He died in Springfield, Hampden County, Mass., on October 5, 1887 while attending a session of the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions (ABCFM), which he was also a member.