Maine: An Encyclopedia
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Bingham, William

(1752-1804) was a wealthy and influential Philadelphia banker and a financier during the Revolutionary War, a United States Senator, and an owner of great tracts of land in Maine, once totaling two million acres. He was also the founder of the country’s first Bank in 1781.

In 1786 he secured the Bingham Purchase, in two tracts, from Massachusetts. Each comprised 1,000,000 acres. The first, or Bingham Penobscot Purchase, was located in Washington and Hancock counties. Somerset County was the site of his second or Kennebec Purchase, including the current town of Bingham.

Bingham survived the financial panic of 1797 and remained a powerful financial and political force. Nearly a decade after Bingham’s death, President John Adams “charged that the Presidency, the Capital and the Country has really been governed by Bingham and his family connections.” (Isaacson, p. 382)

Additional resources

Alberts, Robert C. The Golden Voyage: The Life and Times of William Bingham, 1752-1804.  Boston, Mass. Houghton-Mifflin. 1969.

Allis, Frederick S. William Bingham’s Maine Lands, 1790-1820. Boston, The Colonial Society of Massachusetts. 1954.

Brown, Margaret L. “Mr. and Mrs. William Bingham of Philadelphia: Rulers of the Republican Court.” Pennsylvania. Pennsylvania Magazine of History. 1937. [Maine State Library]

Brown, Margaret Louise. “William Bingham, Eighteenth Century Magnate.” New York, N.Y. Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography. 1937. [Maine State Library]

Isaacson, Dorris. Maine:A Guide Downeast.

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