Bingham, William, 1752-1804

Alternative names
Birth 1752-03-08
Death 1804-02-07

Biographical notes:

Philadelphia banker and senator, American consul to Martinique.

From the description of Draft : St. Pierre, Martinique, to the Committee of Secret Correspondence, 1778 Jan. 14. (Rosenbach Museum & Library). WorldCat record id: 122541846

Statesman and entrepreneur. From 1770-1776 Bingham was the British consul in St. Pierre, Martinique. He remained in the West Indies for four more years serving as an agent of the Continental Congress, overseeing commercial privateering and espionage. By the time he returned to Philadelphia Bingham had amassed a considerable fortune. He owned a fleet of ships and broad tracts of land in Maine, New York and Pennsylvania and over time became the wealthiest man in America. Bingham was one of the founders of the Bank of Pennsylvania, chartered on Dec. 31, 1781 as the Bank of North America, the first bank in the United States. In 1791 he was elected one of twenty-five directors of the first national bank, the Bank of the United States. Bingham was also a statesman with considerable political power. Washington, Franklin, Hamilton, and Lord Lansdowne, England's prime minister were counted among his friends both politically and socially. They, along with business acquaintances, foreign visitors, relatives and friends, were frequent guests at the Bingham mansion in Philadelphia, where he and his wife, the former Anne Willing, were the social leaders of the nation's first capital. Their daughter, Anne Louisa Bingham, married Alexander Baring, later first Baron Ashburton, 1774-1848, who with Daniel Webster resolved the boundary line of northeast Maine between the United States and Canada. The Webster-Ashburton Treaty of 1842 also provided for the suppression of slave trade off the African coast.

From the description of Papers, 1752-1891. (Indiana University). WorldCat record id: 59006807

William Bingham was born in Philadelphia in 1752. The son of merchant William Bingham and his wife Mary (Stamper), the younger William was apprenticed to Philadelphia merchant Thomas Wharton. During the Revolutionary War, he was appointed American consul to Martinique, where he acquired a considerable fortune. After returning to Philadelphia, Bingham and his wife Ann Willing (1764-1801), established themselves as one of the young nation's most popular couples. Bingham dabbled in politics during the 1790s, and as a result of extensive land speculation in New York and Maine, was regarded as the wealthiest man in America at the time of his death in 1804.

From the description of William Bingham correspondence, 1791-1803. (Historical Society of Pennsylvania). WorldCat record id: 62096252

Epithet: MA

British Library Archives and Manuscripts Catalogue : Person : Description : ark:/81055/vdc_100000001439.0x0001d9

Trader, privateer owner, banker, and U.S. senator from Pennsylvania.

From the description of William Bingham papers, 1776-1801. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 123819684

Philadelphia banker and senator.

From the description of ALS : Lansdowne, Pa., to Willing and Francis, 1800 Sept. 18. (Rosenbach Museum & Library). WorldCat record id: 122591688

From the description of ALS : Washington, D.C., to Thomas W. Griffith, 1801 Feb. 15. (Rosenbach Museum & Library). WorldCat record id: 122617110

From the description of ALS : Washington, D.C., to James Beatty, 1827 Mar. 11. (Rosenbach Museum & Library). WorldCat record id: 122466285

William Bingham was a businessman and public official who was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on April 8, 1752, the son of Mary Stamper and William Bingham, a saddler and merchant. The younger Bingham graduated from the College of Philadelphia in 1768, apprenticed to a merchant, and began to buy his own ships. During the American Revolution, he served as an American agent in the West Indies, where he was able to acquire a large fortune. After the war, Bingham became a director of the Bank of North America, oversaw the construction of the Philadelphia and Lancaster Turnpike, founded Binghamton, New York, and dabbled in land speculation. By 1800, he was reputed to be the wealthiest man in the United States. He served in the Continental Congress, the Pennsylvania legislature, and the United States senate.

In 1780, William married Anne Willing, the daughter of Anne McCall and Thomas Willing, one of Bingham's business partners. The Binghams built a large house for themselves, and it became a favorite meeting place for members of the government while the U.S. capital was located in Philadelphia. William's and Anne's two daughters married Englishmen. Following the death of Anne in1801, William moved to England to live with his daughter who had married Alexander Baring. He died in Bath, England, on February 7, 1804, and was buried in Bath Abbey. Robert C. Alberts wrote a book about Bingham entitled The Golden Voyage.

From the description of Papers, 1741-1884, 1791-1794 (bulk dates). (Winterthur Library). WorldCat record id: 261233686

Delegate for Pennsylvania to the Continental Congress from 1786 to 1788; served in the U.S. Senate from 1795 to 1801. He helped found the Bank of North America, the first bank of the new nation, in 1781.

From the description of William Bingham letter, 1780 Jan. 22. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 649510843


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  • Taverns (Inns)
  • Wages--Household employees
  • Land settlement--History
  • Public lands
  • Marriage settlements
  • Shipping
  • French--Colonization
  • Commerce--18th century
  • Frontier and pioneer life
  • Privateering
  • Household employees
  • Prisoners of war
  • Home economics--Accounting
  • Surveying
  • Real property
  • Real estate investment
  • Real property--Maps
  • Rich people
  • Land tenure
  • United States--Economic conditions--18th century
  • Land settlement
  • Real property--Exchange of
  • United States--Politics and government--1789-1809
  • Banks and banking--18th century


  • Bankers
  • Surveyors
  • Trader
  • Senators, U.S. Congress--Pennsylvania
  • Shipowners


  • Pennsylvania (as recorded)
  • Scotland, United Kingdom (as recorded)
  • West Indies (as recorded)
  • Derbyshire, England (as recorded)
  • Pennsylvania (as recorded)
  • United States (as recorded)
  • United States (as recorded)
  • United States (as recorded)
  • Pennsylvania--Philadelphia (as recorded)
  • Maine (as recorded)
  • Weymouth, Dorset (as recorded)
  • Pennsylvania (as recorded)
  • Maine (as recorded)
  • Syria, Asia Minor (as recorded)
  • New York (as recorded)
  • United States (as recorded)
  • Stockport, Cheshire (as recorded)
  • Norwich, Norfolk (as recorded)
  • Middle Atlantic States (as recorded)
  • lrvine, Ayrshire (as recorded)
  • Pennsylvania--Philadelphia (as recorded)
  • Great Britain (as recorded)
  • Maine (as recorded)