WASHBURN, William Drew

1831–1912

Biography

WASHBURN, William Drew, (brother of Israel Washburn, Jr., Elihu Benjamin Washburne, and Cadwallader Colden Washburn), a Representative and a Senator from Minnesota; born in Livermore, Androscoggin County, Maine, on January 14, 1831; attended the common schools and graduated from Bowdoin College, Brunswick, Maine, in 1854; studied law in Bangor, Maine; admitted to the bar in 1857 and commenced practice in Minneapolis, Minn., where he had settled early in 1857; appointed as United States surveyor general of Minnesota by President Abraham Lincoln 1861-1865, residing in St. Paul while holding that office; unsuccessful candidate for the United States House of Representatives in 1864; returned to Minneapolis and engaged in the newspaper, railway, milling, and waterpower businesses; several times a member of the State house of representatives; elected as a Republican to the Forty-sixth, Forty-seventh, and Forty-eighth Congresses (March 4, 1879-March 3, 1885); elected as a Republican to the United States Senate and served from March 4, 1889, to March 3, 1895; unsuccessful candidate for reelection; chairman, Committee on the Improvement of the Mississippi River and its Tributaries (Fifty-first and Fifty-second Congresses); resumed manufacturing pursuits and also engaged in railroad building; died in Minneapolis, Minn., July 29, 1912; interment in Lakewood Cemetery.

View Record in the Biographical Directory of the U.S. Congress

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External Research Collections

Duke University
Special Collections Library

Durham, NC
Papers: In Algernon S. Washburn correspondence, 1832-1884. 214 items. Finding aid.

Library of Congress
Manuscript Division

Washington, DC
Papers: In Israel Washburn papers, 1838-1908; and Elihu B. Washburn papers, 1829-1882. Finding aid.

Minnesota Historical Society

St. Paul, MN
Papers: 2-page biographical sketch (no date); and letters and references in numerous other collections including the papers of his brothers Algernon S. and Elihu B.; newspaper clippings (1893-1894) and scrapbooks in the papers of his son Stanley, 1890-1977; and 200 letters in the William Dinsmore Hale papers.

State Historical Society of Wisconsin
Archives Division

Madison, WI
Papers: Letters (1869) concerning a dam near Pokegama Falls, MN, in Cadwallader Colden Washburn papers, 1844-1877.

University of Michigan
Bentley Historical Library

Ann Arbor, MI
Papers: Correspondence in Thomas McIntyre Cooley papers, 1850-1898.
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Bibliography / Further Reading

Upham, Warren. "Memorial Address in Honor of Senator William Drew Washburn." Collections of the Minnesota Historical Society 15 (May 1915): 816-17.

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