Presidential Cabinet Secretary, US Senator, US Congressman. One of the most powerful Republican members of the United States Congress during the Civil War, and a strong supporter of President Abraham Lincoln, his first national office was as a representative of Maine's 4th Congressional District in the United States House of Representatives, where he served from 1841 to 1843. He was then elected to represent Maine in the United States Senate in 1853 to fill the vacancy caused by the failure of the Maine State Legislature to fill the seat. He served in the Senate from 1853 to 1864, then from 1865 to his death in 1869. In the 1850s he was a strong anti-slavery proponent, and helped organize the Republican Party. During the Civil War was a chairman of the Senate Finance committee, a position which he greatly influenced the financial aspect of the war for the Union. He was a member of the 1861 Washington Peace Conference, which unsuccessfully tried to stave off the war. He was appointed in July 1, 1864 to the post of Secretary of the Treasury, serving until March 1865, when he again took up his Senate seat. After the war he served as chairman of the Joint Committee of Reconstruction, which was orientated to Radical Reconstruction. Three of his sons served in the Union Army in the Civil War. Two, James D. Fessenden and Francis Fessenden, rose to the ranks of Brigadier General and Major General, respectively (both owing their rank to their father's political influence). The third, Samuel Fessenden, served in the artillery, and as an aide-de-camp, and was mortally wounded at the Battle of 2nd Bull Run. His two younger brothers were Maine Congressmen Samuel C. Fessenden, and Thomas A.D. Fessenden. Originally interred in Portland's Western Cemetery, he was later moved to the Fessenden family plot in Evergreen Cemetery.
Bio by: RPD2
Ellen Maria Deering Fessenden