US Congressman, US Senator. A successful and wealthy industrialist and political power broker, he was instrumental in the election campaign of President Grover Cleveland in 1884. He rose to financial prominence in Connecticut through development of iron mining and transportation companies, and served in the Connecticut State Legislature from 1851 to 1852. In 1866 he was elected as a Democrat to represent Connecticut’s 4th Congressional District in the United States House of Representatives, defeating his third cousin, the famous Circus entertainment mogul Phineas T. “P.T.” Barnum for the seat. He served from 1867 until 1876, when he was elected as a Democratic Senator from Connecticut to the United States Senate, filling the vacancy caused by the death of Senator Orris S. Ferry. He served from 1876 until 1879, then returned to his home state and his business concerns. In 1876 he had been named Chairman of the Democratic National Committee, and parlayed his political and business success to become a major political influence with the party, holding the position until 1889. When New York State Governor Grover Cleveland decided to run for President, William H. Barnum used his considerable influence and patronage to help him get elected, and his assistance is considered to be one of the main factors in Cleveland’s election victory. Senator Barnum passed away in Lime Rock, Connecticut in 1889 shortly after leaving his post of DNC chairman.
Bio by: Patrick Barnum
Charlotte Ann Burrall Barnum