William Pitt Fessenden
(1806 - 1869)
Son of one of Maine's leading abolitionists, William Pitt Fessenden grew up to become a political leader himself. Though not as radical an anti-slavery man as his father, Fessenden was a solid advocate of the anti-slavery cause and a key figure in the new Republican Party. Fessenden graduated Bowdoin College in 1823, and went on to apprentice at his father's law office in Portland. He began his political career as a member of the Maine legislature, and later went to Washington, as a member of both the U.S. House of Representatives, and the Senate. After serving as Chair of the Senate Finance Committee during the Civil War, Fessenden was appointed Secretary of the Treasury under President Abraham Lincoln in 1864. He stood firmly against inflation, and helped organize the government's finances at the end of a very expensive war. Fessenden served as chair of the joint committee on Reconstruction after the war.
Source: Dictionary of American Biography, ed. Allen Johnson. Vol. VI. New York: Charles Scribners' Sons. 1929.