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Article Submitted by Dan McDonald
Most taken from an 1853 Article in The People's Journal
Page Created by Joyce M. Tice

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WILLIAM BINGHAM was born in Philadelphia on the 8th  of  March, 1753. He was educated at the academy and  college in that city. On the 29th of November, 1768, he received a diploma, as Bachelor of Arts, and on  the 28th of June, 1771, a diploma as Master of Arts.

 In 1778, Congress appointed him Consul of the United States for the French West India Islands, resident in Martinique. In the spring of 1780 he returned to Philadelphia, and on the 26th of October of that year he married Ann Willing, the eldest daughter of Thomas Willing, a merchant in that city. The marriage was performed by the Rev. William White, Rector of Christ Church, and afterward the venerable
Bishop of the Pennsylvania diocese. His wife Ann was also very beautiful,and the US Mint used her likeness on early american coins.

 Mr. Bingham was, for several years, a member of the legislature of his native state, and was Speaker of both Houses, the House of Representatives and the Senate. From the 4th of March, 1795 to the 4th of March, 1801, he was a Senator in the Congress of the United States, and an ardent supporter of the administration of Washington, with whom he was on terms of great personal intimacy. While the election between Jefferson and Burr was the subject of contest, Mr. Jefferson did not take his seat in the Senate, over which body he presided, as Vice-President of the United States. In his absence, Mr. Bingham occupied the Chair as presiding officer.

 Mr. Bingham was an enterprising and successful  merchant; but he did not confine his attention merely to mercantile pursuits. He had valuable property in the city and county of Philadelphia, and large landed estates in Maine, New York, and Pennsylvania. From the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania he purchased over a million acres. His title to those acres, lying chiefly in the northern counties, (Tioga,Bradford,Potter counties). In Tioga county alone, Bingham owned 229,343 acres of land.This was  founded upon WARRANTS, granted to him by the Commonwealth, in the years 1792 and 1793, upon SURVEYS, made by the officers of the Commonwealth, and
regularly returned by them into the office of the Surveyor General, and upon PATENTS, issued to him, or to the Trustees appointed in his will, and signed by the Governor or Secretary of the Land Office. The evidence of this title is in the Surveyor’s Office at Harrisburg; and any person who will write to the head of that Department for a copy of any paper in his office, will be sure to get it in a week. The cost for
a copy of a warrant and survey was half a dollar each, for that of a patent, seventy five cents. No one, then, needed be in ignorance of the BINGHAM TITLE, when he can satisfy himself upon it on terms so easy.  Most of the lands were originally purchased from the State by Mr. Bingham and the title to them is plain and undoubted.

 Mr. Bingham died on the 6th of February, 1804, in  the 51st year of his age, having survived his wife, who died in May, 1801. His will, bearing date of January 31, 1804, was duly proved and filed in the  Register’s Office in Philadelphia, and copies of it are upon the records of some of the counties in which the lands lie. He delivered his Estate to five Trustees, for the benefit of his son and two daughters, his only children. The Trustees were his two sons-in-law, Alexander Baring, (afterwards Lord Ashburton) and Henry Baring, and his three friends,
Robert Gilmore, of Baltimore, and Thomas Mayne Willing and Charles Willing Hare, both of Philadelphia. These Trustees are dead, and the estate is now represented by five other Trustees, appointed in the manner prescribed in the will. They are Joseph Reed Ingersoll, and John craig Miller, and three of Mr. Bingham’s grandsons, William Bingham Baring, (Lord Ashburton,) Francis Baring, and Henry Bingham Baring.

 Lord Ashburton and Francis Baring were born in  Philadelphia. They are both in the Parliament of  Great Britain, the former in the House of Lords, the  latter in the House of commons. Mr. Ingersoll was, for several years, the Representative of Philadelphia in Congress, and last summer the President of the  United States appointed him Minister to England. The other gentlemen, from time to time, connected with the trust, were held in high estimation in the communities in which they lived; and no person in Philadelphia has a better reputation than Mr. Miller. Such are the persons who have represented and do represent the large interests of the Bingham estate, as well in Pennsylvania as elsewhere.

 The daughters of Mr. Bingham are dead. One died  December 5, 1848; the other, March 9th following.  The son, William Bingham, born in Philadelphia, on December 29, 1800, lived in Paris France more many years.

 (From People’s Journal, December 18, 1853) Editorial Comment: We publish on the first page a short sketch  of the life and character of the late William Bingham, which we hope will receive the attention of every reader.

"We believe no man of sense in this country has ever had any doubt on this subject, and we shall not waste words in trying those who will not listen to reason. The following fact is too seldom thought of by the inhabitants, and is not appreciated even when mentioned. Look at it"

For more than half a century, the Estate has paid taxes on these lands, which went to defray county expenses, to build roads and bridges, to pay interest on the State debt, and to support schools, etc.

The Bingham Estate office which was located in Wellsboro,Pennsylvania did not close until 1964.

William Bingham, never personally viewed the lands he had purchased. He purchased the vast lands as an investment.

So as one can see Bingham was a speculator and with his other enterprises was known as the richest man in America!