William Windom (May 10, 1827 – January 29, 1891) was an American politician from Minnesota. He served as U.S. Representative from 1859 to 1869, and as U.S. Senator from 1870 to January 1871, from March 1871 to March 1881, and from November 1881 to 1883. He also served two non-consecutive times as Secretary of the Treasury from March to November 1881, and from 1889 to 1891, under three Presidents. He was a Republican. He was the great-grandfather of actor William Windom, who was named for him.
|33rd and 39th United States Secretary of the Treasury|
March 7, 1889 – January 29, 1891
|Preceded by||Charles S. Fairchild|
|Succeeded by||Charles Foster|
March 8, 1881 – November 13, 1881
Chester A. Arthur
|Preceded by||John Sherman|
|Succeeded by||Charles J. Folger|
|United States Senator|
November 15, 1881 – March 4, 1883
|Preceded by||Alonzo J. Edgerton|
|Succeeded by||Dwight M. Sabin|
March 4, 1871 – March 7, 1881
|Preceded by||Ozora P. Stearns|
|Succeeded by||Alonzo J. Edgerton|
July 15, 1870 – January 22, 1871
|Preceded by||Daniel Norton|
|Succeeded by||Ozora P. Stearns|
|Member of the U.S. House of Representatives|
from Minnesota's 1st district
March 4, 1863 – March 4, 1869
|Preceded by||Constituency established|
|Succeeded by||Morton S. Wilkinson|
|Member of the U.S. House of Representatives|
from Minnesota's at-large district
March 4, 1859 – March 4, 1863
|Preceded by||James M. Cavanaugh|
|Succeeded by||Constituency abolished|
|Born||May 10, 1827|
Belmont County, Ohio, U.S.
|Died||January 29, 1891 (aged 63)|
New York City, New York, U.S.
Windom was elected U.S. Representative in 1859, filling one of Minnesota's two at-large seats.:235 He was re-elected in 1861, again at-large. By 1862, Minnesota had established Congressional districts, and in that year he was re-elected from Minnesota's 1st congressional district; and also in 1864 and 1866. He was not a candidate in 1868.
Senator Daniel S. Norton died on July 13, 1870. On July 15, Governor Alexander Ramsey appointed Windom to the resulting vacancy, to serve until the legislature elected a replacement.:290 When the legislature met in January 1871, they elected Ozora P. Stearns to serve the last 41 days of the current term (January 22-March 4), and elected Windom to serve the next full term, beginning March 4. Windom was re-elected in 1877, and served until March 7, 1881 when he resigned to become Secretary of the Treasury.
In the United States Senate, Windom was recognized as a strong advocate of railroad regulation. Indeed, in December 1872, he became the chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Transportation Routes to the Seaboard to investigate transportation practices. The select committee's report was submitted to the Senate on April 24, 1874, and was ordered to be printed the same day. The analytical report, among other conclusions and recommendations, recommended a Bureau of Commerce; it would have all the basic elements of the Interstate Commerce Commission, as created thirteen years later, in January 1887, and other follow-on. Almost 35 years later the Progressive Era Inland Waterways Commission, looking into similar issues and many new ones, would recognize the "Report of the Windom Select Committee" as the third epoch in the movement toward developing the inland waterways of the country.
In 1880, Windom sought the Republican nomination for President. But at the Republican National Convention, he received only 10 votes on the first ballot. The convention deadlocked, and after over 30 ballots began to consider choosing a "dark horse" candidate, such as Windom. But instead of Windom, they nominated James A. Garfield, who was subsequently elected President.
On March 7, 1881, Windom resigned from the Senate and was appointed Secretary of the Treasury by Garfield, taking office the next day.
Windom served as Treasury Secretary until November 13, when he resigned. On October 26, he was again elected Senator by the Minnesota Legislature, this time to fill the vacancy left by his own resignation. He re-assumed his Senate seat on November 15 and served until the end of his term on March 4, 1883. He sought re-election in 1882, but was defeated.
In 1883, he moved to New York City, where he practiced law until 1889. After President Benjamin Harrison was elected in 1888, he appointed Windom as Secretary of the Treasury. Taking office on March 8, 1889, Windom served as Treasury Secretary until his death on January 29, 1891. During the last year of his treasury service he purchased 1,145,577 acres of land from the railroad for 3 cents per acre, when others were paying $5.00.
- Theodore Blegen, Minnesota: a History of the State (University of Minnesota Press: Minneapolis, 1963).
- John A. Garraty, The New Commonwealth: 1877-1890 (Harper & Row Pub.: New York, 1968) p. 118.
- Introductory note to the Gallatin Report of 1808, included in the Preliminary Report of the Inland Waterways Commission, 1908
- Reeves, Thomas C. Gentleman Boss: The Life of Chester Alan Arthur (Alfred A. Knopf: New York, 1975) p. 164.
- Allan Peskin, Garfield (Kent State University Press: Kent, Ohio, 1999) p. 477.
- Warren Upham (1920). Minnesota Geographic Names: Their Origin and Historic Significance. Minnesota Historical Society. p. 151.
- ["Visit Winona]".
- ["Windom Northeast Park]".
- ["Windom South Park]".
- ["Windom - City of Minneapolis]".
- Dziezynski, James (1 August 2012). Best Summit Hikes in Colorado: An Opinionated Guide to 50+ Ascents of Classic and Little-Known Peaks from 8,144 to 14,433 Feet. Wilderness Press. p. 275. ISBN 978-0-89997-713-3.
- United States Congress. "William Windom (id: W000629)". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress.
- Treasury biography