HENRY P. BALDWIN was born to John and Margaret Baldwin in Coventry, Rhode Island and attended the common schools. He worked as a store clerk in Pawtucket from age 12 to age 20, after which he engaged in his own business for several years in Woonsocket. Baldwin moved to Detroit, Michigan, where he established a wholesale business in boots and shoes in 1838. He was a member of the convention which organized the U.S. Republican Party in Jackson, Michigan in 1854. He was influential in organizing the sixth Episcopal parish in the northern outskirts of Detroit on December 27, 1858, and in building St. John’s Episcopal Church for the parish.
Baldwin was director of the Michigan State Bank and president of the Second National Bank of Detroit, 1863-1887. He was also a member of the Michigan State Senate, 2nd District from 1861-1862. In 1868, Baldwin was elected Governor of Michigan, serving from 1869 to 1873. He was appointed and subsequently elected as a Republican to the United States Senate to fill the vacancy caused by the death of Zachariah Chandler, serving from November 17, 1879 to March 4, 1881.