WILLIAM ALFRED BUCKINGHAM, one of Connecticut’s most distinguished governors, was born in Lebanon, Connecticut, on May 28, 1804. He attended the Bacon Academy in Colchester, Connecticut, but never attended college. Buckingham entered into a career in the mercantile industry, and in 1848 helped to organize the Hayward Rubber Company, a business that developed into a successful enterprise. He entered politics as mayor of Norwich, a position he held in 1849, 1850, 1856, and 1857. He also served as Norwich’s town treasurer and a member of the city council. Buckingham won the 1858 Republican gubernatorial nomination, and was elected Governor of Connecticut. He was reelected to the governorship the next seven years. During his tenure, he dealt successfully with the effects of an economic panic that occurred in the state and with the outbreak of the Civil war. Buckingham arranged for troops, with 54 companies enlisting instead of 10. Before the General Assembly appropriated $2 million for military expenses, Buckingham had begun borrowing money in his own name to finance Connecticut’s war efforts. Buckingham declined renomination in 1866, and after leaving office, was elected to the U.S. Senate on March 4, 1869. He served in the Senate until his death on February 5, 1875. He is buried at the Yantic Cemetery in Norwich.
Sobel, Robert, and John Raimo, eds. Biographical Directory of the Governors of the United States, 1789-1978, Vol. 1, Westport, Conn.; Meckler Books, 1978. 4 vols.