Historic Elmwood Cemetery & Foundation

Historic Elmwood Cemetery & Foundation

Where Detroit's History Endures
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Henry P. Baldwin

baldwinhA wealthy businessman and banker, Henry Porter Baldwin served two terms as Governor of Michigan and became the fourth Governor to become a U. S. Senator.

Baldwin was born in Coventry, Rhode Island in 1814. He was orphaned at the age of 12 yet he was a clerk in a mercantile establishment. He went into business for himself in 1834 at the age of 20. In 1835, he married Harriet M. Day. He later married Sibyle Lambard (1866) and they had seven children.

The Baldwin’s moved to Detroit in 1838. He established a successful shoe manufacturing business. He later became a banker and manufactured chewing tobacco. Both Mr. And Mrs. Baldwin were active in the community, giving both their resources and time to charitable and cultural activities.

Baldwin took an active part in Republican politics as one of the founders of the party at the organizational meeting in Jackson, Michigan.  He assisted with the draft of the first Republican platform seeking to abolish slavery.  He was elected to the state Senate from Wayne County in 1861. In 1868, he was elected Governor and was re-elected in 1870. During the second term as Governor, a devastating fire swept across Michigan from Holland and Manistee on Lake Michigan to the Saginaw Bay and the Thumb Area. Thousands of people were left homeless and destitute. A relief fund of over $450,000 was raised and Baldwin’s personal contribution was over one-third.

Upon completing his second term as Governor on January 1, 1873, Baldwin retired to private life. After the death of U. S. Senator Zachariah Chandler in 1879, he was appointed by Governor Croswell to fill the vacancy. He was unsuccessful in his 1881 bid for election to the Senate seat. Baldwin, who was an easygoing and generous man, died on New Year’s Eve in 1893.

Born: February 22, 1814
Died: December 31, 1893
Buried: Section B, Lot 9

Baldwin is listed in Elmwood’s Underground Railroad Network to Freedom Self-Guided Tour Map.

 

This material is based upon work assisted by a grant from the Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH), funded by the Department of the Interior, National Parks Service. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in the material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of ASALH or the Department of the Interior. Elmwood Cemetery’s Network to Freedom Application was completed by Dr. Carol Mull and Gabrielle Lucci. This biography was completed based upon the Application and records available through Elmwood Cemetery, Detroit Historical Society, Burton Historical Library, Military Records of the United States, Michigan Historical Center, and various information sources.