October 30, 1776 - April 14, 1859

Prince Edward County, Virginia

US Senator, Presidential Cabinet Secretary. Born in Prince Edward County, Virginia, he attended what is now Princeton University and graduated from William and Mary College in 1792. After being admitted to the bar, he moved to Kentucky in 1798 and became a lawyer in Lexington, later settling in Frankfort. His endeavors as a politician and jurist were marked by restlessness; he would attain a high office, only to resign (or refuse to run again) and return to private law practice. He served three non-consecutive terms in the State House of Representatives (1806, 1810, 1817), and from 1809 to 1810 was Chief Justice of the Kentucky Court of Appeals. In 1810 Bibb was elected as a Democratic Republican to the US Senate and served from 1811 to 1814, quitting halfway through his term. During Kentucky's "Old Court-New Court" controversy of the 1820s, in which the State Legislature attempted to abolish the existing Court of Appeals, Bibb defended the "New Court" side, ultimately unsuccessfully. As a conciliatory gesture he agreed to serve again as the court's Chief Justice in 1827, relinquishing this post the following year upon being elected (as a Jacksonian) to another stint in the US Senate. Contrary to his previous history, he actually served out his term and was named Chairman of the Committee on Post Office and Post Roads. Back in his home state he was named Chancellor of the Louisville Chancery Court (1835 to 1844). As 17th Secretary of the Treasury under President John Tyler (1844 to 1845), Bibb was chiefly occupied with compiling a detailed financial history of the United States from 1789; he also tried to establish a "sinking fund", drawn from surplus tax revenues, to help protect the US economy in difficult times. He spent the rest of his life practicing law in Washington, DC. At the time of his death at 82, he was the oldest living former US Senator. There is a cenotaph in his memory at Washington's Congressional Cemetery.