Spaulding Family - Table of Contents


 Elbridge G. Spaulding
By Patrick Kavanagh
Pub. on Forest Lawn Blog Posts (online Sept. 2017)

Elbridge Spaulding was born in Summer Hill, NY,  in 1809.   He was a descendant of one of the oldest families in America.  His ancestor, Edward Spaulding was an English Puritan, who settled in Massachusetts soon after the arrival of the Mayflower. 

The young  Spaulding  began the study of law in the office of Fitch & Dibble in Batavia, NY.  He completed his studies in Attica, NY and was admitted to the bar in Genesee County. 

In 1834, he moved to Buffalo, and became a clerk in the office of Potter & Babcock, leading attorneys in the city.  Entering politics, he held the offices of City Clerk in Buffalo and was elected Alderman of the Third Ward.  He became the Mayor of Buffalo in 1847 and later became a member of the NY State Assembly. 

Mr. Spaulding was elected as a Whig to the 31st United States Congress, serving from 1849 to 1851.  He was elected again to the U.S. House of Representatives as a Republican, serving from 1859 to 1863.  It was said that Spaulding was the man who figured out that the American government needed to print money to pay for the Civil War.  At the time, it was regarded as economic  heresy, but today many believe that the country would not have survived without it.  Such an idea was then dismissed by some as "fiat money" - money that is money not because it is backed by gold or silver, but because some government says it is money.  Spaulding was Chairman of a House Ways and Means Subcommittee when the government was in danger of running out of funds to pay for the war.  He wrote a law that allowed the government to print money and declare that it had to be accepted as legal tender.  By doing so, he became known as the "Father of the Greenback."

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