George M. Bibb

George Mortimer Bibb
17th United States Secretary of the Treasury
In office
July 4, 1844  March 7, 1845
President John Tyler
James K. Polk
Preceded by John C. Spencer
Succeeded by Robert J. Walker
United States Senator
from Kentucky
In office
March 4, 1829  March 3, 1835
Preceded by Richard M. Johnson
Succeeded by John J. Crittenden
United States Senator
from Kentucky
In office
March 4, 1811  August 23, 1814
Preceded by Henry Clay
Succeeded by George Walker
Personal details
Born (1776-10-30)October 30, 1776
Prince Edward County, Virginia, U.S.
Died April 14, 1859(1859-04-14) (aged 82)
Georgetown, Washington, D.C.
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Martha Tabb Scot
Alma mater Hampden–Sydney College
College of William & Mary
Profession Politician, Lawyer

George Mortimer Bibb (October 30, 1776 – April 14, 1859) was an American politician.


Bibb was born in Prince Edward County, Virginia, graduated from Hampden–Sydney College in 1791,[1] and later graduated from the College of William & Mary, then studied law. He was admitted to the bar and practiced law in Virginia and Lexington, Kentucky. After making a permanent move to Kentucky he was elected to the Kentucky House of Representatives in 1806, 1810 and again in 1817. He was appointed a judge of the Kentucky Court of Appeals in 1808 and then chief justice through 1810.

In 1811 he was elected to the United States Senate from Kentucky and served until 1814 when he again returned to Lexington to work as a lawyer. He moved to Frankfort, Kentucky in 1816 and sided with the New Court faction in the Old Court-New Court controversy in the 1820s. He was again named Chief Justice of the Kentucky Court of Appeals in 1827, serving for a year.

He was re-elected to the United States Senate in 1829 and served as a Jacksonian Democrat through 1835. During the 21st Congress he was chairman of the U.S. Senate Committee on Post Office and Post Roads.

Bureau of Engraving and Printing portrait of Bibb as Secretary of the Treasury.

He was chancellor of the Louisville Chancery Court from 1835 through 1844 and in 1844 became President John Tyler's fourth United States Secretary of the Treasury serving through 1845.

He was a very aged man when he assumed his Treasury position, dressing "in antique style, with kneebreeches." Bibb's Annual Report on the State of the Finances for 1844 consisted of an elaborate compilation of statistics detailing the financial history of the nation since 1789. In addition, he presented a solid argument for the establishment of a "sinking fund," accumulated through regular deposits and used to pay the interest and principal on the national debt. Bibb advocated using Treasury surplus revenue from customs and internal revenue collection to supply the sinking fund. Such a fund had been used effectively to reduce the deficit from 1789 to 1835, but Bibb was unable to revive it.

After this he was a lawyer in Washington, D.C., and an assistant in the U.S. Attorney General's office.

He was an active Freemasonry. He was the first master of Russellville Lodge No. 17, Russellville, Kentucky and was master of Hiram Lodge No. 4, in Frankfort. He was also past master of Lexington Lodge No. 1 at Lexington, and served as secretary in 1804. In 1804 he was grand master of Kentucky.[2]

He died in Georgetown, D.C., in 1859, and is buried in Frankfort Cemetery.


  1. "Lacy, Drury". The National Cyclopædia of American Biography. II. New York: James T. White & Company. 1921. p. 22.
  2. Denslow, William R. (1957). 10,000 Famous Freemasons. Columbia, Missouri, USA: Missouri Lodge of Research.
United States Senate
Preceded by
Henry Clay
U.S. Senator (Class 2) from Kentucky
Served alongside: John Pope, Jesse Bledsoe
Succeeded by
George Walker
Preceded by
Richard M. Johnson
U.S. Senator (Class 2) from Kentucky
Served alongside: John Rowan, Henry Clay
Succeeded by
John J. Crittenden
Political offices
Preceded by
John C. Spencer
U.S. Secretary of the Treasury
Served under: John Tyler

Succeeded by
Robert J. Walker
Honorary titles
Preceded by
Alexander Campbell
Most Senior Living U.S. Senator
(Sitting or Former)

November 5, 1857 - April 14, 1859
Succeeded by
John J. Crittenden
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