"The number of Washburn siblings who went from their simple farm in Livermore, Maine, to positions of national leadership has never been equaled by any American family," biographer Kerck Kelsey wrote in his book, "Remarkable Americans: The Washburn Family."
Arguable? Probably. Still, the only time three brothers served in Congress simultaneously was when Elihu, Cadwallader and Israel Washburn did that in the 1850s.
Fiercely anti-slavery, six of the seven Washburn brothers traveled to Washington in 1861 for Lincoln's inauguration.
Elihu was the closest to Lincoln, whom he had befriended in Galena, Illinois, where Elihu had practiced law.
Elihu was said to be "affable," a striking 5-foot-10 figure whose style of speaking was "easy and offhand. Socially, he was a gem of the rarest price."
A champion of fiscal responsibility, he was "the Watchdog of the Treasury" when he chaired the Appropriations Committee during part of his nine terms in Congress.
After Lincoln's assassination, Elihu accompanied Lincoln's body during the long rail procession across the country. He served as a pallbearer when the 16th president was laid to rest in Springfield, Illinois.