Charles Willing, while making rounds of the pest house, died of disease in 1754. Thomas assumed control of the business, as well as various prominent public functions—he was a justice of the peace and served twice as mayor of Philadelphia, was a member of the Continental Congress, President of the Bank of North America (the first national bank.) Willing became an ally of Alexander Hamilton (did Stuart paint his portrait? click here) in his quest to reduce the national debt through loans and a central bank. He married Anne McCall in 1763, and together they had thirteen children. Their daughter Anne Willing in 1780 married William Bingham, a business associate of Thomas Willing. “In 1776 the Continental Congress sent Bingham to French Martinique in the West Indies where he secured produce and munitions to supply the American army. He amassed great personal wealth through trade and ownership of privateers, which would keep him in litigation for most of his life. In 1780, he returned to Philadelphia and married Anne Willing, the daughter of his then former business partner. Between William's wealth and kind demeanor, and Anne's beauty and spirit for entertainment, they would become Philadelphia's (and possibly the United States') leading social couple." Anne used her wealth and personal connections to recreate salon society, described as brilliant balls, sumptuous dinners and constant receptions, which she had experienced in Paris.
"The 1790s proved to be the high-point of Bingham's public life. Philadelphia was the nation's capitol, and Bingham played host to the so-called Federalist court. He used his large, extremely elegant Philadelphia mansion to entertain the political and social elites of the new country. By reputation Bingham was the wealthiest man in America, a view reinforced in 1800 when he was assessed the highest tax of anyone in Philadelphia.... As glamorous as the 1790s were for Bingham, they came to a crashing end. After the national capitol moved to Washington, D.C., his wife Anne died in 1801. Soon after Anne's death the distraught Bingham moved to England with his son. He died at Bath, England, in 1804, possibly following a stroke. Although his moment of glory was short-lived, Bingham certainly made a huge impression on the United States in its infancy.” http://www.archives.upenn.edu/people/1700s/bingham_wm.html
Anne Willing Bingham by Gilbert Stuart 1797
Philadelphia Museum of Art
For more on Anne Bingham and Lansdown click here.