In the spring of 1840 Elihu B. Washburne (he added the “e” to his last name early in life) set out from New England to seek his fortune in the “wide, wide world. ” Eventually the young Harvard educated lawyer settled in Galena, Illinois, where other New Englanders were already shaping the fluid and diverse western society according to their own notions of genteel civilization. A representative New England migrant, Washburne participated in the creation of a self-conscious, regional middle class, with its own sense of gentlemanly conduct, its own definition of gentility, and its own aspirations for egalitarian interaction.
Mahoney, Timothy B.. "Elihu B. Washburne Westward Migration in Antebellum America." Maine History 35, 1 (1995): 62-81. https://digitalcommons.library.umaine.edu/mainehistoryjournal/vol35/iss1/6