William H. English was an American politician he retired from the House in 1861, but remained involved in party affairs. In the American Civil War he was a War Democrat, supporting the Union war effort. As well as pursuing a political career, he was an author and businessman. He owned an opera house, was president of a bank, and developed many residential properties. English was successful in business, and became one of the wealthiest men in Indiana. After nearly two decades in the private sector, English returned to political life as the Democratic nominee for vice president in 1880. English and his presidential running mate, Winfield Scott Hancock, lost narrowly to their Republican opponents, James A. Garfield and Chester A. Arthur.
The memorial statue was unveiled and dedicated on June 23, 1900.