Caleb Rodney

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Caleb Rodney
no known portrait exists
23rd Governor of Delaware
In office
April 23, 1822 – January 21, 1823
Preceded by John Collins
Succeeded by Joseph Haslet
Personal details
Born (1767-04-29)April 29, 1767
Lewes, Delaware
Died April 29, 1840(1840-04-29) (aged 73)
Lewes, Delaware
Political party Federalist
Spouse(s) Elizabeth West
Residence Lewes, Delaware
Occupation merchant
Religion Episcopalian

Caleb Rodney (April 29, 1767 – April 29, 1840) was an American merchant and politician from Lewes, in Sussex County, Delaware. He was a member of the Federalist Party, who served in the Delaware General Assembly and as Governor of Delaware.

Early life and family[edit]

Rodney was born in Lewes, Delaware, son of John and Ruth Hunn Rodney, brother of former Governor Daniel Rodney, and distantly related to President Caesar Rodney. He married Elizabeth West and had five children, Hannah, Hester, Penelope, Eliza, and Daniel. They were members of St. Peter's Episcopal Church in Lewes. He ran a store at the corner of 2nd and Market Streets there, the door to which was allegedly damaged in the British attack and is now on display at the Zwaanendael Museum in Lewes.

Professional and political career[edit]

Rodney served in the State House for four sessions from 1802 through 1805, when he was elected to the State Senate and served for four more sessions from 1806 through 1809. He was back in the State House for two sessions in 1812 and 1813, and then returned to the State Senate for one session in 1816. In October 1816 he ran for U.S. Congress, but lost the election. So, the following year he was returned to his old seat in the State Senate and served for five sessions from 1818 through 1822. He was the Speaker in the last two sessions and, therefore, became Governor upon the death of Governor John Collins. He then served as Governor from April 23, 1822 until January 21, 1823.

Rodney was known as an opponent of slavery, expressing the desire that the institution could be ended through continued manumissions.

Death and legacy[edit]

Rodney died at Lewes, Delaware and is buried there, at St. Peter's Episcopal Church Cemetery. No known portrait of Caleb Rodney exists.


Delaware General Assembly
(sessions while Governor)
Year Assembly Senate Majority Speaker House Majority Speaker
1822 46th Federalist vacant Federalist Alrichs Ryland

Almanac[edit]

Elections were held the first Tuesday of October. Members of the General Assembly took office the first Tuesday of January. State Senators had a three-year term and State Representatives had a one-year term. The Governor takes office the third Tuesday of January and had a three-year term.

Public Offices
Office Type Location Began office Ended office notes
State Representative Legislature Dover January 5, 1802 January 4, 1803
State Representative Legislature Dover January 4, 1803 January 3, 1804
State Representative Legislature Dover January 3, 1804 January 1, 1805
State Representative Legislature Dover January 1, 1805 January 7, 1806
State Senator Legislature Dover January 7, 1806 January 6, 1807
State Senator Legislature Dover January 6, 1807 January 2, 1810
State Representative Legislature Dover January 7, 1812 January 5, 1813
State Representative Legislature Dover January 5, 1813 January 4, 1814
State Senator Legislature Dover January 2, 1816 January 7, 1817
State Senator Legislature Dover January 6, 1818 January 4, 1820
State Senator Legislature Dover January 4, 1820 April 23, 1822
Governor Executive Dover April 23, 1822 January 21, 1823 acting
Delaware General Assembly service
Dates Assembly Chamber Majority Governor Committees District
1802 26th State House Federalist David Hall Sussex at-large
1803 27th State House Federalist David Hall Sussex at-large
1804 28th State House Federalist David Hall Sussex at-large
1805 29th State House Federalist Nathaniel Mitchell Sussex at-large
1806 30th State Senate Federalist Nathaniel Mitchell Sussex at-large
1807 31st State Senate Federalist Nathaniel Mitchell Sussex at-large
1808 32nd State Senate Federalist George Truitt Sussex at-large
1809 33rd State Senate Federalist George Truitt Sussex at-large
1812 36th State House Federalist Joseph Haslet Sussex at-large
1813 37th State House Federalist Joseph Haslet Sussex at-large
1816 40th State Senate Federalist Daniel Rodney Sussex at-large
1818 42nd State Senate Federalist John Clark Sussex at-large
1819 43rd State Senate Federalist John Clark Sussex at-large
1820 44th State Senate Federalist Jacob Stout Sussex at-large
1821 45th State Senate Federalist John Collins Speaker Sussex at-large
1822 46th State Senate Federalist John Collins Speaker Sussex at-large

References[edit]

  • Conrad, Henry C. (1908). History of the State of Delaware. Lancaster, Pennsylvania: Wickersham Company. 
  • Martin, Roger A. (1984). A History of Delaware Through its Governors. Wilmington, Delaware: McClafferty Press. 
  • Martin, Roger A. (1995). Memoirs of the Senate. Newark, Delaware: Roger A. Martin. 
  • Scharf, John Thomas (1888). History of Delaware 1609-1888. 2 vols. Philadelphia: L. J. Richards & Co. ISBN 0-87413-493-5. 

External links[edit]