David Hall (Delaware governor)

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For other persons named David Hall, see David Hall (disambiguation)
David Hall
no known portrait exists
Governor of Delaware
In office
January 19, 1802 – January 15, 1805
Preceded by James Sykes
Succeeded by Nathaniel Mitchell
Personal details
Born (1752-01-04)January 4, 1752
Lewes, Delaware
Died September 18, 1817(1817-09-18) (aged 65)
Lewes, Delaware
Political party Democratic-Republican
Spouse(s) Catherine Tingley
Residence Lewes, Delaware
Profession lawyer
Religion Presbyterian

David Hall (January 4, 1752 – September 18, 1817) was an American lawyer and politician from Lewes, in Sussex County, Delaware. He was an officer in the Continental Army during the American Revolution, and member of the Democratic-Republican Party, who served as Governor of Delaware.

Early life and family[edit]

Hall was born in Lewes, Delaware, son of David and Mary Kollock Hall. His grandfather was Nathaniel Hall, who known as "the Indian Fighter." He came to Delaware from Connecticut in 1700. His father, David Hall, Sr. was a well known farmer from around Lewes, who was a Justice of the Peace and a frequent member of the Colonial Assembly from 1753 until the American Revolution. In 1776, David Jr. married Catherine Tingley, daughter of Samuel Tingley, the Rector of St. Peter's Episcopal Church. They had six children: Elizabeth, Mary, Jane, Catherine, Lydia, and Martha. In time he built a home at 107 Kings Highway, across the road from the Zwaanendael Museum. They were members of the Lewes Presbyterian Church.

Military career[edit]

Hall studied law and was admitted to the Bar in New Castle, Delaware, in 1773. Already a member of the Sussex County militia under General Dagworthy, he joined the 1st Delaware Regiment at the beginning of the War of Independence and served as captain under Colonel John Haslet at the battles of Long Island and White Plains. Following Haslet's death at Princeton in January 1777, he became the leader of the regiment, and was promoted to colonel in April 1777. He led the regiment at the Battle of Brandywine and again at the Battle of Germantown where he was wounded on October 4, 1777. The following year he spent recovering, recruiting new soldiers in Wilmington and serving on Courts Martial. He returned to active service in June 1779 at the Middlebrook encampment, spent the inactive summer with the regiment, but returned home in October 1779, complaining of his wound and lack of provisioning. When the Delaware Regiment went to South Carolina in April 1780, Hall did not go. Responding to his continuing requests, the General Assembly authorized some payment, but it was never enough, and finally, in April 1782, Hall resigned his commission.

Political career[edit]

Meanwhile Hall pursued his law practice in Lewes and entered politics. He was a Jeffersonian Democrat-Republican, like most Presbyterians, but in Anglican Lewes, he was in the minority. He was badly beaten by Federalist Richard Bassett, when he ran for Governor in 1798. He ran again in 1801 against Episcopalian Nathaniel Mitchell, a professed "Deist," and a person openly critical of Methodists. Hall emphasized his Presbyterian faith, and in spite of losing Kent and Sussex Counties again badly, he won Presbyterians in New Castle County by such a large margin that he carried the state by 18 votes. The Federalists considered using the recently passed Alien and Sedition Acts to try to nullify some of the recent immigrant New Castle County vote, but with their continued control of the General Assembly, they grudgingly "allowed" him to take office.

Hall served as Governor from January 19, 1802 until January 15, 1805. During this time Pierre Samuel du Pont de Nemours bought the old Jacob Broom cotton mills on Brandywine Creek and began his gunpowder business. This was also the point of the greatest abolitionist sentiment in Delaware, when the General Assembly failed by one vote to enact a gradual emancipation bill.

He was an unsuccessful candidate for the U.S. House in 1805 against James M. Broom; and again in 1812 for the seat won by the Federalist candidate, Thomas Cooper. The next year he was named a judge of the Sussex County Court of Common Pleas.

Delaware General Assembly
(sessions while Governor)
Year Assembly Senate Majority Speaker House Majority Speaker
1802 26th Federalist Daniel Rogers Federalist Stephen Lewis
1803 27th Federalist James Sykes Federalist Stephen Lewis
1804 28th Federalist James Sykes Federalist Jesse Green

Death and legacy[edit]

Hall died at Lewes, and is buried there in the Lewes Presbyterian Church cemetery.

The Col. David Hall House was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1976.[1]

Almanac[edit]

Elections were held the first Tuesday of October. The Governor takes office the third Tuesday of January and had a three-year term. Judges of the Courts of Common Pleas were selected by the General Assembly for the life of the person appointed.

Public Offices
Office Type Location Began office Ended office notes
Governor Executive Dover January 19, 1802 January 15, 1805
Judge Judiciary Georgetown 1813 1817 Court of Common Pleas
Election results
Year Office Subject Party Votes % Opponent Party Votes %
1798 Governor David Hall Republican 2,068 44% Richard Bassett Federalist 2,490 52%
1801 Governor David Hall Republican 3,475 50% Nathaniel Mitchell Federalist 3,457 50%
1812 U.S. Representative David Hall Republican 3,221 22% Henry M. Ridgely Federalist 4,193 28%

References[edit]

  1. ^ "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 2010-07-09. 
  • 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. 
  • Munroe, John A. (2004). The Philadelawareans. Newark, Delaware: University of Delaware Press. ISBN 0-87413-872-8. 
  • Munroe, John A. (1954). Federalist Delaware 1775-1815. New Brunswick, New Jersey: Rutgers University. 
  • Rodney, Richard S. (1975). The Collected Essays on Early Delaware. Wilmington, Delaware: Society of Colonial Wars in the State of Delaware. 
  • Scharf, John Thomas (1888). History of Delaware 1609-1888. 2 vols. Philadelphia: L. J. Richards & Co. 
  • Ward, Christopher L. (1941). The Delaware Continentals, 1776-1783. Wilmington, DE: Historical Society of Delaware. ISBN 0-924117-21-4. 
  • Wilson, Emerson. (1969). Forgotten Heroes of Delaware. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Deltos Publishing Company. 

External links[edit]

Places with more information[edit]