List of Governors of Delaware

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Governor of Delaware
Seal of Jack Markell, Governor of Delaware.svg
Jack Markell.jpg
Incumbent
Jack Markell

since January 20, 2009
Style The Honorable
Residence Delaware Governor's Mansion
Dover, Delaware
Term length Four years, renewable once
Inaugural holder John McKinly
Formation February 12, 1777
Deputy Matthew P. Denn
Salary $171,000 (2009)[1]
Website governor.delaware.gov

The Governor of Delaware is the head of the executive branch of Delaware's government and the commander-in-chief of the state's military forces. The governor has a duty to enforce state laws, and the power to either approve or veto bills passed by the Delaware Legislature, to convene the legislature,[2] and to grant pardons, except in cases of impeachment, and only with the recommendation of the Board of Pardons.[3]

There have been 70 people who have served as governor, over 73 distinct terms. Additionally, Henry Molleston was elected, but died before he could take office. Only four governors have been elected to two consecutive terms, with the longest-serving being Ruth Ann Minner, who was elected twice after succeeding to the office, serving a total of just over eight years. The shortest term is that of Dale E. Wolf, who served 18 days following his predecessor's resignation; David P. Buckson served 19 days under similar circumstances. The current governor is Jack Markell, who took office on January 20, 2009; his second term expires on January 17, 2017.

Governors[edit]

For the period before independence, see the List of colonial governors of Pennsylvania.

Delaware was one of the original Thirteen Colonies and was the first state to ratify the United States Constitution, on December 7, 1787. Before it declared its independence, Delaware was a colony of the Kingdom of Great Britain, known as the "Lower Counties on Delaware". This colony was administered by colonial governors in Pennsylvania.

The first state constitution, adopted in 1776 soon after independence, created the office of president, to be chosen by the legislature to serve a term of three years.[4] The constitution of 1792 renamed the position to governor,[5] set the commencement date of the term to the third Tuesday in the January following an election, and limited governors to serving only three out of any six years.[6] The term was lengthened to four years by the 1831 constitution, but governors were limited to a single term.[7] The current constitution of 1897 allows governors to serve two terms.[8]

The 1776 constitution stated that if the office of governor was vacant, the speaker of the legislative council would be a vice-president.[9] The 1792 constitution has the speaker of the senate exercising the office if it is vacant, and the 1897 constitution created the office of lieutenant governor,[10] upon whom the office devolves in case of vacancy.[11] The offices of governor and lieutenant governor are elected at the same time but not on the same ticket.

      American (1)       Democratic (21)[a]       Democratic-Republican (5)[a]       Federalist (13)[b]       National Republican (1)       No party (9)       Republican (17)       Whig (6)[a]

Upper body of a well-dressed man with a large forehead wearing a powdered wig
Thomas McKean, second President of Delaware, and second President of Pennsylvania
Upper body portrait of a well-dressed man in a black coat
Joshua Clayton, tenth Governor of Delaware, the first person to hold that title
Upper body of a well-dressed man with dark hair combed to the side
Daniel Rodney, 19th Governor of Delaware
Upper body of a well-dressed man
Charles Polk, Jr., 27th and 30th Governor of Delaware
Upper body of a well-dressed man with a goatee
Peter F. Causey, 38th Governor of Delaware
Upper body of a well-dressed man with a white mustache and white hair
Benjamin T. Biggs, 46th Governor of Delaware
Upper body of a well-dressed man. He is smiling and has a receding hairline.
J. Caleb Boggs, 62nd Governor of Delaware
Upper body of a well-dressed, spectacled man with a receding hairline and graying hair. He is smiling.
Michael Castle, 69th Governor of Delaware
#[c] Governor[d] Term start Term end Party Lt. Governor[e][f] Terms[g]
1   John McKinly February 12, 1777 September 12, 1777 No parties None 13[h]
2 Thomas McKean September 22, 1777 October 20, 1777 No parties 13[i]
3 George Read October 20, 1777 March 31, 1778 No parties 13[j]
4 Caesar Rodney March 31, 1778 November 6, 1781 No parties 1
5 John Dickinson November 13, 1781 January 12, 1783 No parties 12[k]
6 John Cook November 4, 1782 February 1, 1783 No parties 12[l]
7 Nicholas Van Dyke February 1, 1783 October 28, 1786 No parties 1
8 Thomas Collins October 28, 1786 March 29, 1789 No parties 12[m]
9 Jehu Davis March 29, 1789 June 2, 1789 No parties 12[j]
10 Joshua Clayton June 2, 1789 January 19, 1796 Federalist 2[n]
11 Gunning Bedford, Sr. January 19, 1796 September 28, 1797 Federalist 12[m]
12 Daniel Rogers September 28, 1797 January 9, 1799 Federalist 12[o]
13 Richard Bassett January 9, 1799 March 3, 1801 Federalist 12[p]
14 James Sykes March 3, 1801 January 19, 1802 Federalist 12[o]
15 David Hall January 19, 1802 January 15, 1805 Democratic-Republican 1
16 Nathaniel Mitchell January 15, 1805 January 19, 1808 Federalist 1
17 George Truitt January 19, 1808 January 15, 1811 Federalist 1
18 Joseph Haslet January 15, 1811 January 18, 1814 Democratic-Republican 1
19 Daniel Rodney January 18, 1814 January 21, 1817 Federalist 1
20 John Clark January 21, 1817 January 18, 1820 Federalist 1
Henry Molleston Federalist [q]
21 Jacob Stout January 18, 1820 January 16, 1821 Federalist 13[q]
22 John Collins January 16, 1821 April 16, 1822 Democratic-Republican 13[m]
23 Caleb Rodney April 23, 1822 January 21, 1823 Federalist 13[o]
24 Joseph Haslet January 21, 1823 June 20, 1823 Democratic-Republican 12[m][r]
25 Charles Thomas June 23, 1823 January 20, 1824 Democratic-Republican 12[o][r][s]
26 Samuel Paynter January 20, 1824 January 16, 1827 Federalist 1
27 Charles Polk, Jr. January 16, 1827 January 19, 1830 Federalist 1
28 David Hazzard January 19, 1830 January 15, 1833 National Republican 1
29 Caleb P. Bennett January 15, 1833 July 11, 1836 Democratic 12[m][t]
30 Charles Polk, Jr. July 11, 1836 January 17, 1837 Whig 12[o]
31 Cornelius P. Comegys January 17, 1837 January 19, 1841 Whig 1
32 William B. Cooper January 19, 1841 January 21, 1845 Whig 1
33 Thomas Stockton January 21, 1845 March 2, 1846 Whig 13[m]
34 Joseph Maull March 2, 1846 May 3, 1846 Whig 13[m][o]
35 William Temple May 6, 1846 January 19, 1847 Whig 13[o]
36 William Tharp January 19, 1847 January 21, 1851 Democratic 1
37 William H. H. Ross January 21, 1851 January 16, 1855 Democratic 1
38 Peter F. Causey January 16, 1855 January 18, 1859 American 1
39 William Burton January 18, 1859 January 20, 1863 Democratic 1
40 William Cannon January 20, 1863 March 1, 1865 Republican 12[m]
41 Gove Saulsbury March 1, 1865 January 17, 1871 Democratic 1 12[u]
42 James Ponder January 17, 1871 January 19, 1875 Democratic 1
43 John P. Cochran January 19, 1875 January 21, 1879 Democratic 1
44 John W. Hall January 21, 1879 January 16, 1883 Democratic 1
45 Charles C. Stockley January 16, 1883 January 18, 1887 Democratic 1
46 Benjamin T. Biggs January 18, 1887 January 20, 1891 Democratic 1
47 Robert J. Reynolds January 20, 1891 January 15, 1895 Democratic 1
48 Joshua H. Marvil January 15, 1895 April 8, 1895 Republican 12[m]
49 William T. Watson April 8, 1895 January 19, 1897 Democratic 12[o][v]
50 Ebe W. Tunnell January 19, 1897 January 15, 1901 Democratic 1
51 John Hunn January 15, 1901 January 17, 1905 Republican   Philip L. Cannon 1
52 Preston Lea January 17, 1905 January 19, 1909 Republican Isaac T. Parker 1
53 Simeon S. Pennewill January 19, 1909 January 21, 1913 Republican John M. Mendinhall 1
54 Charles R. Miller January 21, 1913 January 16, 1917 Republican Colen Ferguson[w] 1
55 John G. Townsend, Jr. January 16, 1917 January 18, 1921 Republican Lewis T. Eliason[w] 1
56 William D. Denney January 18, 1921 January 20, 1925 Republican J. Danforth Bush 1
57 Robert P. Robinson January 20, 1925 January 15, 1929 Republican James H. Anderson 1
58 C. Douglass Buck January 15, 1929 January 19, 1937 Republican James H. Hazel 2
Roy F. Corley
59 Richard C. McMullen January 19, 1937 January 21, 1941 Democratic Edward W. Cooch 1
60 Walter W. Bacon January 21, 1941 January 18, 1949 Republican Isaac J. MacCollum[w] 2
Elbert N. Carvel[w]
61 Elbert N. Carvel January 18, 1949 January 20, 1953 Democratic Alexis I. du Pont Bayard 1
62 J. Caleb Boggs January 20, 1953 December 30, 1960 Republican John W. Rollins 1 12[x]
David P. Buckson
63 David P. Buckson December 30, 1960 January 17, 1961 Republican Vacant 12[y]
64 Elbert N. Carvel January 17, 1961 January 19, 1965 Democratic Eugene Lammot 1
65 Charles L. Terry, Jr. January 19, 1965 January 21, 1969 Democratic Sherman W. Tribbitt 1
66 Russell W. Peterson January 21, 1969 January 16, 1973 Republican Eugene Bookhammer 1
67 Sherman W. Tribbitt January 16, 1973 January 18, 1977 Democratic Eugene Bookhammer[z] 1
68 Pierre S. du Pont, IV January 18, 1977 January 15, 1985 Republican James D. McGinnis[w] 2
Michael Castle
69 Michael Castle January 15, 1985 December 31, 1992 Republican Shien Biau Woo[w] 1 12[aa]
Dale E. Wolf
70 Dale E. Wolf December 31, 1992 January 19, 1993 Republican Vacant 12[y]
71 Thomas R. Carper January 19, 1993 January 3, 2001 Democratic Ruth Ann Minner 1 12[x]
72 Ruth Ann Minner January 3, 2001 January 20, 2009 Democratic Vacant 2 12[ab]
John C. Carney, Jr.
73 Jack Markell January 20, 2009 Incumbent Democratic Matthew P. Denn 1[ac]

Other high offices held[edit]

Seventeen of Delaware's governors have held other high offices, with six representing Delaware in the Continental Congress and twelve representing the state in the U.S. Congress. Two have served as President of Pennsylvania. Four (marked with *) resigned to take other offices, three in the U.S. Congress and one to be President of Pennsylvania.

All representatives and senators listed represented Delaware except where noted.

Name Gubernatorial term Other offices held Source
McKean, ThomasThomas McKean 1777 Continental Delegate (including President of the Continental Congress), President of Pennsylvania [20]
Read, GeorgeGeorge Read 1777–1778 Continental Delegate, Senator [21]
Rodney, CaesarCaesar Rodney 1778–1781 Continental Delegate [22]
Dickinson, JohnJohn Dickinson 1781–1783 Continental Delegate, Continental Delegate from Pennsylvania, President of Pennsylvania* [23]
Van Dyke, NicholasNicholas Van Dyke 1783–1786 Continental Delegate [24]
Clayton, JoshuaJoshua Clayton 1789–1796 Senator [25]
Bassett, RichardRichard Bassett 1799–1801 Senator [26]
Mitchell, NathanielNathaniel Mitchell 1805–1808 Continental Delegate [27]
Rodney, DanielDaniel Rodney 1814–1817 Representative, Senator [28]
Temple, WilliamWilliam Temple 1846–1847 Representative [29]
Biggs, Benjamin T.Benjamin T. Biggs 1887–1891 Representative [30]
Townsend, Jr., John G.John G. Townsend, Jr. 1917–1921 Senator [31]
Buck, C. DouglassC. Douglass Buck 1929–1937 Senator [32]
Boggs, J. CalebJ. Caleb Boggs 1953–1960 Senator* [33]
du Pont, IV, Pierre S.Pierre S. du Pont, IV 1977–1985 Representative [34]
Castle, MichaelMichael Castle 1985–1992 Representative* [35]
Carper, Thomas R.Thomas R. Carper 1993–2001 Representative, Senator* [36]

Living former governors[edit]

As of March 2011, six former governors were alive. The most recent death of a former governor was that of Russell W. Peterson (1969–1973), who died on February 20, 2011. The most recently serving governor to die was Sherman W. Tribbitt, who served from January 1973 to January 1977 and died on August 14, 2010 at the age of 87.

Governor Term of office Date of birth
David P. Buckson 1960–1961 (1920-07-25) July 25, 1920 (age 93)
Pierre S. du Pont, IV 1977–1985 (1935-01-22) January 22, 1935 (age 79)
Michael Castle 1985–1992 (1939-07-02) July 2, 1939 (age 75)
Dale E. Wolf 1992–1993 (1924-09-06) September 6, 1924 (age 89)
Thomas R. Carper 1993–2001 (1947-01-23) January 23, 1947 (age 67)
Ruth Ann Minner 2001–2009 (1935-01-17) January 17, 1935 (age 79)

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Includes one term served by a repeat governor.
  2. ^ Includes one term served by a repeat governor. Henry Molleston, having never taken office, is not included in this number.
  3. ^ The official numbering includes repeat and acting governors.
  4. ^ The highest office of Delaware was named president until 1792.
  5. ^ The office of lieutenant governor was created in the 1897 constitution, with the first election taking place in 1900.
  6. ^ Lieutenant governors were members of the same party as the governor except where noted.
  7. ^ The fractional terms of some governors are not to be understood absolutely literally; rather, they are meant to show single terms during which multiple governors served, because of resignations, deaths and the like.
  8. ^ McKinly was captured and taken prisoner by British forces.[12] He was exchanged for loyalist Governor William Franklin of New Jersey in August 1778.[13] Most sources do not specify the day McKinly was captured; at least one specifies that McKinly and the city of Wilmington were captured the day after the Battle of Brandywine, which was on September 11, 1777.[14]
  9. ^ As Speaker of the Assembly, acted as chief executive following the capture of President McKinly until the return of Speaker of the Legislative Council George Read, who was the righful successor, from the Continental Congress in Philadelphia.[15]
  10. ^ a b As Speaker of the Legislative Council, served as vice-president for unexpired term.
  11. ^ Resigned; was elected President of Pennsylvania and took office November 7, 1782, holding both presidencies simultaneously until his resignation.
  12. ^ As Speaker of the Legislative Council, served as vice-president until a special election was held.
  13. ^ a b c d e f g h i Died in office.
  14. ^ Clayton served one term as president under the 1776 constitution, and was the first governor elected under the terms of the 1792 constitution.
  15. ^ a b c d e f g h As Speaker of the Senate, acted as governor for unexpired term.
  16. ^ Resigned to take a seat on to the United States Third Circuit Court.
  17. ^ a b Governor-elect Henry Molleston died on November 11, 1819, before taking office. The newly elected state senate chose a speaker, Jacob Stout, who would act as governor for one year of Molleston's term before a special election was held to pick a governor for the remaining two years.[16]
  18. ^ a b There is disagreement over when Haslet died and Thomas became acting governor. Most modern sources say Haslet died on June 20, and Thomas became acting governor on June 23; however, some sources say Thomas became acting governor on June 20,[17] and others say Haslet died on June 23,[18] both situations meaning there was no gap in power.
  19. ^ Because of the death of Governor Haslet so early in his term, elections were called early. Unlike when elections were called due to Henry Molleston's death, where the election was only for the final two years of his term, in this case the new election was for a new three-year term, causing the election schedule to shift.[16]
  20. ^ Bennett was the first governor elected under the terms of the 1831 constitution, which lengthened terms to four years.
  21. ^ As Speaker of the Senate, acted as governor for unexpired term, and was subsequently elected in their own right.
  22. ^ Because of the death of Governor Marvil so early in his term, the General Assembly decided to conduct an election in 1896, to coincide with the election for President of the United States; thus, Watson was limited to filling out a two-year term.[19]
  23. ^ a b c d e f Represented the Democratic Party.
  24. ^ a b Resigned to take an elected seat in the United States Senate.
  25. ^ a b As lieutenant governor, filled unexpired term.
  26. ^ Represented the Republican Party.
  27. ^ Resigned to take an elected seat in the United States House of Representatives.
  28. ^ As lieutenant governor, filled unexpired term, and was subsequently elected in their own right.
  29. ^ Governor Markell's second term expires on January 17, 2017; he is term limited.

References[edit]

General
Constitutions
Specific
  1. ^ "Highest-Paid State Employees". DelawareOnline. The News Journal. Retrieved July 5, 2010. 
  2. ^ DE Const. art. III
  3. ^ DE Const. art. VII, § 1
  4. ^ 1776 Const. art 7
  5. ^ 1792 Const. art. III, § 1
  6. ^ 1792 Const. art. III, § 3
  7. ^ 1831 Const. art III, § 3
  8. ^ DE Const. art. III, § 5
  9. ^ 1776 Const. art. 7
  10. ^ DE Const. art. III, § 19
  11. ^ DE Const. art. III, § 20
  12. ^ McGuire, Thomas J. (2006). The Philadelphia Campaign. Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania: Stackpole Books. p. 278. ISBN 0-8117-0206-5. 
  13. ^ Rowe, Gail Stuart (1978). Thomas McKean: The Shaping of an American Republicanism. p. 147. ISBN 0-87081-100-2. 
  14. ^ Project, Delaware Federal Writers' (1938). Delaware: A Guide to the First State. p. 48. ISBN 978-1-60354-008-7. Retrieved August 4, 2010. 
  15. ^ Conrad, Henry Clay (1908). History of the State of Delaware, Volume 3. p. 821. Retrieved October 25, 2009. 
  16. ^ a b Niles, H. (1824). Niles' Weekly Register. Volume I, Third Series. p. 121. ISBN 0-8371-3045-X. Retrieved October 25, 2009. 
  17. ^ "Delaware". The Encyclopedia Americana. Volume VIII. 1918. p. 614. Retrieved October 25, 2009. 
  18. ^ Messersmith, George S. (1908). Government of Delaware. p. 283. Retrieved October 25, 2009. 
  19. ^ "Delaware's Change in Elections". The New York Times. April 14, 1895. Retrieved October 25, 2009. 
  20. ^ "McKean, Thomas". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. Clerk of the United States House of Representatives and Historian of the United States Senate. Retrieved June 12, 2009. 
  21. ^ "Read, George". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. Clerk of the United States House of Representatives and Historian of the United States Senate. Retrieved June 12, 2009. 
  22. ^ "Rodney, Caesar". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. Clerk of the United States House of Representatives and Historian of the United States Senate. Retrieved June 12, 2009. 
  23. ^ "Dickinson, John". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. Clerk of the United States House of Representatives and Historian of the United States Senate. Retrieved June 12, 2009. 
  24. ^ "Van Dyke, Nicholas". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. Clerk of the United States House of Representatives and Historian of the United States Senate. Retrieved June 12, 2009. 
  25. ^ "Clayton, Joshua". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. Clerk of the United States House of Representatives and Historian of the United States Senate. Retrieved June 12, 2009. 
  26. ^ "Bassett, Richard". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. Clerk of the United States House of Representatives and Historian of the United States Senate. Retrieved June 12, 2009. 
  27. ^ "Mitchell, Nathaniel". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. Clerk of the United States House of Representatives and Historian of the United States Senate. Retrieved June 12, 2009. 
  28. ^ "Rodney, Daniel". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. Clerk of the United States House of Representatives and Historian of the United States Senate. Retrieved June 12, 2009. 
  29. ^ "Temple, William". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. Clerk of the United States House of Representatives and Historian of the United States Senate. Retrieved June 12, 2009. 
  30. ^ "Biggs, Benjamin Thomas". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. Clerk of the United States House of Representatives and Historian of the United States Senate. Retrieved June 12, 2009. 
  31. ^ "Townsend, John Gillis, Jr.". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. Clerk of the United States House of Representatives and Historian of the United States Senate. Retrieved June 12, 2009. 
  32. ^ "Buck, Clayton Douglass". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. Clerk of the United States House of Representatives and Historian of the United States Senate. Retrieved June 12, 2009. 
  33. ^ "Boggs, James Caleb". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. Clerk of the United States House of Representatives and Historian of the United States Senate. Retrieved June 12, 2009. 
  34. ^ "du Pont, Pierre Samuel, IV". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. Clerk of the United States House of Representatives and Historian of the United States Senate. Retrieved June 12, 2009. 
  35. ^ "Castle, Michael Newbold". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. Clerk of the United States House of Representatives and Historian of the United States Senate. Retrieved June 12, 2009. 
  36. ^ "Carper, Thomas Richard". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. Clerk of the United States House of Representatives and Historian of the United States Senate. Retrieved June 12, 2009. 
  37. ^ Thorpe pp. 582–600
  38. ^ Thorpe pp. 568–582

External links[edit]