James M. Tunnell

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James M. Tunnell
Jamestunnell.jpg
United States Senator
from Delaware
In office
January 3, 1941 – January 3, 1947
Preceded by John G. Townsend, Jr.
Succeeded by John J. Williams
Personal details
Born (1879-08-02)August 2, 1879
Clarksville, Delaware, U.S.
Died November 14, 1957(1957-11-14) (aged 78)
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Sarah Ethel Dukes
Residence Georgetown, Delaware, U.S.
Alma mater Franklin College
Occupation educator, banker
Profession lawyer

James Miller Tunnell (August 2, 1879 - November 14, 1957) was an American teacher, lawyer and politician from Georgetown, in Sussex County, Delaware. He was a member of the Democratic Party, and served as U.S. Senator from Delaware.

Early life and family[edit]

Tunnell was born in Clarksville, near Millville, Delaware. He attended the public schools and graduated in 1900 from Franklin College, now combined with Muskingum College at New Concord, Ohio.

Professional and political career[edit]

Tunnell taught in the public schools, eventually becoming principal of the schools at Frankford, Selbyville and Ocean View, Delaware. Meanwhile he studied the law, was admitted to the Bar in 1907 and began a practice in Georgetown, Delaware. He was president of the Georgetown Board of Education from 1919 until 1932. Tunnell was also a banker and owned and operated a number of farms in Sussex County, Delaware.

Tunnell first ran for a seat in the United States Senate in 1924, but was defeated by Republican T. Coleman du Pont, a former Senator. He was elected to the United States Senate in 1940, this time defeating the incumbent Republican Senator John G. Townsend, Jr. During this term, he served with the Democratic majority in the 77th, 78th, and 79th Congress. He was chairman of the Committee on Pensions in the 78th and 79th Congress. Tunnel lost his bid for a second term in 1946 to Republican John J. Williams from Millsboro, Delaware. He served from January 3, 1941, to January 3, 1947, during the administrations of U.S. Presidents Franklin D. Roosevelt and Harry S. Truman.

Death and legacy[edit]

Tunnell died in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and is buried in the Blackwater Church Cemetery, near Clarksville, Sussex County, Delaware.

Almanac[edit]

Elections are held the first Tuesday after November 1. U.S. Senators are popularly elected and take office January 3 for a six-year term.


Public Offices
Office Type Location Began office Ended office notes
U.S. Senator Legislature Washington January 3, 1941 January 3, 1947
United States Congress service
Dates Congress Chamber Majority President Committees Class/District
1941–1943 77th U.S. Senate Democratic Franklin D. Roosevelt class 1
1943–1945 78th U.S. Senate Democratic Franklin D. Roosevelt class 1
1945–1947 79th U.S. Senate Democratic Franklin D. Roosevelt
Harry S. Truman
class 1
Election results
Year Office Subject Party Votes % Opponent Party Votes %
1924 U.S. Senator James M. Tunnell Democratic 36,085 41% T. Coleman du Pont Republican 52,731 59%
1940 U.S. Senator James M. Tunnell Democratic 68,294 51% John G. Townsend, Jr. Republican 63,799 47%
1946 U.S. Senator James M. Tunnell Democratic 50,910 45% John J. Williams Republican 62,603 55%

References[edit]

  • Carter, Richard B. (2001). Clearing New Ground, The Life of John G. Townsend, Jr. Wilmington, Delaware: The Delaware Heritage Press. ISBN 0-924117-20-6. 
  • Cohen, Celia (2002). Only in Delaware, Politics and Politicians in the First State. Newark, Delaware: Grapevine Publishing. 
  • Hoffecker, Carol E. (2000). Honest John Williams. Newark, Delaware: University of Delaware Press. 
  • Martin, Roger (1997). Elbert N. Carvel. Wilmington, Delaware: Delaware Heritage Press. ISBN 0-924117-08-7. 

External links[edit]

Political offices
United States Senate
Preceded by
John G. Townsend, Jr.
U.S. Senator (Class 1) from Delaware
1941-1947
Served alongside: James H. Hughes, C. Douglass Buck
Succeeded by
John J. Williams