John W. Hall
|John W. Hall|
|Governor of Delaware|
January 21, 1879 – January 16, 1883
|Preceded by||John P. Cochran|
|Succeeded by||Charles C. Stockley|
January 1, 1817|
|Died||January 23, 1892
John Wood Hall (January 1, 1817 – January 23, 1892) was an American merchant and politician from Frederica, in Kent County, Delaware. He was a member of the Democratic Party, who served in the Delaware General Assembly and as Governor of Delaware.
Early life and family
Hall was born in Frederica, Delaware, son of John and Henrietta Bowman Hall. He married Caroline Warren in 1842 and had four children: John Wood, Jr., Samuel Warren, Sarah Henrietta, and Caroline. They lived at 8 David Street in Frederica and were members of the Methodist Church.
Orphaned as a child, Hall worked in a candy store, and eventually saved enough money to buy the business. Not stopping with candy, he expanded into general merchandising and lumber, and then started building his own ships. In time, he had one of the largest fleets of sailing ships on the east coast, all built in Delaware. With his earnings he began buying land and ended up with over 6,000 acres (24 km2) on 20 farms, becoming one of the largest landowners in the state.
Professional and political career
Hall served in the Delaware Senate during the 1867/68 session and the 1869/70 session. In 1874 he was nearly nominated for Governor, but it was New Castle County’s turn in the informal rotation. Finally, in 1878 he was elected Governor of Delaware, overwhelmingly defeating Kensey J. Steward, the Greenback Labor candidate. Leftover bitterness from the Civil War caused the Democratic Party to be so completely in control that the Republican Party did not even hold a convention or field a candidate. Hall served from January 21, 1879 until January 16, 1883.
The Democratic Party was the conservative party of the day, and accordingly Hall supported conservative positions. He was a strong supporter of states rights in opposition to the increasing reach of the federal government. Then that reach was generally in support of racial equality, a concept strongly opposed by Democrats in Delaware. Hall did support the setting up of a separate state Board of Education, and an office of Insurance Commissioner. All the while he was Governor he was also a Director of the Farmer's Bank, having served from 1861 until he left office in 1883. After several years out of office he returned to the Delaware Senate for the 1891/92 and 1893/94 sessions, serving there until his death.
|Delaware General Assembly
(sessions while Governor)
|Year||Assembly||Senate Majority||Speaker||House Majority||Speaker|
|1879–1880||80th||Democratic||Charles J. Harrington||Democratic||Swithin Chandler|
|1881–1882||81st||Democratic||Cateby F. Rust||Democratic||Reynear Williams|
Death and legacy
Elections are held the first Tuesday after November 1. Members of the Delaware General Assembly took office the first Tuesday of January. State Senators have a four-year term. The Governor takes office the third Tuesday of January and has a four-year term.
|Office||Type||Location||Began office||Ended office||notes|
|State Senator||Legislature||Dover||January 6, 1867||January 6, 1871|
|Governor||Executive||Dover||January 21, 1879||January 16, 1883|
|State Senator||Legislature||Dover||January 6, 1891||January 6, 1895|
|Delaware General Assembly service|
|1867–1868||74th||State Senate||Democratic||Gove Saulsbury||Kent at-large|
|1869–1870||75th||State Senate||Democratic||Gove Saulsbury||Kent at-large|
|1891–1892||86th||State Senate||Democratic||Robert J. Reynolds||Kent at-large|
|1893–1894||87th||State Senate||Democratic||Robert J. Reynolds||Kent at-large|
|1878||Governor||John W. Hall||Democratic||10,730||79%||Kensey J. Stewart||Greenback Labor||2,835||21%|
- Sue Fox and Linda Lounsbury (1976/1977). "National Register of Historic Places Inventory/Nomination: Frederica Historic District". National Park Service. and accompanying 24 photos
- 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.
- Wilson, Emerson. (1969). Forgotten Heroes of Delaware. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Deltos Publishing Company.
- Hall of Governors Portrait Gallery. Portrait courtesy of Historical and Cultural Affairs, Dover
- Biographical Directory of the Governors of the United States
- Delaware’s Governors
- Find a Grave
- The Political Graveyard
Places with more information
- Delaware Historical Society; website; 505 North Market Street, Wilmington, Delaware 19801; (302) 655-7161
- University of Delaware; Library website; 181 South College Avenue, Newark, Delaware 19717; (302) 831-2965