List of Members of the United States House of Representatives in the 1st Congress by seniority
This is a list of members of the U.S. House of Representatives in the 1st United States Congress by seniority. For the most part, representatives are ranked by the beginning of their terms in office.
As an historical article, the districts and party affiliations listed reflect those during the 1st Congress (March 4, 1789 – March 3, 1791). Seats and party affiliations on similar lists for other Congresses will be different for certain members.
This article describes the criteria for seniority in the House of Representatives and sets out the list of members by seniority. It is prepared on the basis of the interpretation of seniority applied to the House of Representatives in the 112th Congress. In the absence of information to the contrary, it is presumed that the twenty-first century practice is identical to the seniority customs used during the 1st Congress.
Seniority in the House, for Congressmen with unbroken service, depends on the date on which the members first term began. That date is either the start of the Congress (4th March in odd numbered years, for the era up to and including the 73rd Congress starting in 1933) or the date of a special election during the Congress. Since many members start serving on the same day as others, ranking between them is based on alphabetical order by the last name of the congressman.
Congressmen, in early Congresses, were often elected after the legal start of the Congress. Such representatives are attributed with unbroken seniority, from the legal start of the congressional term, if they were the first person elected to a seat in a Congress. The date of the election is indicated in a note.
The seniority date is normally taken from the members entry in the Biographical Directory of the United States Congress, except where the date given is the legal start of the Congress and the actual election (for someone who was not the first person elected to the seat in that Congress) was later. The date of election is taken from United States Congressional Elections 1788-1997. In a few instances the latter work provides dates, for the start and end of terms, which correct those in the Biographical Directory.
The Biographical Directory normally uses the date of a special election, as the seniority date. However, mostly in early Congresses, the date of the member taking his seat can be the one given. The date of the special election is mentioned in a note to the list below, when that date is not used as the seniority date by the Biographical Directory.
Representatives who return to the House, after having previously served, are credited with service equal to one less than the total number of terms they served. When a representative has served a prior term of less than two terms (i.e., prior term minus one equals less than one), he is ranked above all others whose service begins on the same day.
In this Congress the only formal leader was the Speaker of the House. A Speakership ballot was held on April 1, 1789 and Frederick Muhlenberg (P-PA) was elected. 
The House created its first standing committee, on April 13, 1789. There was one standing committees in the 1st Congress. In addition there was a Ways and Means Committee for part of the 1st session. Although the Ways and Means Committee was not formally added to the list of standing committees until 1802, the 2011 committee considers the one in 1789 to be its forerunner.
Committees, in this period, were appointed for a session at a time and not necessarily for every one in a Congress. Apart from the members of the Elections Committee in the 1st session (who were selected by balloting the House), the Speaker appointed the members.
This list refers to the standing committees of the House in the 1st Congress, the year of establishment as a standing committee, the number of members assigned to the committee and the dates of appointment in each session and its chairman. 
|01||Elections||1789||7||April 13, 1789-September 29, 1789||George Clymer (P-PA)|
|February 1, 1790-August 29, 1790||Fisher Ames (P-MA)|
|02||Ways and Means||||11||July 24, 1789-September 17, 1789||Thomas Fitzsimons (P-PA)|
List of Representatives by seniority
A numerical rank is assigned to each of the 65 members initially elected to the 1st Congress. Other members, who were not the first person elected to a seat but who joined the House during the Congress, are not assigned a number (apart from the Representatives from the two states, admitted after ratifying the constitution during the Congress, who are numbered 60-65). One Representative-elect was not sworn in, as he declined to serve. The list below includes that Representative-elect (with name in italics), with the seniority he would have held if he had been sworn in.
Party designations used in this article are A for Anti-Administration members and P for Pro-Administration representatives.
|01||Fisher Ames||P||MA-1||March 4, 1789||Chairman: Elections (1790)|
|03||Egbert Benson||P||NY-3||Elected March 3-5, 1789|
|04||Theodorick Bland||A||VA-9||Died June 1, 1790|
|05||Elias Boudinot||P||NJ-al||Elected February 11-April 27, 1789|
|07||Aedanus Burke||A||SC-2||Only term|
|08||Lambert Cadwalader||P||NJ-al||Elected February 11-April 27, 1789. Only term until 3rd Congress.|
|09||Daniel Carroll||P||MD-6||Only term|
|10||George Clymer||P||PA-al||Chairman: Elections (1789). Only term.|
|11||Isaac Coles||A||VA-6||Only term until 3rd Congress|
|12||Benjamin Contee||A||MD-3||Only term|
|13||Thomas Fitzsimons||P||PA-al||Chairman: Ways and Means (July 24-September 17, 1789)|
|14||William Floyd||A||NY-1||Elected March 3-5, 1789. Only term.|
|15||George Gale||P||MD-5||Only term|
|20||Jonathan Grout||A||MA-8||Only term|
|22||John Hathorn||A||NY-4||Elected March 3-5, 1789. Only term until 4th Congress.|
|25||Benjamin Huntington||P||CT-al||Only term (elected to 3rd Congress, but declined to serve)|
|26||James Jackson||A||GA-1||Only term|
|27||John Laurance||P||NY-2||Elected March 3-5, 1789|
|28||Richard B. Lee||P||VA-4|
|32||George Mathews||A||GA-3||Only term|
|34||Frederick Muhlenberg||P||PA-al||Speaker of the House|
|35||Peter Muhlenberg||A||PA-al||Only term until 3rd Congress|
|38||George Partridge||P||MA-5||Resigned August 14, 1790|
|39||James Schureman||P||NJ-al||Elected February 11-April 27, 1789. Only term until 5th Congress.|
|40||Thomas Scott||P||PA-al||Only term until 3rd Congress|
|41||Theodore Sedgwick||P||MA-4||Elected May 11, 1789 |
|43||Roger Sherman||P||CT-al||Only term (elected to 2nd Congress, but did not serve)|
|44||Peter Silvester||P||NY-5||Elected March 3-5, 1789|
|45||Thomas Sinnickson||P||NJ-al||Elected February 11-April 27, 1789. Only term until 5th Congress.|
|46||William Smith||A||MD-4||Only term|
|47||William L. Smith||P||SC-1|
|48||Michael J. Stone||A||MD-1||Only term|
|52||Jonathan Trumbull, Jr.||P||CT-al|
|53||Thomas T. Tucker||A||SC-5|
|54||Jeremiah Van Rensselaer||A||NY-6||Elected March 3-5, 1789. Only term.|
|55||John M. Vining||P||DE-al|
|57||Benjamin West||-||NH-al||Representative-elect, who declined to serve, probably in May 1789 |
|59||Henry Wynkoop||P||PA-al||Only term|
|Members joining the House, after the start of the Congress|
|...||Abiel Foster||P||NH-al||June 22, 1789||Special election.  Only term until 4th Congress.|
|60||Hugh Williamson||A||NC-2||March 19, 1790||Took seat from newly represented state|
|61||John B. Ashe||A||NC-1||March 24, 1790|
|62||Timothy Bloodworth||A||NC-3||April 6, 1790||Took seat from newly represented state. Only term.|
|63||John Steele||P||NC-4||April 19, 1790||Took seat from newly represented state|
|64||John Sevier||P||NC-5||June 16, 1790||Took seat from newly represented state. Only term until 12th Congress.|
|...||William B. Giles||A||VA-9||December 7, 1790||Special election|
|65||Benjamin Bourne||P||RI-al||December 17, 1790||Elected August 31, 1790. Took seat from newly represented state.|
- 112th Congress official House seniority list
- Annals of Congress, for the date of election
- Based on Rule X Organisation of Committees, in the House Rules and Manual for the 112th Congress. For membership and chairmen, see the Journal of the House of Representatives for the dates specified in the 1st Congress.
- United States Congressional Elections 1788-1997, page 2
- United States Congressional Elections 1788-1997, page 2 and note 11 on page 3
- United States Congressional Elections 1788-1997, page 2
This article incorporates public domain material from websites or documents of the Biographical Directory of the United States Congress.
- United States Congressional Elections 1788-1997, by Michael J. Dubin (McFarland and Company 1998) ISBN 0-7864-0283-0
- House Journal, First Forty-three Sessions of Congress
- House of Representatives list of members of the 1st Congress