Samuel Paynter

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Samuel Paynter
SamuelPaynter.gif
Governor of Delaware
In office
January 20, 1824 – January 16, 1827
Preceded by Charles Thomas
Succeeded by Charles Polk, Jr.
Personal details
Born (1768-08-24)August 24, 1768
Sussex County, Delaware
Died October 2, 1845(1845-10-02) (aged 77)
Lewes, Delaware
Political party Federalist
Spouse(s) Elizabeth Rowland
Residence Lewes, Delaware
Occupation merchant
Religion Episcopalian

Samuel Paynter (August 24, 1768 – October 2, 1845) was an American merchant and politician from Drawbridge, in Broadkill Hundred, Sussex County, Delaware. He was a member of the Federalist Party, who served in the Delaware General Assembly and as Governor of Delaware.

Early life and family[edit]

Paynter was born at Drawbridge in Broadkill Hundred, Sussex County, Delaware, son of Samuel and Meritta Hazzard Paynter. His ancestor, Richard Paynter came to Lewes, Delaware before 1700, and his grandfather, Samuel Paynter, bought land in Broadkill Hundred in 1732. Samuel, our subject, married Elizabeth Rowland in 1796 and they had six children, Mary, Elizabeth, Sally, Samuel Rowland, John Parker, and Alfred Shockley. They were members of St. Peter's Episcopal Church in Lewes.

Professional and political career[edit]

Drawbridge, as its name suggests, was the point at which land traffic crossed the Broadkill River, about halfway from Milton to the Delaware Bay. It is where State Route 1 crosses the Broadkill River today. Paynter's father, another Samuel, established a general store there. The business was quite successful, and made the family wealthy enough for Samuel Jr. to be a director of the Farmer's Bank at Georgetown for 25 years.

Paynter was a member of the Federalist Party like the majority in Sussex County. While elsewhere the Federalists were declining as an effective political force, in lower Delaware they organized themselves well, and were far more acceptable to the agrarian, Anglican and Methodist establishment, than the Irish Presbyterians who dominated the majority Democratic-Republican Party in very different New Castle County. Statewide elections were competitive, but the three counties were similar in population, and so the Federalists almost always won, both in the General Assembly and governorship.

Paynter was, therefore, in the majority in his long years of experience in the Delaware General Assembly. Elected first in 1796, he served in the State House for four sessions from 1797 through 1800. He was then elected to the State Senate in 1806 and served in seven sessions from 1807 through 1813. Finally, he served in the State Senate again in the 1823 session. Defeating his neighbor from Milton, David Hazzard, the Democratic-Republican candidate, Paynter was elected Governor of Delaware in 1823 and served from January 20, 1824 until January 16, 1827. During his tenure as Governor construction finally began on the new Chesapeake and Delaware Canal. After his term ended he returned to his home and mercantile business at Drawbridge.


Delaware General Assembly
(sessions while Governor)
Year Assembly Senate Majority Speaker House Majority Speaker
1824 48th Federalist Jesse Green Federalist Joshua Burton
1825 49th Federalist Jesse Green Federalist Joshua Burton
1826 50th Federalist Charles Polk, Jr. Federalist Arnold S. Naudain

Death and legacy[edit]

Paynter died at Drawbridge in Broadkill Hundred, Sussex County, and is buried in the St. Peter's Episcopal Churchyard at Lewes. His son, Samuel R. Paynter, also served in the Delaware General Assembly.

Almanac[edit]

Elections were held the first Tuesday of October. Members of the Delaware General Assembly took office the first Tuesday of January. State Senators had a three-year term and State Representatives had a one-year term. The Governor takes office the third Tuesday of January and had a three-year term.

Public Offices
Office Type Location Began office Ended office notes
State Representative Legislature Dover January 3, 1797 January 2, 1798
State Representative Legislature Dover January 2, 1798 January 1, 1799
State Representative Legislature Dover January 1, 1799 January 7, 1800
State Representative Legislature Dover January 7, 1800 January 6, 1801
State Senator Legislature Dover January 6, 1807 January 2, 1810
State Senator Legislature Dover January 2, 1810 January 5, 1813
State Treasurer Executive Dover January 2, 1817 January 5, 1818
Associate Justice Judiciary Dover February 14, 1818 October 6, 1820 State Supreme Court
State Senator Legislature Dover January 7, 1823 January 6, 1824
Governor Executive Dover January 20, 1824 January 16, 1827
Delaware General Assembly service
Dates Assembly Chamber Majority Governor Committees District
1797 21st State House Federalist Gunning Bedford, Sr. Sussex at-large
1798 22nd State House Federalist Daniel Rogers Sussex at-large
1799 23rd State House Federalist Richard Bassett Sussex at-large
1800 24th State House Federalist Richard Bassett Sussex at-large
1807 31st State Senate Federalist Nathaniel Mitchell Sussex at-large
1808 32nd State Senate Federalist George Truitt Sussex at-large
1809 33rd State Senate Federalist George Truitt Sussex at-large
1810 34th State Senate Federalist George Truitt Sussex at-large
1811 35th State Senate Federalist Joseph Haslet Sussex at-large
1812 36th State Senate Federalist Joseph Haslet Sussex at-large
1823 47th State Senate Federalist Joseph Haslet Sussex at-large
Election results
Year Office Subject Party Votes % Opponent Party Votes %
1823 Governor Samuel Paynter Federalist 4,348 52% David Hazzard Democratic-Republican 4,051 48%

References[edit]

  • 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. ISBN 0-87413-493-5. 

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