Simeon S. Pennewill

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Simeon S. Pennewill
Pennewill.gif
53rd Governor of Delaware
In office
January 19, 1909 – January 21, 1913
Lieutenant John M. Mendinhall
Preceded by Preston Lea
Succeeded by Charles R. Miller
Personal details
Born (1867-07-23)July 23, 1867
Greenwood, Delaware
Died September 10, 1935(1935-09-10) (aged 68)
Dover, Delaware
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Lydia Wright Elder
Elizabeth Halsey
Residence Dover, Delaware
Occupation farmer
Religion Methodist

Simeon Selby Pennewill (July 23, 1867 – September 10, 1935) was an American farmer and politician from Dover, in Kent County, Delaware. He was a member of the Republican Party, who served in the Delaware General Assembly and as Governor of Delaware.

Early life and family[edit]

Pennewill was born near Greenwood, Delaware, son of Simeon and Ann Curry Pennewill. The elder Simeon was one of the larger peach growers and owned the land that later became the town of Greenwood. He was also active in the Republican Party and served in the Governor's Guard during the Civil War. Simeon, the younger, was educated at Wilmington Conference Academy, now Wesley College in Dover. He married, later in life, after he served as Governor, first in 1920, Lydia Wright Elder, and second in 1927, Elizabeth Halsey. There were no children by either marriage. They lived at 228 North State Street in Dover and he was a member of the Methodist Church.

Professional and political career[edit]

Pennewill inherited and continued to operate his family's peach orchards in Greenwood and Bridgeville. Pennewill was elected to two terms in the Delaware State Senate and served from the 1899/1900 session through the 1905/06 session.

Governor of Delaware[edit]

He then was elected Governor of Delaware by defeating Rowland G. Paynter, the Democratic Party candidate and served one term from January 19, 1909 until January 21, 1913. Like his predecessor, Pennewill began his career as an Addicks Republican, but was dedicated to reuniting the party.

The Delaware General Assembly at this time approved the sale of the Chesapeake and Delaware Canal to the Federal government, and passed the Boulevard Corporation Act, which provided the legal authority for T. Coleman du Pont to begin to build his privately funded highway the length of the state.

Delaware's antiquated whipping post again received embarrassing national attention. Out of state pressure forced Pennewill to reduce the number of lashings given in one sentence, but the pressure seemed to only intensify local opinion in favor of the use of the whipping post. He also made a controversial appointment to his elder brother, James Pennewill, the position of Chief Justice of Delaware. His brother served until his death 26 years later in 1935. It was during Pennewill's term that the DuPont Company lost its anti trust suit and was forced to divest itself of what became the Hercules Powder and Atlas Powder Companies.


Delaware General Assembly
(sessions while Governor)
Year Assembly Senate Majority President
pro tempore
House Majority Speaker
1909–1910 95th Republican George W. Sparks Democratic Thomas O. Cooper
1911–1912 96th Democratic Thomas M. Monaghan Republican Denward W. Campbell

Death and legacy[edit]

Pennewill died at Dover and is buried in the Bridgeville Methodist Cemetery at Bridgeville, Delaware.

Almanac[edit]

Elections are held the first Tuesday after November 1. Members of the Delaware General Assembly take office the second 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.

Public Offices
Office Type Location Began office Ended office notes
State Senator Legislature Dover January 10, 1899 January 13, 1903
State Senator Legislature Dover January 13, 1903 January 8, 1907
Governor Executive Dover January 19, 1909 January 21, 1913
Delaware General Assembly service
Dates Assembly Chamber Majority Governor Committees District
1899–1900 90th State Senate Democratic Ebe Tunnell Sussex 1st
1901–1902 91st State Senate Republican John Hunn Sussex 1st
1903–1904 92nd State Senate Republican John Hunn Sussex 1st
1905–1906 93rd State Senate Republican Preston Lea Sussex 1st
Election results
Year Office Subject Party Votes % Opponent Party Votes %
1908 Governor Simeon S. Pennewill Republican 24,905 52% Rowland G. Paynter Democratic 22,794 48%

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. 
  • Hoffecker, Carol E. (2004). Democracy in Delaware. Wilmington, Delaware: Cedar Tree Books. ISBN 1-892142-23-6. 
  • Martin, Roger A. (1984). History of Delaware Through its Governors. Wilmington, Delaware: McClafferty Press. 
  • Martin, Roger A. (1995). Memoirs of the Senate. Newark, Delaware: Roger A. Martin. 
  • Sobel, Robert; J. Racino (1988). Biographical Directory of the Governors of the United States 1789-1978. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press. ISBN 0-930466-00-4. 

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