Kensey Johns Jr.

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Kensey Johns Jr.
Chancellor of Delaware
In office
January 18, 1832 – March 28, 1857
Preceded by Kensey Johns Sr.
Succeeded by Samuel M. Harrington
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Delaware's At-large district
In office
October 2, 1827 – March 4, 1831
Preceded by Louis McLane
Succeeded by John J. Milligan
Personal details
Born (1791-12-10)December 10, 1791
New Castle, Delaware
Died March 28, 1857(1857-03-28) (aged 65)
New Castle, Delaware
Political party Federalist
Spouse(s) Maria
Alma mater Princeton College
Profession lawyer

Kensey Johns Jr. (December 10, 1791 – March 28, 1857) was an American lawyer and politician from New Castle, in New Castle County, Delaware. He was a member of the Federalist and Whig Parties who served as U.S. Representative from Delaware.

Early life and family[edit]

Johns was born in New Castle, son of the prominent Delaware jurist and Chancellor Kensey Johns. Growing up he pursued classical studies and was graduated from Princeton College in 1810. He studied law with his uncle, Nicholas Van Dyke and at the Litchfield Law School, was admitted to the Delaware Bar in 1813 and commenced the practice of law in New Castle. His wife was named Maria and his mother was Nancy Ann Van Dyke Johns, the daughter of former Delaware Governor Nicholas Van Dyke. They were members of the Presbyterian Church at New Castle.

Professional and political career[edit]

Johns was elected to the 20th Congress to fill the vacancy caused by the appointment of Louis McLane to the U.S. Senate and consequent resignation. He was reelected to the 21st Congress and served from October 2, 1827 to March 3, 1831. After the death of his father he was appointed to take his place as Chancellor of Delaware in 1832. He served in this capacity for 25 years, until his death. He also served as Presiding Judge of the Orphan's Court and Court of Errors and Appeals.

Death and legacy[edit]

Johns died unexpectedly while in office at New Castle and was buried there in the Presbyterian Cemetery.

He is said to have been "painstaking and laborious to a degree in his careful examination of questions, but was also notably prompt in making his decisions." He was known to have been a lawyer who would be "referring every case to some well-settled principle of law, rather than seeking to support it upon mere case authority. He not only laboriously, but conscientiously, sought to adjudge every case thus submitted, but also to draw upon therefrom well defined principles and rules of equity." Nevertheless he was "notably prompt in making his decisions, seldom permitting the term to pass in making his determination." [1]


Elections were held the first Tuesday of October. U.S. Representatives took office March 4 and have a two-year term.

Public Offices
Office Type Location Began office Ended office notes
U.S. Representative Legislature Washington October 2, 1827 March 3, 1831
Chancellor Judiciary Dover January 18, 1832 March 28, 1857 State Chancery Court
United States Congressional service
Dates Congress Chamber Majority President Committees Class/District
1827–1829 20th U.S. House Democratic John Quincy Adams class 1
1829–1831 21st U.S. House Democratic Andrew Jackson class 1
Election results
Year Office Subject Party Votes % Opponent Party Votes %
1828 U.S. Representative Kensey Johns Jr. Federalist 4,769 52% James A. Bayard Jr. Republican 4,347 48%


  1. ^ Conrad, Henry C., History of the State of Delaware, 1908.


  • Martin, Roger A. (2003). Delawareans in Congress: The House of Representatives, Vol. One 1789-1900. Newark: Roger A. Martin. ISBN 0-924117-26-5. 
  • Martin, Roger A. (1995). Memoirs of the Senate. Newark: Roger A. Martin. 
  • Munroe, John A. (2004). The Philadelawareans. Newark: University of Delaware Press. ISBN 0-87413-872-8. 
  • Munroe, John A. (1954). Federalist Delaware 1775-1815. New Brunswick: Rutgers University. 
  • Ward, Christopher (1941). The Delaware Continentals. Wilmington, DE: Historical Society of Delaware. ISBN 0-924117-21-4. 
  • Wilson, W. Emerson (1969). Forgotten Heroes of Delaware. Cambridge, MA: Deltos Publishing Company. 

External links[edit]

Places with more information[edit]

U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by
Louis McLane
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Delaware's at-large congressional district

October 2, 1827 - March 3, 1831
Succeeded by
John J. Milligan