Richard McMullen

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Richard C. McMullen
59th Governor of Delaware
In office
January 19, 1937 – January 21, 1941
Lieutenant Edward W. Cooch
Preceded by C. Douglass Buck
Succeeded by Walter W. Bacon
Personal details
Born (1868-01-02)January 2, 1868
Glasgow, Delaware
Died February 18, 1944(1944-02-18) (aged 76)
Wilmington, Delaware
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Florence Hutchinson
Residence Wilmington, Delaware
Alma mater Goldey Commercial College
Occupation manufacturer
Religion Methodist

Richard Cann McMullen (January 2, 1868 – February 18, 1944) was an American manufacturer and politician from Wilmington, in New Castle County, Delaware. He was a member of the Democratic Party, who served as Governor of Delaware.

Early life and family[edit]

McMullen was born at Porters, near Glasgow, Delaware, son of James and Sarah Boulden McMullen. He worked as a farm hand to meet expenses while studying at Goldey Commercial College. He married Florence Hutchinson in 1895 and they had three children, Laura B., Richard H. and Florence and were members of the Methodist Church.

Professional and political career[edit]

McMullen learned the tanning and leather business while working at the Mullin and Pierson Leather Plant, later to become the Amalgamated Leather Company. In 1917 he and two partners founded the Standard Kid Company and later became Vice President, then General Manager of the Allied Kid Company in Wilmington. These companies were tanneries and leading manufactures of leather products.

As a prominent businessman he had served two terms on the Wilmington City Council, had served on the Public Utilities and Unemployment Insurance Commission, and had turned down an offer to run for Mayor of Wilmington.

Governor of Delaware[edit]

After reluctantly agreeing to run, he was elected Governor of Delaware in 1936, defeating Republican Harry L. Cannon, and Isaac D. Short, a Republican running as an Independent. McMullen was the first Democratic Governor in 36 years and throughout his term was frustrated with his inability to replace his political opponents in state government. As his term was during the latter part of the Great Depression, public works projects were going on throughout the state, including the opening of the Roosevelt Inlet at Lewes, a new bridge over Indian River Inlet and a couple of new stations for the State Police.

Delaware General Assembly
(sessions while Governor)
Year Assembly Senate Majority President
pro tempore
House Majority Speaker
1937-1938 109th Republican William A. Simonton Democratic John R. Fader
1939-1940 110th Republican David W. Steele Republican Frank R. Zebley

Death and legacy[edit]

McMullen was again nominated as the Democratic Party candidate for Governor in 1940, but suffered a heart attack a month before the election and withdrew from the campaign. He died at Wilmington and is buried there in the Riverview Cemetery.


Elections are held the first Tuesday after November 1. 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
Governor Executive Dover January 19, 1937 January 21, 1941

Election results
Year Office Subject Party Votes % Opponent Party Votes %
1936 Governor Richard C. McMullen Democratic 65,437 51% Harry L. Cannon
Isaac D. Short
Independent Republican


  • 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. 
  • Martin, Roger (1997). Elbert N. Carvel. Wilmington, Delaware: Delaware Heritage Press. ISBN 0-924117-08-7. 
  • Martin, Roger (1984). History of Delaware Through its Governors. Wilmington, Delaware: McClafferty Press. 
  • 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. 


External links[edit]

Places with more information[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
C. Douglass Buck
Governor of Delaware
Succeeded by
Walter W. Bacon