Gunning Bedford Sr.
Gunning Bedford (Senior).jpg
2nd Governor of Delaware
In office
January 19, 1796 – September 30, 1797
Preceded byJoshua Clayton
Succeeded byDaniel Rogers
Personal details
Born(1742-04-07)April 7, 1742
New Castle County, Delaware Colony
DiedSeptember 30, 1797(1797-09-30) (aged 55)
New Castle, Delaware
Political partyFederalist
Spouse(s)Mary Read
Residence(s)New Castle, Delaware
Professionlawyer
Military service
Allegiance United States
Branch/serviceNew Castle County Militia
Continental Army
Rank
US-O5 insignia.svg
Lieutenant Colonel
Battles/warsFrench and Indian War
American Revolutionary War

Gunning Bedford Sr. (April 7, 1742 – September 30, 1797) was an American lawyer and politician from New Castle, in New Castle County, Delaware. He was an officer in the Continental Army during the American Revolution, and a member of the Federalist Party, who served in the Delaware General Assembly and as Governor of Delaware. He is often confused with his cousin, Gunning Bedford Jr., who was a delegate to the U.S. Constitutional Convention of 1787.

Early life and family

Bedford was born on a farm in New Castle Hundred, near the town of New Castle, son of William and Catherine Jacquett Bedford. William Bedford was the grandson of another William Bedford who came to Delaware from Virginia around 1680, and who himself was the grandson of an English immigrant to Jamestown, Virginia in 1621. Gunning Bedford was educated at the Academy of Pennsylvania and married Mary Read, the sister of George Read in 1769. They had no children. They lived at 6 The Strand in New Castle and were members of Immanuel Episcopal Church. He began his career as a merchant at New Castle, but later studied law, and was admitted to the Delaware Bar in 1779.

Political career

Bedford was elected to four terms in the House of Assembly beginning with the 1783/84 session and serving through the 1786/87 session. He was elected a delegate to the U.S. Congress under the Articles of Confederation in 1786/87, but resigned shortly afterwards on January 15, 1787. He then was elected to a term on the Legislative Council beginning with the 1788/89 session. In October 1795 he was the Federalist candidate for governor, defeating Dr. Archibald Alexander, a retired army surgeon. He served as governor from January 19, 1796 until his death on September 30, 1797.

Death and legacy

Bedford died at New Castle and is buried there in the Immanuel Episcopal Church Cemetery. He was the second Governor of Delaware to die in office.

Delaware General Assembly
(sessions while Governor)
Year Assembly Senate Majority Speaker House Majority Speaker
1796 20th Federalist Daniel Rogers Federalist Stephen Lewis
1797 21st Federalist Daniel Rogers Federalist Stephen Lewis

Almanac

Elections were held October 1, and members of the General Assembly took office on October 20 or the following weekday. State legislative councilors had a three-year term, and state assemblymen had a one-year term.

Beginning in 1792 elections were held on the first Tuesday of October, and members of the General Assembly took office the first Tuesday of January. Also in 1792 the State Legislative Council was renamed the State Senate, and the State House of Assembly became the State House of Representatives. The State President became the governor and was popularly elected. He takes office the third Tuesday in January and had a three-year term.

Public Offices
Office Type Location Began office Ended office notes
Assemblyman Legislature Dover October 20, 1783 October 20, 1784
Assemblyman Legislature Dover October 20, 1784 October 20, 1785
Assemblyman Legislature Dover October 20, 1785 October 21, 1786
Assemblyman Legislature Dover October 20, 1786 October 21, 1787
Councilman Legislature Dover October 20, 1788 October 26, 1791
Governor Executive Dover January 19, 1796 September 28, 1797
Delaware General Assembly service
Dates Assembly Chamber Majority Governor Committees District
1783/84 8th State House non-partisan Nicholas Van Dyke New Castle at-large
1784/85 9th State House non-partisan Nicholas Van Dyke New Castle at-large
1785/86 10th State House non-partisan Nicholas Van Dyke New Castle at-large
1786/87 11th State House non-partisan Thomas Collins New Castle at-large
1788/89 13th State Council non-partisan Thomas Collins New Castle at-large
1789/90 14th State Council non-partisan Joshua Clayton New Castle at-large
1790/91 15th State Council non-partisan Joshua Clayton New Castle at-large
Election results
Year Office Subject Party Votes % Opponent Party Votes %
1795 Governor Gunning Bedford Sr. Federalist 2,352 52% Archibald Alexander Republican 2,142 48%

References

Places with more information

Party political offices Preceded byJoshua Clayton Federalist nominee for Governor of Delaware 1795 Succeeded byRichard Bassett Political offices Preceded byJoshua Clayton Governor of Delaware 1796–1797 Succeeded byDaniel Rogers