( All weblinks within this document are "Blue" )

      The first 10 individuals to be Delaware's Governor actually retained the title of "President of Delaware" based on the current constitution of Delaware. They were elected by the General Assembly and the term was for one year as was the term of the General Assembly. So when each General Assembly was elected in October they decided who the Governor (President) would be.

      When the 1st General Assembly was elected in October of 1776 the thought, or necessity, of having a Governor (President) was not immediately considered. The General Assembly itself was the guiding force for the state. But as the year of 1777 began it was felt to be necessary to indeed have a Governor (President).

      In February of that year they elected "John McKinly" to be the first to hold that office. His term would only be until the new General Assembly was elected in October of 1777, only 8 months away. (Elections were held yearly for all offices in October - However Governors were not necessarily changed, unless the General Assembly decided to change them) However, as you will see in the records, Governor McKinly's term was cut even shorter than that.

      The individual that got the second highest votes automatically became "Vice President" (as was also done at the national level at that time). When "John McKinly" was elected the second highest vote receiver was "Thomas McKean". This, of course, was changed as the years rolled along not only in Delaware but also at the national level. The reason for the change was that most times the two running against each other were for the most part basically rivals which of course did not make a good working relationship.

      When Delaware's new Constitution was put in place in 1792 three things changed concerning the Governor's Office. First, the title of Delaware's Chief Executive was changed from "President" to "Governor of Delaware", second no individual would be allowed to succeed themselves or be immediately re-elected, and third a term limit of three (3) years was put into place. State Senators would be elected for three (3) year terms also and Representatives were still elected yearly.

      The first individual to gain the title "Governor" was "Joshua Clayton" who also was the last person with the title "President", therefore he is listed twice in the records. Also parties are only listed from Joshua Clayton on since parties were not established in Delaware until that time.

      In November of 1831 the term for the Governor was again changed from three (3) years to four (4). Also, the Governor could now never be reelected. The State Senators term was extended to four (4) years also and State Representives was changed to every two (2) years.

" More info. coming soon! "


Email any questions to: Russ Pickett
Last update: 7/15/2007