David P. Buckson bigraphy, stories - American judge

David P. Buckson : biography

July 25, 1920 -

David Penrose Buckson (born July 25, 1920) is an American lawyer and politician from Camden, in Kent County, Delaware. He is a veteran of World War II and a member of the Republican Party, who served as the 15th Lieutenant Governor of Delaware, the Governor of Delaware and the 37th Attorney General of Delaware.


Elections are held the first Tuesday after November 1. The Lieutenant Governor and State Attorney General take office the third Tuesday of January and both have four-year terms, filling the Governor office when it was vacated.

Delaware General Assembly (session while Governor)
Year Assembly Senate Majority Presidentpro tempore House Majority Speaker
1961 120th Democratic Allen J. Cook Democratic Sherman W. Tribbitt
Public Offices
Office Type Location Began office Ended office notes
Lt. Governor Executive Dover January 15, 1957 December 30, 1960 Delaware
Governor Executive Dover December 30, 1960 January 17, 1961 Delaware
Attorney General Executive Dover January 15, 1963 January 17, 1967 Delaware
Attorney General Executive Dover January 17, 1967 January 19, 1971 Delaware
Election results
Year Office Election Subject Party Votes % Opponent Party Votes %
1956 Lt. Governor General David P. Buckson Republican 92,254 52% Vernon B. Derrickson Democratic 81,121 48%
1962 Attorney General General David P. Buckson Republican 77,666 51% John Biggs, III Democratic 75,064 49%
1964 Governor General David P. Buckson Republican 97,374 49% Charles L. Terry, Jr. Democratic 102,797 51%
1966 Attorney General General David P. Buckson Republican 96,595 59% Sidney Balick Democratic 66,848 41%
1972 Governor Primary David P. Buckson Republican 20,138 46% Russell W. Peterson Republican 23,929 54%


  • Portrait courtesy of Historical and Cultural Affairs, Dover.

Lieutenant Governor of Delaware

In 1955 Buckson was appointed a Judge in the Court of Common Pleas. A year later, in 1956, he was elected Lieutenant Governor, defeating Vernon Derrickson. He served one term from January 15, 1957 to December 30, 1960. At the end of his term, in 1960, he sought the Republican Party nomination for Governor, but lost it to John W. Rollins. However, he became Governor upon the resignation of Governor J. Caleb Boggs, who left to start his first U.S. Senate term, and served the remaining 18 days of Boggs' second term.

Early life and family

Buckson was born at Townsend, Delaware, son of Leon and Margaret Hutchison Buckson. He first married Betty Savin in 1945 with whom he had two children, Deborah Gray and Brian Roth. His second wife was Patricia Maloney, whom he married in 1962, and with whom he had four children, Marlee, David, Eric and Kent. They were members of the Methodist Church. He graduated from the University of Delaware in 1941 with a commission as a Second Lieutenant in the U.S. Army. During World War II Buckson served in the South Pacific and attained the rank of major. Afterwards he resumed studies for a legal career, attending Dickinson College Law School in Carlisle, Pennsylvania.

Professional and political career

In 1962, Buckson was elected Delaware State Attorney General and served two terms, from January 15, 1963 until January 19, 1971. He was a candidate for Governor again in 1964, when he lost to Democratic former Chief Justice Charles L. Terry, Jr., and finally in 1972, when he failed to receive the Republican nomination.

Buckson was later appointed by Governor Sherman W. Tribbitt to be a Judge in the Family Court of Delaware where he earned a reputation for dispatching justice in the most efficient, judicious, and evenhanded manner.

Buckson was the first Delaware attorney to have offices in more than one county. He is widely recognized to have been the founder of Dover Downs, a volunteer fireman, decorated veteran and officer of World War II and Commander of a National Guard unit. He has also been City Solicitor for the Delaware municipalities of Newark, Middletown, Townsend, Smyrna, Clayton, and Dover, all at the same time.

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