David Hall (Delaware governor)


David Hall (Delaware governor) : biography

January 4, 1752 – September 18, 1817

Political career

Meanwhile Hall pursued his law practice in Lewes and entered politics. He was a Jeffersonian Democrat-Republican, like most Presbyterians, but in Anglican Lewes, he was in the minority. He was badly beaten by Federalist Richard Bassett, when he ran for Governor in 1798. He ran again in 1801 against Episcopalian Nathaniel Mitchell, a professed "Deist," and a person openly critical of Methodists. Hall emphasized his Presbyterian faith, and in spite of losing Kent and Sussex Counties again badly, he won Presbyterians in New Castle County by such a large margin that he carried the state by 18 votes. The Federalists considered using the recently passed Alien and Sedition Acts to try to nullify some of the recent immigrant New Castle County vote, but with their continued control of the General Assembly, they grudgingly "allowed" him to take office.

Hall served as Governor from January 19, 1802 until January 15, 1805. During this time Pierre Samuel du Pont de Nemours bought the old Jacob Broom cotton mills on Brandywine Creek and began his gunpowder business. This was also the point of the greatest abolitionist sentiment in Delaware, when the General Assembly failed by one vote to enact a gradual emancipation bill.

He was an unsuccessful candidate for the U.S. House in 1805 against James M. Broom; and again in 1812 for the seat won by the Federalist candidate, Thomas Cooper. The next year he was named a judge of the Sussex County Court of Common Pleas.

Delaware General Assembly (sessions while Governor)
Year Assembly Senate Majority Speaker House Majority Speaker
1802 26th Federalist Daniel Rogers Federalist Stephen Lewis
1803 27th Federalist James Sykes Federalist Stephen Lewis
1804 28th Federalist James Sykes Federalist Jesse Green