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|Chief Justice of Mississippi|
August 1, 1803 – January 2, 1811
Delaware Supreme Court
December 17, 1802 – August 1, 1803
| Continental Congressman|
November 4, 1785 – February 3, 1787
April 8, 1784 – October 26, 1784
February 10, 1781 – February 2, 1782
|Born||June 4, 1744|
Kent County, Delaware
|Died||January 2, 1811 (aged 66)|
Thomas "Tommy" Rodney (June 4, 1744 – January 2, 1811) was an American lawyer and politician from Jones Neck in St. Jones Hundred, Kent County, Delaware and Natchez, Mississippi. He was a Continental Congressman from Delaware, and a member of the Democratic-Republican Party who served in the Delaware General Assembly, as Justice of the Delaware Supreme Court, and as federal judge for the Mississippi Territory. He was the younger brother of Caesar Rodney, Revolutionary President of Delaware.
Family and early life
Rodney was born June 4, 1744 at Byfield, his family's farm at Jones Neck, in Dover Hundred, Kent County, Delaware. It is just north of John Dickinson's mansion, Poplar Hall. He was the son of Caesar and Mary Crawford Rodney, and grandson of William Rodney, who came to America in the 1680s and had been Speaker of the Colonial Assembly of the Lower Counties in 1704. His mother was the daughter of the Rev. Thomas Crawford, Anglican priest at Dover. Byfield was an 800-acre (3.2 km2) farm, worked by a small number of slaves, and with the addition of other adjacent properties, the Rodneys were, by the standards of the day, wealthy members of the local gentry. Sufficient income was earned from the sale of wheat and barley to the Philadelphia and West Indies market to provide enough cash and leisure to allow members of the family to participate in the social and political life of Kent County. Rodney's father died in 1745, when he was an infant and his much older brother, Caesar Rodney became much involved in his rearing and education.
Rodney was very active in local politics, as well as the broader range of those elements affecting Delaware as whole. As early as 1740 he was a Justice of the Peace for Kent County and through the years he held many other local offices. He was a Colonel in the county's militia, and was involved in a number of actions during the American Revolutionary War.
In 1774 Thomas was a delegate to the state convention that elected his brother Caesar to be their delegate to the Continental Congress. Caesar went on to sign the Declaration of Independence. Meanwhile, Thomas was named to the state's Committee of Safety. Thomas in turn was sent as a delegate to the Congress in 1781 and 1782. He was elected to the Congress annually from 1785 to 1787, but attended sessions only in 1786. Through these same years Thomas was also a member in Delaware's state Assembly, and served as its Speaker of the House in 1787.
On December 17, 1802 Rodney became an associate justice of Delaware's Supreme Court. He would serve only until August 1803. He resigned since President Jefferson appointed him as the chief justice for the Mississippi Territory. He bought land in what was then Jefferson County, Mississippi and moved to Natchez to assume his new duties as the senior federal judge for the Mississippi Territory from 1803 to 1811.
Death and legacy
Thomas Rodney died January 2, 1811, at Natchez, Mississippi. The community of Rodney, in Jefferson County, Mississippi is named in his honor. His son, Caesar A. Rodney, served as the U.S. Representative from Delaware, U.S. Senator from Delaware, U.S. Attorney General and U.S. Minister to Argentina.
At this time Delaware elections were held the first of October. Members of the House of Assembly took office on the twentieth day of October for a term of one year. Seven Assemblymen were elected, at large, from each county. The General Assembly chose the Continental Congressmen for a term of one year.
|Office||Type||Location||Elected||Took Office||Left Office||notes|
|Kent County Courts||Judiciary||New Castle||1770||Justice of the Peace|
|State House||Legislature||Dover||October 1, 1781||October 20, 1781||October 20, 1782|
|Continental Congress||Legislature||Philadelphia||February 10, 1781||February 10, 1781||February 2, 1782|
|Continental Congress||Legislature||Annapolis||April 8, 1784||April 8, 1784||June 3, 1784||never attended|
|Continental Congress||Legislature||New York||November 4, 1785||November 7, 1785||November 3, 1786|
|State House||Legislature||Dover||October 1, 1786||October 20, 1786||October 20, 1787|
|Continental Congress||Legislature||New York||October 27, 1786||November 6, 1786||October 30, 1787||never attended|
|State House||Legislature||Dover||October 1, 1787||October 20, 1787||October 20, 1788||Speaker|
|U.S. Judge||Judiciary||Natchez||1803||1811||Mississippi Territory|
- Barthelmas, D.G. (1977). The Signers of the Declaration of Independence: A Biographical and Genealogical Record. Jefferson, NC: McFarland Press.
- Coleman, John M. (1984). Thomas McKean, Forgotten Leader of the Revolution. Rockaway, NJ: American Faculty Press. ISBN 0-912834-07-2.
- Martin, Roger A. (1995). Memoirs of the Senate. Newark, DE: Roger A. Martin.
- Martin, Roger A. (1984). A History of Delaware Through its Governors. Wilmington, DE: McClafferty Press.
- Munroe, John A. (2004). The Philadelawareans. Newark, DE: University of Delaware Press. ISBN 0-87413-872-8.
- Munroe, John A. (1954). Federalist Delaware 1775-1815. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University.
- Rowe, G.S. (1984). Thomas McKean, The Shaping of an American Republicanism. Boulder, CO: Colorado Associated University Press. ISBN 0-87081-100-2.
- Scott, Jane Harrington (2000). A Gentleman as Well as a Whig. Newark, DE: University of Delaware Press. ISBN 0-87413-700-4.
- Ward, Christopher L. (1941). The Delaware Continentals, 1776-1783. Wilmington, DE: Historical Society of Delaware. ISBN 0-924117-21-4.
- Goodrich, The Rev. Charles A. (1856). "Lives of the Signers to the Declaration of Independence". Colonial Hall. Retrieved 2006-06-01.
- Kestenbaum, Lawrence (2005). "The Political Graveyard". Retrieved 2006-06-01.
- Scharf, John Thomas (1888). "History of Delaware 1609-1888". Accessible Archives, Inc. Archived from the original on 2006-05-10. Retrieved 2006-06-01.
- U.S. Congress (2005). "Biographical Directory of the U.S. Congress". Retrieved 2006-06-01.
Places with more information
- Delaware Historical Society website, 505 Market St., Wilmington, Delaware (302) 655-7161
- University of Delaware Library website, 181 South College Ave., Newark, Delaware (302) 831-2965
- Newark Free Library 750 Library Ave., Newark Delaware (302) 731-7550.
- Corbit-Calloway Memorial Library 2nd and High St. Odessa, Delaware (302) 378-8838.
- Rodney, Mississippi Rodney, Mississippi Mississippi Town Named After Thomas Rodney