EBE WALTER TUNNELL, Delaware’s 42nd governor, was born in Clarksville, Delaware, on December 31, 1844. He was educated in private schools. He worked in Blackwater, Delaware, in the mercantile industry, and started his own drug and hardware business in Lewes. He entered politics in 1870 as a one-term member of the Delaware General Assembly. He also served as the county clerk of peace from 1884 to 1889, was president of the Farmers’ Bank of Delaware from 1882 to 1917, and was an unsuccessful gubernatorial nominee in 1894. Tunnell won election to Delaware’s governorship on November 3, 1896, and he was sworn into office on January 19, 1897. During his tenure, a state board of agriculture was instituted, the state courts were restructured, and a poll tax was enacted. Also, a new general election law was constituted, as well as, a general incorporation act and a bill that managed building and loan associations. After Tunnell’s term ended on January 15, 1901, he retired from public service and returned to his various business dealings. Governor Ebe W. Tunnell died on December 18, 1917, and he is buried at the Lewes Presbyterian Cemetery.
Sobel, Robert, and John Raimo, eds. Biographical Directory of the Governors of the United States, 1789-1978, Vol. 1, Westport, Conn.; Meckler Books, 1978. 4 vols.