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Gunning Bedford

Gov. Gunning Bedford

  • January 19, 1796 - September 30, 1797
  • Federalist
  • April 7, 1742
  • September 30, 1797
  • Pennsylvania
  • Married Mary Read
  • Died in office
  • Army


GUNNING BEDFORD SR., Delaware’s second governor, was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on April 7, 1742. He attended the Academy of Pennsylvania and became a merchant in New Castle, Delaware. Bedford had a prominent military career with service during the Revolutionary War. He was a major in the Continental army, served as lieutenant colonel in Colonel Haslet’s Delaware Regiment, was wounded in the battle of White Plains, and in June 1776 was appointed muster master-general. After his military duty, he studied law, was admitted to the bar, and was appointed prothonotary of New Castle County in 1779. Bedford entered politics in 1784, as a member to the Delaware House of Representatives, an office he held for two years. He also served as a member of the Continental Congress from 1786 to 1787, was a member of the 1787 Delaware convention, and in 1789 was appointed justice of the peace. On October 6, 1795 Bedford was elected Governor of Delaware, and on January 13, 1796, he was sworn into office. During his tenure, transportation was improved throughout the state, the incorporation of the Bank of Delaware was authorized, and the initial groundwork was sanctioned for the creation of Delaware’s public school system. Governor Gunning Bedford Sr. passed away on September 30, 1797, before completing his term. He is buried at the Immanuel Churchyard in New Castle, Delaware.


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.

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