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James Ponder

Gov. James Ponder

  • January 17, 1871 - January 19, 1875
  • Democrat
  • October 31, 1819
  • November 5, 1897
  • Delaware
  • Married Sallie Waples; five children


JAMES PONDER, Delaware’s 34th governor, was born near Milton, Delaware, on October 31, 1819. He attended private schools in Georgetown and Lewes, Delaware. Ponder became a successful businessman, taking over and running the family business in 1863. He served as director of the Queen Anne’s Railroad, and was president of the Georgetown Farmers’ Bank. Ponder entered politics in 1857 as a member of the Delaware House of Representatives. He also served in the Delaware State Senate from 1864 to 1868, acting as speaker during the 1867 senate session. Ponder was elected Governor of Delaware on November 8, 1870, and was sworn into office on January 17, 1871. During his tenure, legislation was enacted that gave married women additional legal rights, and hotelkeepers were granted the sole license to sell liquor. A law was constituted that banned non-citizens from fishing in the state. Ponder left office on January 19, 1875, retiring from public service. Governor James Ponder died on November 5, 1897, and is buried at the Methodist Episcopal Cemetery in Milton, 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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