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Nathaniel Mitchell

Gov. Nathaniel Mitchell

  • January 15, 1805 - January 19, 1808
  • Federalist
  • January 1, 1753
  • February 21, 1814
  • Delaware
  • Married Hannah Morris; one child
  • Army


NATHANIEL MITCHELL, Delaware’s seventh governor, was born near Laurel, Delaware, in 1753. He had a long and distinguished military career, with service during the Revolutionary War. He was an adjutant in General Dagworthy’s battalion of militia, was captain in Colonel S. Patterson’s flying camp battalion, and served with Colonel Grayson’s continental regiment. Mitchell also fought in many successful battles, was promoted to the rank of brigade major and inspector to General Peter Muhlenberg, and was captured on May 10, 1781, held prisoner for a time, and then paroled. After the war, Mitchell entered politics as a delegate to the Continental Congress, a position he held from 1786 to 1788. He also served as prothonotary of Sussex County from 1788 to 1805. On October 2, 1804, Mitchell was elected Governor of Delaware, and on January 15, 1805, he was sworn into office. During his tenure, the most important issue he dealt with was the necessity in passing “an act that authorized a detachment for the United States militia.” This would require Delaware to provide and assemble 814 fully equipped men to fill its quota for the militia. Mitchell’s administration spent numerous hours and manpower complying with this request. Due to the 1792 Delaware Constitution that excluded a governor from succeeding himself, Mitchell did not run for reelection and left office on January 19, 1808. He continued to stay active in politics, serving in the Delaware House of Representatives from 1808 to 1810, and serving in the Delaware State Senate from 1810 to 1812. Governor Nathaniel Mitchell died on February 21, 1814, and is buried in the Old Brick Church Cemetery in Laurel, Delaware.


*Exact date of birth is unknown*


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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