PRESTON LEA was born in Wilmington, Delaware, on November 12, 1841. He was educated in Lawrenceville, New Jersey, and at the age of 18, he went to work in his father’s business. After his father’s death and the firm’s incorporation, Lea became the company’s president. He also served as president of the Union National Bank in 1888, was vice president of the Farmers’ Mutual Insurance Company, and was director of the Philadelphia, Baltimore, and Washington Railroad. He was president of the Wilmington City Railway and president of the Equitable Guarantee Bank. Lea first entered politics on November 8, 1904, with his election to Delaware’s governorship. He was sworn into office on January 17, 1905. During his tenure, the monetary prerequisite for voting was eliminated, legislation was constituted that granted authorization on a new “Great Seal of the State of Delaware,” and a bill was enacted that sanctioned a popular vote to decide on the question of implementing a program of advisory initiative and referendum. Lea left office on January 19, 1909, and retired from public service. He continued to stay active in his various business investments. Governor Preston Lea died on December 4, 1916, and is buried at the Wilmington and Brandywine Cemetery in Wilmington, 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.