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Thomas Collins

Gov. Thomas Collins

  • October 28, 1786 - March 29, 1789
  • January 1, 1732
  • March 29, 1789
  • Delaware
  • Married Sarah Collins; four children
  • Militia


From 1776 to 1792, the executive leader of Delaware was known as the President and was elected by the State General Assembly. After the ratification of the United States Constitution, Delaware developed its own new constitution that called for the popular election of a governor.


THOMAS COLLINS was born near Smyrna, Delaware in 1732. He was educated by private tutors in his youth, though little else is known about his childhood upbringing. During his late twenties and early thirties, Collins made significant investments in Delaware real estate. He entered politics in 1764 after becoming Sheriff of Kent County. In 1767, he was then elected to the Assembly of the Lower Three Counties Upon Delaware. In 1776, he served as a delegate at Delaware’s constitutional convention and served as the Speaker of the Senate in 1778, 1780, and 1781. He saw significant military action during the Revolutionary War as a brigadier general in the Upper Kent Militia. After the war, he was named to the Court of Common pleas as a judge. He served there for four years. Then, on October 26, 1786, State Representative Jacob Broom nominated Collins for the office of President. He was elected unanimously by the General Assembly, which is the only unanimous election of a president or governor in Delaware history. During his term, Delaware became the first state after ratifying the United States Constitution on December 7, 1787. President Collins also ordered the execution of loyalist Cheney Clow. Collins counted George Washington among his heroes and had a strong desire to his inauguration. Unfortunately, Collins fell ill and passed away on March 29th, 1789, one month before the inauguration ceremony. He is buried at the Gloster estate.


*Exact date of birth is unknown*

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