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William Burton

Gov. William Burton

  • January 18, 1859 - January 20, 1863
  • Democrat
  • October 16, 1789
  • August 5, 1866
  • Delaware
  • Married twice--Eliza Sorden, Ann C. Hill; one child


WILLIAM BURTON was born near Milford, Delaware, on October 16, 1789. He earned a medical degree from the University of Pennsylvania, and opened a successful practice in Milford. Burton entered politics in 1830, as the sheriff of Kent County. He also made an unsuccessful run in 1830 for the governor’s office, however he was victorious on November 2, 1858, and became Delaware’s 31st governor. During his tenure, the Civil War was looming, and Burton advocated for a state convention to decide whether to stay in the Union. Governor Burton appointed Henry Dupont major general of the Delaware militia, and although the appointment was politically sound, Burton’s sympathies were still not with the North. Delaware also supplied more troops to the federal army in the war effort than any other state. On January 20, 1863 he left office, retiring from public service. He returned to Milford and his medical practice. Governor William Burton died on August 5, 1866, and he is buried at the Christ Episcopal Churchyard in Milford, 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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