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William Cannon

Gov. William Cannon

  • January 20, 1863 - March 1, 1865
  • Union
  • March 15, 1809
  • March 1, 1865
  • Delaware
  • Married Margaret Ann B. Laws; six children
  • Died in office


WILLIAM CANNON, Delaware’s 32nd governor, was born near Bridgeville, Delaware, on March 15, 1809. After his education, Cannon worked in his father’s mercantile store, eventually becoming a successful businessman. He owned a brickyard, he shipped and sold grain, and operated a saw and gristmill. Cannon entered politics in 1844 as a member to the Delaware House of Representatives, an office he was reelected to in 1846. He served as Delaware’s state treasurer in 1851 and was a delegate to the 1861 Peace Congress. He also served as director of the Delaware Railroad, and was influential in establishing the First National Bank of Seaford. Cannon won election to Delaware’s governorship on November 4, 1862, and was sworn into office on January 20, 1863. During his tenure, he supported anti-abolition and endorsed pro-Union views. On October 26, 1863, the War Department declared all slaves who served in the Union Army free, thus resulting in Governor Cannon’s directive to set up recruiting stations for blacks wishing to enlist.  Before finishing his term, Governor Cannon passed away on March 1, 1865. He is buried at the Bridgeville Methodist Cemetery in Bridgeville, Delaware.


Sobel, Robert, and John Raimo, eds. Biographical Directory of Governors of the United States, 1789-1978, Vol. 1, Westport, Conn.; Meckler Books, 1978. 4 vols.

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