Back to former Delaware governors
William Du Hamel Denney

Gov. William Du Hamel Denney

  • January 18, 1921 - January 20, 1925
  • Republican
  • March 31, 1873
  • November 21, 1953
  • Delaware
  • Married Alice Godwin; two children
  • Army


WILLIAM DU HAMEL DENNEY was born in Dover, Delaware, on March 31, 1873. He attended the Wesleyan Collegiate Institute in Dover. Denney worked in the Hartford Fire Insurance Company, holding various jobs, and was a partner in the W. Charles Boyer, Dover Insurance Agency. Denney entered politics as a member and speaker of the Delaware House of Representatives, an office he held from 1905 to 1907. He also served as secretary to U.S. Senator Harry A. Richardson from 1907 to 1913. Denney won the 1920 Republican gubernatorial nomination and was elected Delaware’s 48th Governor. He was sworn into office on January 18, 1921. During his tenure, the State Department of Health and the State Highway Department were restructured, and a State Child Welfare Commission and State Health and Welfare Commission were founded. Construction on roads and highways moved forward, school reform was constituted, and a capitation tax for anyone over 21 was imposed. Denney left office on January 20, 1925 and continued to stay active in public service. He served as acting secretary of state for Delaware in 1931, was commissioner of the State Motor Vehicle Commission in 1940, and was the state librarian from 1941 to 1948. He also served during World War I as a first lieutenant, and was with the Army Reserves until 1938. He was a member of the Republican State Committee from 1920 to 1953, serving as chair from 1926 to 1928, and was chair of the 1922 and 1928 Republican State Conventions. He served as a delegate to the 1908, 1924, and 1928 Republican National Conventions, and was a presidential elector in 1916. Governor William D. Denney died on November 21, 1953, and is buried at the Christ Church Cemetery in Dover.


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.

Delaware's Governors

The Political Graveyard


Recent Delaware Governors