William S. Pennington was born in Newark, New Jersey in 1757. His early education was attained in the common schools of his native state. He went on to study law, and was admitted to the bar in 1802. During the Revolutionary War, he served with the 2nd New Jersey Artillery, was wounded in the battle of Yorktown, and later was awarded for his courageous service. Pennington first entered politics as a member of the New Jersey State Assembly, a position he held in 1797, 1798, and 1799. He also was a member of the New Jersey State Council from 1801 to 1802; served as the Essex County clerk from 1803 to 1804; and served as a New Jersey State Supreme Court justice from 1804 to 1813. Pennington next won election to the governorship in 1813, and was reelected to a second term in 1814. During his tenure, war issues were dealt with. A special focus was on the strengthening of the coastlines’ defense. After securing a federal judgeship, Pennington resigned from the governor’s office on June 19, 1815. He served on the federal bench for eleven years. Governor William S. Pennington passed away on September 26, 1826 in Newark, New Jersey.
Sobel, Robert, and John Raimo, eds. Biographical Directory of the Governors of the United States, 1789-1978, Vol. 3, Westport, Conn.; Meckler Books, 1978. 4 vols.