Thomas Rodney

Last updated
Thomas Rodney
Chief Justice of Mississippi
In office
August 1, 1803 January 2, 1811
Associate Justice
Delaware Supreme Court
In office
December 17, 1802 August 1, 1803
Continental Congressman
from Delaware
In office
November 4, 1785 February 3, 1787
In office
April 8, 1784 October 26, 1784
In office
February 10, 1781 February 2, 1782
Personal details
Born(1744-06-04)June 4, 1744
Kent County, Delaware
Died January 2, 1811(1811-01-02) (aged 66)
Natchez, Mississippi
Political party Democratic-Republican
Residence Dover, Delaware

Thomas "Tommy" Rodney (June 4, 1744 January 2, 1811) was an American lawyer and politician from Jones Neck in St. Jones Hundred, Kent County, Delaware and Natchez, Mississippi. He was a Continental Congressman from Delaware, and a member of the Democratic-Republican Party who served in the Delaware General Assembly, as Justice of the Delaware Supreme Court, and as federal judge for the Mississippi Territory. He was the younger brother of Caesar Rodney, Revolutionary President of Delaware.

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The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States or America, is a country composed of 50 states, a federal district, five major self-governing territories, and various possessions. At 3.8 million square miles, the United States is the world's third or fourth largest country by total area and is slightly smaller than the entire continent of Europe's 3.9 million square miles. With a population of over 327 million people, the U.S. is the third most populous country. The capital is Washington, D.C., and the largest city by population is New York City. Forty-eight states and the capital's federal district are contiguous in North America between Canada and Mexico. The State of Alaska is in the northwest corner of North America, bordered by Canada to the east and across the Bering Strait from Russia to the west. The State of Hawaii is an archipelago in the mid-Pacific Ocean. The U.S. territories are scattered about the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea, stretching across nine official time zones. The extremely diverse geography, climate, and wildlife of the United States make it one of the world's 17 megadiverse countries.

Lawyer legal professional who helps clients and represents them in a court of law

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A politician is a person active in party politics, or a person holding or seeking office in government. In democratic countries, politicians seek elective positions within a government through elections or, at times, temporary appointment to replace politicians who have died, resigned or have been otherwise removed from office. In non-democratic countries, they employ other means of reaching power through appointment, bribery, revolutions and war. Some politicians are experienced in the art or science of government. Politicians propose, support and create laws or policies that govern the land and, by extension, its people. Broadly speaking, a "politician" can be anyone who seeks to achieve political power in any bureaucratic institution.

Contents

Family and early life

Rodney was born June 4, 1744 at Byfield, his family's farm at Jones Neck, in Dover Hundred, Kent County, Delaware. It is just north of John Dickinson's mansion, Poplar Hall. He was the son of Caesar and Mary Crawford Rodney, and grandson of William Rodney, who came to America in the 1680s and had been Speaker of the Colonial Assembly of the Lower Counties in 1704. His mother was the daughter of the Rev. Thomas Crawford, Anglican priest at Dover. Byfield was an 800-acre (3.2 km2) farm, worked by a small number of slaves, and with the addition of other adjacent properties, the Rodneys were, by the standards of the day, wealthy members of the local gentry. Sufficient income was earned from the sale of wheat and barley to the Philadelphia and West Indies market to provide enough cash and leisure to allow members of the family to participate in the social and political life of Kent County. Rodney's father died in 1745, when he was an infant and his much older brother, Caesar Rodney became much involved in his rearing and education.

East Dover Hundred in the U.S. state of Delaware was originally part of St. Jones Hundred, which was renamed Dover Hundred in 1823, which was then divided in 1877 into two hundreds: East Dover Hundred and West Dover Hundred.

Kent County, Delaware County in the United States

Kent County is a county located in the central part of the U.S. state of Delaware. As of the 2010 census, the population was 162,310, making it the least populous county in Delaware. The county seat is Dover, the state capital of Delaware. It is named for Kent, an English county.

Delaware State of the United States of America

Delaware is one of the 50 states of the United States, in the South-Atlantic or Southern region. It is bordered to the south and west by Maryland, north by Pennsylvania, and east by New Jersey and the Atlantic Ocean. The state takes its name from Thomas West, 3rd Baron De La Warr, an English nobleman and Virginia's first colonial governor.

Political career

Rodney was very active in local politics, as well as the broader range of those elements affecting Delaware as whole. As early as 1740 he was a Justice of the Peace for Kent County and through the years he held many other local offices. He was a Colonel in the county's militia, and was involved in a number of actions during the American Revolutionary War.

American Revolutionary War 1775–1783 war between Great Britain and the Thirteen Colonies, which won independence as the United States of America

The American Revolutionary War (1775–1783), also known as the American War of Independence, was an 18th-century war between Great Britain and its Thirteen Colonies which declared independence as the United States of America.

In 1774 Thomas was a delegate to the state convention that elected his brother Caesar to be their delegate to the Continental Congress. Caesar went on to sign the Declaration of Independence. Meanwhile, Thomas was named to the state's Committee of Safety. Thomas in turn was sent as a delegate to the Congress in 1781 and 1782. He was elected to the Congress annually from 1785 to 1787, but attended sessions only in 1786. Through these same years Thomas was also a member in Delaware's state Assembly, and served as its Speaker of the House in 1787.

Continental Congress convention of delegates that became the governing body of the United States

The Continental Congress, also known as the Philadelphia Congress, was a convention of delegates called together from the Thirteen Colonies. It became the governing body of the United States during the American Revolution. The Congress met from 1774 to 1789 in three incarnations. The first call for a convention was made over issues of the blockade and the Intolerable Acts penalizing the Province of Massachusetts Bay. In 1774 Benjamin Franklin convinced the colonial delegates to the Congress to form a representative body. Much of what we know today comes from the yearly log books printed by the Continental Congress called Resolutions, Acts and Orders of Congress, which gives a day-to-day description of debates and issues.

United States Declaration of Independence announcement by which the American colonies declared their independence from Great Britain and thus founded the United States

The United States Declaration of Independence is the statement adopted by the Second Continental Congress meeting at the Pennsylvania State House in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on July 4, 1776. The Declaration announced that the Thirteen Colonies at war with the Kingdom of Great Britain would regard themselves as thirteen independent sovereign states, no longer under British rule. With the Declaration, these new states took a collective first step toward forming the United States of America. The declaration was signed by representatives from New Hampshire, Massachusetts Bay, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia.

On December 17, 1802 Rodney became an associate justice of Delaware's Supreme Court. He would serve only until August 1803. He resigned since President Jefferson appointed him as the chief justice for the Mississippi Territory. He bought land in what was then Jefferson County, Mississippi and moved to Natchez to assume his new duties as the senior federal judge for the Mississippi Territory from 1803 to 1811.

Thomas Jefferson 3rd president of the United States

Thomas Jefferson was an American statesman, diplomat, architect, and Founding Father who served as the third president of the United States from 1801 to 1809. Previously, he had served as the second vice president of the United States from 1797 to 1801. The principal author of the Declaration of Independence, Jefferson was a proponent of democracy, republicanism, and individual rights motivating American colonists to break from the Kingdom of Great Britain and form a new nation; he produced formative documents and decisions at both the state and national level.

Jefferson County, Mississippi County in the United States

Jefferson County is a county located in the U.S. state of Mississippi; its western border is formed by the Mississippi River. As of the 2010 census, the population was 7,726, making it the third-least populous county in Mississippi. Its county seat is Fayette. The county is named for U.S. President Thomas Jefferson.

Natchez, Mississippi Sole incorporated city in Mississippi, United States

Natchez is the county seat and only city of Adams County, Mississippi, United States. Natchez has a total population of 15,792. Located on the Mississippi River across from Vidalia in Concordia Parish, Louisiana, Natchez was a prominent city in the antebellum years, a center of cotton planters and Mississippi River trade.

Death and legacy

Thomas Rodney died January 2, 1811, at Natchez, Mississippi. The community of Rodney, in Jefferson County, Mississippi is named in his honor. His son, Caesar A. Rodney, served as the U.S. Representative from Delaware, U.S. Senator from Delaware, U.S. Attorney General and U.S. Minister to Argentina.

Mississippi State of the United States of America

Mississippi is a state located in the southeastern region of the United States. Mississippi is the 32nd most extensive and 34th most populous of the 50 United States. It is bordered by Tennessee to the north, Alabama to the east, the Gulf of Mexico and Louisiana to the south, and Arkansas and Louisiana to the west. The state's western boundary is largely defined by the Mississippi River. Jackson, with a population of approximately 167,000 people, is both the state's capital and largest city.

United States House of Representatives lower house of the United States Congress

The United States House of Representatives is the lower chamber of the United States Congress, the Senate being the upper chamber. Together they comprise the legislature of the United States.

United States Senate Upper house of the United States Congress

The United States Senate is the upper chamber of the United States Congress, which along with the United States House of Representatives—the lower chamber—comprises the legislature of the United States. The Senate chamber is located in the north wing of the Capitol, in Washington, D.C.

Public offices

At this time Delaware elections were held the first of October. Members of the House of Assembly took office on the twentieth day of October for a term of one year. Seven Assemblymen were elected, at large, from each county. The General Assembly chose the Continental Congressmen for a term of one year.

Office Type Location Elected Took Office Left Office notes
Kent County Courts Judiciary New Castle 1770 Justice of the Peace
State House Legislature Dover October 1, 1781 October 20, 1781 October 20, 1782
Continental Congress Legislature Philadelphia February 10, 1781 February 10, 1781 February 2, 1782
Continental Congress Legislature Annapolis April 8, 1784 April 8, 1784 June 3, 1784 never attended
Continental Congress Legislature New York November 4, 1785 November 7, 1785 November 3, 1786
State House Legislature Dover October 1, 1786 October 20, 1786 October 20, 1787
Continental Congress Legislature New York October 27, 1786 November 6, 1786 October 30, 1787 never attended
State House Legislature Dover October 1, 1787 October 20, 1787 October 20, 1788 Speaker
U.S. Judge Judiciary Natchez 1803 1811 Mississippi Territory

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