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Martin W. Bates

Martin W. Bates
United States Senator
from Delaware
In office
January 14, 1857 – March 3, 1859
Preceded by Joseph P. Comegys
Succeeded by Willard Saulsbury, Sr.
Personal details
Born (1786-02-24)February 24, 1786
Salisbury, Connecticut
Died January 1, 1869(1869-01-01) (aged 82)
Dover, Delaware
Political party Federalist
Spouse(s) Mary Hillyard
Residence Dover, Delaware
Profession lawyer
Religion Presbyterian

Martin Waltham Bates (February 24, 1786 – January 1, 1869) was a lawyer and politician from Dover, in Kent County, Delaware. He was a member of the Federalist Party, and then the Democratic Party, who served in the Delaware General Assembly and as U.S. Senator from Delaware.


  • Early life and family 1
  • Political career 2
  • Death and legacy 3
  • Almanac 4
  • References 5
  • External links 6

Early life and family

Bates was born in Salisbury, Connecticut. He married Mary Hillyard, the daughter of Charles Hillyard. They lived in Dover, at "Woodburn," presently the Delaware Governor's mansion, and were members of the Presbyterian Church. After moving to Delaware, Bates taught school, studied medicine and the law. He was admitted to the Bar in 1822, and practiced in Dover the remainder of his life.

Political career

Bates served in the State House in the 1826 session and was a member of the Delaware Constitutional Convention of 1852. He became U.S. Senator in 1857 when he was elected by the General Assembly to fill the vacancy caused by the death of U.S. Senator John M. Clayton, which had been briefly filled by the appointment of Joseph P. Comegys. He served only the remainder of the term, from January 14, 1857 to March 3, 1859, as he was defeated for reelection in 1858 by Willard Saulsbury, Sr.

Death and legacy

Bates died at Dover and is buried there in the Old Presbyterian Cemetery, on the grounds of the Delaware State Museum.


Elections were held the first Tuesday of October. Members of the General Assembly took office on the first Tuesday of January. State Representatives had a term of one year. The General Assembly chose the U.S. Senators, who took office March 4 for a six-year term. They also chose the delegates to the Constitutional Convention of 1852.

Public Offices
Office Type Location Began office Ended office notes
State Representative Legislature Dover January 5, 1819 January 4, 1820
State Representative Legislature Dover January 3, 1826 January 2, 1827
State Representative Legislature Dover January 2, 1827 January 1, 1828
Delegate Convention Dover 1852 1852 State Constitution
U.S. Senator Legislature Washington January 14, 1857 March 3, 1859
Delaware General Assembly service
Dates Congress Chamber Majority Governor Committees Class/District
1819 62nd State House Federalist Jacob Stout Kent at-large
1826 65th State House Federalist Charles Polk Kent at-large
1827 65th State House Federalist Charles Polk Kent at-large
United States Congressional service
Dates Congress Chamber Majority President Committees Class/District
1856–1857 34th U.S. Senate Democratic Franklin Pierce class 2
1857–1859 35th U.S. Senate Democratic James Buchanan class 2


  • Hoffecker, Carol E. (2004). Democracy in Delaware. Wilmington, DE: Cedar Tree Books.  
  • Munroe, John A. (1993). History of Delaware. Newark, DE: University of Delaware Press.  
  • Scharf, John Thomas (1888). History of Delaware 1609-1888. 2 vols. Philadelphia: L. J. Richards & Co. 
  • Martin, Roger A. (1995). Memoirs of the Senate. Newark, DE: Roger A. Martin. 

External links

  • Biographical Dictionary of the United States Congress
  • Delaware’s Members of Congress
  • Find a Grave
  • The Political Graveyard
  • Biographical Dictionary of the United States Congress; portrait courtesy of the Library of Congress.
United States Senate
Preceded by
Joseph P. Comegys
U.S. Senator (Class 2) from Delaware
January 14, 1857 – March 3, 1859
Served alongside: James A. Bayard, Jr.
Succeeded by
Willard Saulsbury, Sr.
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