World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

William Temple (governor)

Article Id: WHEBN0002630900
Reproduction Date:

Title: William Temple (governor)  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Joseph Maull, William Tharp, Templeville, Maryland, Political party strength in Delaware, Pierre S. du Pont IV
Collection: 1814 Births, 1863 Deaths, 18Th-Century American Episcopalians, Burials in Kent County, Delaware, Businesspeople from Delaware, Delaware Democrats, Delaware State Senators, Democratic Party Members of the United States House of Representatives, Governors of Delaware, Members of the Delaware House of Representatives, Members of the United States House of Representatives from Delaware, People from Kent County, Delaware, People of Delaware in the American Civil War, Whig Party State Governors of the United States
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

William Temple (governor)

William Temple
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Delaware's At-large district
In office
March 4, 1863 – May 28, 1863
Preceded by George P. Fisher
Succeeded by Nathaniel B. Smithers
35th Governor of Delaware
In office
May 6, 1846 – January 19, 1847
Preceded by Joseph Maull
Succeeded by William Tharp
Personal details
Born (1814-02-28)February 28, 1814
Queen Anne's County, Maryland
Died May 28, 1863(1863-05-28) (aged 49)
Smyrna, Delaware
Political party Whig
Spouse(s) Sarah Ann Ringgold
Residence Smyrna, Delaware
Occupation merchant
Religion Episcopalian

William Temple (February 28, 1814 – May 28, 1863) was an American merchant and politician from Smyrna, in Kent County, Delaware. He was a member of the Whig Party, and later the Democratic Party, who served in the Delaware General Assembly, as Governor of Delaware, and as U.S. Representative from Delaware. He is the youngest governor to serve in Delaware in all of its history.


  • Early life and family 1
  • Delaware politics 2
  • Governor of Delaware 3
  • Civil War 4
  • Death and legacy 5
  • Almanac 6
  • Notes 7
  • References 8
  • Images 9
  • External links 10

Early life and family

Temple was born in

United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
George P. Fisher
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Delaware's at-large congressional district

Succeeded by
Nathaniel B. Smithers
Political offices
Preceded by
Joseph Maull
Governor of Delaware
Succeeded by
William Tharp
  • Biographical Directory of the Governors of the United States
  • Biographical Directory of the United States Congress
  • Delaware’s Governors
  • Find a Grave
  • The Political Graveyard
  • Delaware Historical Society; website
  • University of Delaware; Library website

External links

  • Hall of Governors Portrait Gallery; Portrait courtesy of Historical and Cultural Affairs, Dover.


  • Conrad, Henry C. (1908). History of the State of Delaware. Lancaster, Pennsylvania: Wickersham Company. 
  • Hancock, Harold Bell (1961). Delaware During the Civil War. Wilmington, Delaware:  
  • Martin, Roger A. (1984). A History of Delaware Through its Governors. Wilmington, Delaware: McClafferty Press. 
  • Martin, Roger A. (1995). Memoirs of the Senate. Newark, Delaware: Roger A. Martin. 
  • Martin, Roger A. (2003). Delawareans in Congress. Middletown, Delaware: Roger A. Martin.  
  • Scharf, John Thomas (1888). History of Delaware 1609-1888. 2 vols. Philadelphia: L. J. Richards & Co.  
  • Wilson, Emerson. (1969). Forgotten Heroes of Delaware. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Deltos Publishing Company. p. 129. 


  1. ^ History of the State of Delaware, Conrad, Henry C., p. 840
  2. ^ Dean E. Nelson (April 1979). "National Register of Historic Places Inventory/Nomination: Smyrna Historic District" (PDF). National Park Service. 


Election results
Year Office Subject Party Votes % Opponent Party Votes %
1862 U.S. Representative William Temple Democratic 8,051 50% George P. Fisher Republican 8,014 50%
United States Congressional service
Dates Congress Chamber Majority President Committees Class/District
1863–1864 38th U.S. House Republican Abraham Lincoln at-large
Delaware General Assembly service
Dates Assembly Chamber Majority Governor Committees District
1845–1846 63rd State House Whig Thomas Stockton Speaker Kent at-large
1849–1850 65th State Senate Whig William Tharp Kent at-large
1851–1852 66th State Senate Whig William H. H. Ross Kent at-large
1853–1854 67th State Senate Whig William H. H. Ross Kent at-large
Public Offices
Office Type Location Began office Ended office notes
State Representative Legislature Dover January 7, 1845 May 6, 1846
Governor Executive Dover May 6, 1846 January 19, 1847 acting
State Senator Legislature Dover January 2, 1849 January 4, 1853
State Senator Legislature Dover January 4, 1853 January 2, 1855
U.S. Representative Legislature Washington March 4, 1863 May 28, 1863
Delaware General Assembly
(sessions while Governor)
Year Assembly Senate Majority Speaker House Majority Speaker
1845–1846 63rd Whig vacant Whig vacant

Elections are held the first Tuesday after November 1. Members of the General Assembly took office the first Tuesday of January. State Senators have a four-year term and State Representatives have a two-year term. The Governor takes office the third Tuesday of January and has a four-year term. U.S. Representatives took office March 4 and have a two-year term.


His house at Smyrna is a contributing property in the Smyrna Historic District.[2]

"He was emphatically a man of the world, possessing those rare qualities calculated to win every man and repel none. Frank, generous, familiar and courteous, he possessed the key to unlock the hearts of men and blend their interests with his in the prosecution of the public interest. Certainly he was a very pure minded, honorable man, a man of soul and feeling, a friend of all and a great help to many in times of need." [1]

Temple died at Smyrna. He is buried in the St. Peter's Episcopal Church Cemetery. The grave was unmarked until 1979 when a stone was placed where he is believed to have been buried. The plaque on the stone simply reads, "William Temple 1814-1863 Legislator Elected to Congress Governor of Delaware 1846-1847". His grandson, William G. Temple, was an ordained priest in the Roman Catholic Church and was the first priest at St. Elizabeth's Parish in Wilmington. An obituary reads:

Death and legacy

After the election of Secretary of State when Temple was Governor. Now Fisher was convinced that there were various schemes being planned to prevent a legitimate election. Accordingly, he requested that Abraham Lincoln leave the Delaware troops in the U.S. Army home until after the election, and that he send additional Federal troops to supervise the polls on election day. The Democrats were outraged and managed to narrowly elect Temple and a majority in the General Assembly, although losing the Governorship. While officially a member of the U.S. House from March 4, 1863, Temple died before the December convening of the House, and consequently never actually served. He was forty-nine years old. In a subsequent special election, Republican Nathaniel B. Smithers won the seat due to a Democratic Party boycott of the election in protest of the continuing presence of Federal troops at the polling places.

Following his time as Governor, he was elected to the Delaware Senate and served in three sessions, from the 1849/50 session through the 1853/54 session. With the demise of the Whig Party, he was too conservative to support the agenda of Stephen A. Douglas, but too fearful of disunion to support the Republican Party or the eventual candidacy of John C. Breckenridge. In the election of 1860 he sought the elusive middle ground, and was one of the Delaware leaders of the short lived Constitutional Union Party. This party supported the right of each state to decide the slavery question, but argued that somehow that right could be preserved within the Union.

Civil War

As a successful and popular conservative businessman, Temple reflected the majority views well. Temple was elected to the State House in the fall of 1844. He became Speaker in January 1846. After the successive deaths in office of the elected Governor, Thomas Stockton, and his constitutional successor, the Speaker of the State Senate, Joseph Maull, Temple surprisingly became Governor himself on May 6, 1846, the third Governor in two years. At 32 years of age, he was the youngest Delaware Governor ever and only served the remainder of the term, until January 19, 1847. No sooner had he inherited the job than he received a call from President James K. Polk to raise troops for the Mexican-American War. Much of his short tenure was spent on this task.

Governor of Delaware

Throughout the 19th century Delaware politics was characterized by a conservative down state, agrarian and small business majority, in opposition to a Wilmington based industrialist minority. This majority was led into the Whig Party by John M. Clayton, but when that party broke up over the issue of slavery, generally moved over to a conservative Democratic Party. As the sectional issues intensified with the coming of the Civil War, this majority became impossibly conflicted between its certain loyalty to the Union and its equally certain view that decisions about property, including slaves, belonged with the states. The result was first an effort by many to find a non-existent middle ground, and then, with a much diminished majority, entry into constant and bitter conflict with the Republican minority centered in Wilmington and supported by the Federal government.

Delaware politics
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from World eBook Library are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.