James Ponder

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia - View original article

James Ponder
Governor of Delaware
In office
January 17, 1871 – January 19, 1875
Preceded byGove Saulsbury
Succeeded byJohn P. Cochran
Personal details
Born(1819-10-31)October 31, 1819
Milton, Delaware
DiedNovember 5, 1897(1897-11-05) (aged 78)
Milton, Delaware
Political partyDemocratic
Spouse(s)Sallie Waples
ResidenceMilton, Delaware
Occupationmerchant
ReligionEpiscopalian
 
Jump to: navigation, search
James Ponder
Governor of Delaware
In office
January 17, 1871 – January 19, 1875
Preceded byGove Saulsbury
Succeeded byJohn P. Cochran
Personal details
Born(1819-10-31)October 31, 1819
Milton, Delaware
DiedNovember 5, 1897(1897-11-05) (aged 78)
Milton, Delaware
Political partyDemocratic
Spouse(s)Sallie Waples
ResidenceMilton, Delaware
Occupationmerchant
ReligionEpiscopalian

James Ponder (October 31, 1819 – November 5, 1897) was an American merchant and politician from Milton, in Sussex County, Delaware. He was a member of the Democratic Party, who served in the Delaware General Assembly and as Governor of Delaware.

Contents

Early life and family

Ponder was born near Milton, Delaware, son of John and Hester Milby Ponder. He married Sallie Waples in 1851 and had four children: Ida, John, James Waples, and Anna. They lived at 414 Federal Street and were members of St. John the Baptist Episcopal Church in Milton. He inherited his father’s business and expanded it into shipbuilding, agriculture, and banking.

Professional and political career

Ponder was elected to the State House for the 1857/58 session and then to the State Senate for the 1865/66 and 1867/68 sessions. He was Speaker during the 1867/68 session. In 1870 he was elected Governor of Delaware, defeating the Republican candidate, Thomas Boone Coursey. He served from January 17, 1871 until January 19, 1875.

The election of 1870 was the first opportunity for African-Americans to vote in Delaware elections, and Ponder’s tenure was marred by an ongoing response to this change. Ponder himself was in no way sympathetic, saying to the General Assembly that the Federal government was wrong in extending the franchise to “uneducated Negroes.” The 1870 election featured rigged voter lists that effectively denied the vote to most African-Americans, and resulted in all the seats in the General Assembly going to the Democratic Party. Two years later, in response, U.S. President Ulysses S. Grant sent in federal troops to police the elections, winning a few elections for Republicans, but undoubtedly prolonging the bitterness felt towards the federal government and their Republican followers in Delaware. The immediate result was the passage of a poll tax and the “Assessment Act of 1873,” that effectively allowed tax collectors the ability to remove people from voter list, allegedly for not paying their taxes, and made it enormously complicated for the voter to have their name restored.

Ponder’s term also featured the expansion of state offices into all of what is now known as the “old State House,” and a thorough going restoration that included the first installation of heating and gas lights. The most controversial action of the term was Ponder’s appointment of his brother-in-law, former U.S. Senator Willard Saulsbury[disambiguation needed] as Chancellor of Delaware. Saulsbury had left the Senate as a disgraced alcoholic, and promised Ponder he would change his ways if he was appointed. Evidently Saulsbury kept his promise.


Delaware General Assembly
(sessions while Governor)
YearAssemblySenate MajoritySpeakerHouse MajoritySpeaker
1871–187276thDemocraticCharles GoodingDemocraticSewell C. Biggs
1873–187477thDemocraticAllen V. LeslieDemocraticJoseph Burchenal

Death and legacy

Ponder died at Milton and is buried there in the Methodist Episcopal Cemetery.

Almanac

Elections are held the first Tuesday after November 1. Members of the Delaware 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.


Public Offices
OfficeTypeLocationBegan officeEnded officenotes
State RepresentativeLegislatureDoverJanuary 6, 1857January 6, 1859
State SenatorLegislatureDoverJanuary 6, 1865January 6, 1869
GovernorExecutiveDoverJanuary 17, 1871January 19, 1875


Delaware General Assembly service
DatesAssemblyChamberMajorityGovernorCommitteesDistrict
1856–185769thState HouseDemocraticPeter F. CauseySussex at-large
1865–186673rdState HouseDemocraticGove SaulsburySussex at-large
1867–186874thState HouseDemocraticGove SaulsburySpeakerSussex at-large


Election results
YearOfficeSubjectPartyVotes%OpponentPartyVotes%
1870GovernorJames PonderDemocratic11,46456%Thomas B. CourseyRepublican9,13044%

References

Images

External links

Places with more information