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Caesar Rodney


The New Delaware Quarter
Courtesy of the U.S. Mint
   Caesar Rodney, the first of the delegation from Delaware, was a native of that state, and was born about the year 1730. His birth-place was Dover. The family, from which he was descended, was of ancient date, and is honorably spoken of in the history of early times. We read of Sir Walter De Rodeney, of Sir George De Rodeney, and Sir Henry De Rodeney, with several others of the same name, even earlier than the year 1234. Sir Richard De Rodeney accompanied the gallant Richard Coeur de Lion in his crusade to the Holy Land, where he fell, while fighting at the siege of Acre.

   In subsequent years, the wealth and power of the family continued to be great. Intermarriages took place between some of the members of it, and several illustrious and noble families of England. During the civil wars, about the time of the commonwealth, the family became considerably reduced, and its members were obliged to seek their fortunes in new employments, and in distant countries. Soon after the settlement of Pennsylvania by William Penn, William Rodney, one of the descendants of this illustrious family removed to that province and after a short residence in Philadelphia, settled in Kent, a county upon the Delaware. This gentleman died in the year 1708, leaving a considerable fortune, and eight children, the eldest of whom is the subject of the following sketch. Mr. Rodney inherited from his father a large landed estate, which was entailed upon him, according to the usages of distinguished families at that day. At the early age of twenty-eight years, such was his popularity, he was appointed high sheriff in the county in which he resided, and on the expiration of his term of service, he was created a justice of the peace, and a judge of the lower courts. In 1762, and perhaps at a still earlier date, he represented the county of Kent in the provincial legislature. In this station he entered with great zeal and activity into the prominent measures of the day. In the year 1765, the first general congress was assembled, as is well known, at New-York, to consult upon the measures which were necessary to be adopted in consequence of the stamp act, and other oppressive acts of the British government. To this Congress, Mr. Rodney, Mr. M'Kean, and Mr. Kollock, were unanimously appointed by the provincial assembly of Delaware to represent that province. On their return from New-York, they reported to the assembly their proceedings, under the instructions which they had received. For the faithful and judicious discharge of the trust reposed in them, the assembly unanimously tendered them their thanks, and voted them a liberal compensation.

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Last modified January 1, 2004