Historical records matching William Pennington, 27th Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives
About William Pennington, 27th Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives
William Pennington (May 4, 1796 – February 16, 1862) was an American politician and lawyer, the Governor of New Jersey, and Speaker of the House during his one term in Congress.
Born in Newark, New Jersey, he graduated from the College of New Jersey (now Princeton University) in 1813 and then studied law with Theodore Frelinghuysen. He was admitted to the bar in 1817 and served as a clerk of the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey (where his father was a judge) from 1817 to 1826.
As a member of the Whig party, he was elected to the New Jersey General Assembly in 1828, and then was elected Governor of New Jersey annually from 1837 to 1843. His tenure as governor was marked by the "Broad Seal War" controversy. Following a disputed election for Congressional Representatives in New Jersey, Pennington certified the election of five Whig candidates while five Democrats were certified by the Democratic Secretary of State. After a lengthy dispute, the Democrats were eventually seated.
He was appointed Governor of Minnesota Territory by President Millard Fillmore, but declined to accept the position.
He was elected as a Republican to the 36th Congress to represent New Jersey's 5th congressional district. During his first (and only) term, he was elected Speaker of the United States House of Representatives after two months where the House was unable to reach a majority for John Sherman, the Republican candidate (the Republicans had only a plurality and the Southern Oppositionists who held the balance of power were unwilling to support either a radical Republican or a Democrat). He was an unsuccessful candidate for reelection in 1860 to the 37th Congress.
He died in Newark and was interred at Mount Pleasant Cemetery in Newark.