Simeon S. Pennewill, Governor

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Simeon Selby Pennewill

Birthdate: (68)
Birthplace: Greenwood, Sussex, DE, USA
Death: 1935 (68)
Dover, DE, USA
Immediate Family:

Son of Simeon Pennewill and Ann Elizabeth Pennewell
Husband of Lydia Wright Pennewill and Elizabeth Pennewill
Brother of David Pennewill; James Pennewill, Chief Justice of Delaware; Mary Lydia Pennewill and Daniel Curry Pennewill

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About Simeon S. Pennewill, Governor

Simeon Selby Pennewill (July 23, 1867 – September 10, 1935) was an American farmer and politician from Dover, in Kent County, Delaware. He was a member of the Republican Party, who served in the Delaware General Assembly and as Governor of Delaware.

Early life and family

Pennewill was born near Greenwood, Delaware, son of Simeon and Ann Curry Pennewill. The elder Simeon was one of the larger peach growers and owned the land that later became the town of Greenwood. He was also active in the Republican Party and served in the Governor's Guard during the Civil War. Simeon, the younger, was educated at Wilmington Conference Academy, now Wesley College in Dover. He married, later in life, after he served as Governor, first in 1920, Lydia Wright Elder, and second in 1927, Elizabeth Halsey. There were no children by either marriage. They lived at 228 North State Street in Dover and he was a member of the Methodist Church.

Professional and political career

Pennewill inherited and continued to operate his family's peach orchards in Greenwood and Bridgeville. Pennewill was elected to two terms in the Delaware State Senate and served from the 1899/1900 session through the 1905/06 session.

Governor of Delaware

He then was elected Governor of Delaware by defeating Rowland G. Paynter, the Democratic Party candidate and served one term from January 19, 1909 until January 21, 1913. Like his predecessor, Pennewill began his career as an Addicks Republican, but was dedicated to reuniting the party.

The Delaware General Assembly at this time approved the sale of the Chesapeake and Delaware Canal to the Federal government, and passed the Boulevard Corporation Act, which provided the legal authority for T. Coleman du Pont to begin to build his privately funded highway the length of the state.

Delaware's antiquated whipping post again received embarrassing national attention. Out of state pressure forced Pennewill to reduce the number of lashings given in one sentence, but the pressure seemed to only intensify local opinion in favor of the use of the whipping post. He also made a controversial appointment to his elder brother, James Pennewill, the position of Chief Justice of Delaware. His brother served until his death 26 years later in 1935. It was during Pennewill's term that the DuPont Company lost its anti trust suit and was forced to divest itself of what became the Hercules Powder and Atlas Powder Companies.

Death and legacy

Pennewill died at Dover and is buried in the Bridgeville Methodist Cemetery at Bridgeville, Delaware.


Elections are held the first Tuesday after November 1. Members of the Delaware General Assembly take office the second Tuesday of January. State Senators have a four-year term. The Governor takes office the third Tuesday of January and has a four-year term.

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Simeon S. Pennewill, Governor's Timeline

Greenwood, Sussex, DE, USA
Age 68
Dover, DE, USA