Judge Thomas Rodney, Colonel

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Judge Thomas Rodney, Colonel

Also Known As: ""Tommy""
Birthdate: (67)
Birthplace: Dover, Kent County, Delaware, United States
Death: 1811 (66)
Jefferson County, Mississippi, United States
Place of Burial: Washington, Adams County, Mississippi, United States
Immediate Family:

Son of Caesar Rodney, Sr and Elizabeth Mary Rodney
Husband of Elizabeth Maud Rodney
Father of Caesar A. Rodney, U.S. Senator and Attorney General and Lavinia Fisher
Brother of Caesar Rodney, signer of the "Declaration of Independence"; William Rodney; Mary Gordon; George Rodney and Elizabeth Rodney

Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:

About Judge Thomas Rodney, Colonel

Colonel in the American Revolutionary War DAR# A097963


Thomas "Tommy" Rodney (June 4, 1744 – January 2, 1811) was an American lawyer and politician from Jones Neck in St. Jones Hundred, Kent County, Delaware and Natchez, Mississippi. He was a Continental Congressman from Delaware, and a member of the Democratic-Republican Party who served in the Delaware General Assembly, as Justice of the Delaware Supreme Court, and as federal judge for the Mississippi Territory. He was the younger brother of Caesar Rodney, Revolutionary President of Delaware.

Family and early life

Rodney Family Wiki

Rodney was born June 4, 1744 at Byfield, his family's farm at Jones Neck, in Dover Hundred, Kent County, Delaware. It is just north of John Dickinson's mansion, Poplar Hall. He was the son of Caesar and Mary Crawford Rodney, and grandson of William Rodney, who came to America in the 1680s and had been Speaker of the Colonial Assembly of the Lower Counties in 1704. His mother was the daughter of the Rev. Thomas Crawford, Anglican priest at Dover. Byfield was an 800-acre (3.2 km2) farm, worked by a small number of slaves, and with the addition of other adjacent properties, the Rodney's were, by the standards of the day, wealthy members of the local gentry. Sufficient income was earned from the sale of wheat and barley to the Philadelphia and West Indies market to provide enough cash and leisure to allow members of the family to participate in the social and political life of Kent County. Rodney's father died in 1745, when he was an infant and his much older brother, Caesar Rodney became much involved in his rearing and education.

Political career

Rodney was very active in local politics, as well as the broader range of those elements affecting Delaware as whole. As early as 1740 he was a Justice of the Peace for Kent County and through the years he held many other local offices. He was a Colonel in the county's militia, and was involved in a number of actions during the American Revolutionary War.

In 1774 Thomas was a delegate to the state convention that elected his brother Caesar to be their delegate to the Continental Congress. Caesar went on to sign the Declaration of Independence. Meanwhile, Thomas was named to the state's Committee of Safety. Thomas in turn was sent as a delegate to the Congress in 1781 and 1782. He was elected to the Congress annually from 1785 to 1787, but attended sessions only in 1786. Through these same years Thomas was also a member to Delaware's state Assembly, and served as its Speaker of the House in 1787.

On December 17, 1802 Rodney became an associate justice of Delaware's Supreme Court. He would serve only until August 1803. He resigned since President Jefferson appointed him as the chief justice for the Mississippi Territory. He bought land in what was then Jefferson County, Mississippi and moved to Natchez to assume his new duties as the senior federal judge for the Mississippi Territory from 1803 to 1811.

Death and legacy

Thomas Rodney died January 2, 1811, at Natchez, Mississippi. The community of Rodney, in Jefferson County, Mississippi is named in his honor. His son, Caesar A. Rodney, served as the U.S. Representative from Delaware, U.S. Senator from Delaware, U.S. Attorney General and U.S. Minister to Argentina.

Public offices

At this time Delaware elections were held the first of October. Members of the House of Assembly took office on the twentieth day of October for a term of one year. Seven Assemblymen were elected, at large, from each county. The General Assembly chose the Continental Congressmen for a term of one year.

Find a Grave

Founded Wilmington, Mississippi Source

Thomas Rodney was Colonel of the Kent County Militia of Delaware during the war of the Revolution, and was a delegate to the Continental Congress, which he served for most of that period.

He was subsequently Speaker of the Delaware Assembly. He was appointed Judge of the Mississippi Territory by President Jefferson, and founded the town of Wilmington, Miss.

Colonel Thomas Rodney was a learned and very scientific man, and well read in the law, which, however, he never practised, caring more than anything else for his books.

He possessed a History of the Rodney Family written by Sir Edward Rodney in 1657, recording their genealogy from 1135.

During the Revolution, Colonel Thomas Rodney kept a diary, and under date of Dec. 19, 1776, when he was in Philadelphia, is found the following entry : " This morning I went to see Joshua Fisher's family, who is uncle to my wife but are Quakers and very great Tories. They seemed glad to see me, were all extremely cheerful, said that the contest would soon be over now, that the British would be in town in a day or two, and invited me to sup at Thomas Fisher's that evening, which I accepted and accordingly went. Thomas, Samuel and Miers Fisher all supped there with me." Colonel Rodney then goes on to relate how the Fishers tried to convert him to the cause of the English, and continues : " I answered them by pointing out those circum- stances that were still favorable to America, and concluded by assuring them that I should not change my determination, that I knew my business, and should not return until the British were beaten, but they treated this as levity and concluded that I was an obstinate man and must be left to take my own way."

- William Rodney, grandfather of Colonel Thomas Rodney, and of his brother, Csesar Rodney the Signer, was a merchant of Bristol, England, b. in 1652, and m. a daughter of Sir Thomas Cnasar, of London. He emigrated to America in 1682, with "William Penn. He located first at Lewes, Del., and became Sheriff of Sussex county. He was a member of both the Gov- ernor's Council and of the Assembly, of which latter body he was said to be the best speaker of the day.

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Judge Thomas Rodney, Colonel's Timeline

June 4, 1744
Dover, Kent County, Delaware, United States
January 4, 1772
Age 27
Wilmington, DE, USA
January 16, 1775
Age 30
Age 66
Jefferson County, Mississippi, United States
Washington, Adams County, Mississippi, United States