Bullet-Point Bio: Caesar Rodney

-Caesar Rodney was born in October 1728 and was the eldest of eight children.  At the age of 17, though, Rodney’s father died and his guardianship was handed over to the Delaware Orphan’s Court.

-Rodney began his education at age thirteen and ended at the age of seventeen, when his father died. He attended the Latin School in Philadelphia.

-For his entire adult life, Rodney suffered from facial cancer and underwent many surgeries and treatments. He also suffered from bad asthma as well.

-Rodney remained a bachelor his entire life but was known for great wit.  His brother, Thomas Rodney, said the following of him: “He had a great fund of wit and humor of the pleasing kind, so that his conversation was always bright and strong and conducted by wisdom”.

-In 1755, he was elected Sheriff of the Kent County and served three years.

-During the French and Indian War he was commissioned as the captain of the Dover Hundred Company in the Delaware militia, though they never saw active service.

-Then, from 1769-1777, he was an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the Lower Counties.

-Rodney joined as a delegate to the Stamp Act Congress in 1765, along with Thomas McKean, and became the leader of the Delaware Committee of Correspondence. He served several times as Speaker.

-Rodney served from 1774-1776 in the Continental Congress.  He was in Sussex County when he heard that there was deadlock on the vote for independence.  To break that, he rode 70 miles and arrived in Philadelphia to vote with McKean, which allowed Delaware to join 11 other states in voting in favor of independence.

-Rodney signed the Declaration of Independence on August 2.

-Rodney served as the major-general of the Delaware militia after the death of John Haslet.  He protected the state from military intrusions by the British and controlled the loyalist activities happening in the area.

-Rodney was elected to the United States Congress but was forced to decline because of poor health.  He did serve as Speaker of the Upper House of the Delaware Assembly.

-Caesar Rodney died in June 1784 and is buried in an unmarked grave on his farm, Poplar Grove.


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