|Who is it?||Former Governor of Delaware|
|Birth Day||October 07, 1728|
|Birth Place||Dover, United States|
|Age||291 YEARS OLD|
|Died On||June 26, 1784(1784-06-26) (aged 55)\nKent County, Delaware|
|Preceded by||George Read|
|Succeeded by||John Dickinson|
|Resting place||Kent County, Delaware|
|Battles/wars||American Revolutionary War, French and Indian War|
Caesar Rodney was born in October 7, 1728 on his family's farm, "Byfield", on St. Jones Neck in East Dover Hundred, Kent County, Delaware. Caesar was the eldest son of eight children of Caesar and Elizabeth Crawford Rodney and grandson of william Rodney. william Rodney emigrated to the American colonies in 1681–82, along with william Penn. Speaker of the Colonial Assembly of the Delaware Counties in 1704. Rodney's mother was the daughter of the Rev. Thomas Crawford, Anglican rector of Christ Church at Dover. Among the Rodney family ancestors were the prominent Adelmare family in Treviso, Italy, as attested by genealogy studies. Byfield was an 800-acre (320 ha) prosperous farm, worked by slaves. With the addition of other adjacent properties, the Rodneys were, by the standards of the day, wealthy members of the local gentry. The plantation grew to 1,000 acres, and was worked by 200 slaves; it earned sufficient income 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.
At the age of 17 and upon the death of his father in 1746, Caesar's guardianship was entrusted to Nicholas Ridgely by the Delaware Orphan's Court.
Thomas Rodney described his brother at this time as having a "great fund of wit and humor of the pleasing kind, so that his conversation was always bright and strong and conducted by wisdom..." He always lived a bachelor, was generally esteemed, and was indeed very popular. We know he professed his love and affection for several Delaware ladies at various times, but was never a successful suitor. Accordingly, he easily moved into the political world formerly occupied by his father and guardian. At age twenty-seven in 1755, he was elected Sheriff of Kent County and served the maximum three years allowed. This was a powerful and financially rewarding position, in that it supervised elections and chose the grand jurors who set the county tax rate. After serving his three years, he was appointed to a series of positions including Register of Wills, Recorder of Deeds, Clerk of the Orphan's Court, Justice of the Peace, and judge in the lower courts. During the French and Indian War, he was commissioned captain of the Dover Hundred company in Col. John Vining's regiment of the Delaware militia. They never saw active Service. From 1769 through 1777, he was an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the Lower Counties.
Elections were held October 1 and members of the General Assembly took office on October 20 or the following weekday. The State Legislative Council was created in 1776 and its Legislative Councilmen had a three-year term. State Assemblymen had a one-year term. The whole General Assembly chose the Continental Congressmen for a one-year term and the State President for a three-year term. The county sheriff also had a three-year term. Associate Justices of the state Supreme Court were also selected by the General Assembly for the life of the person appointed.
Amidst the catastrophic events following the Battle of Brandywine, and the British occupation of Wilmington and Philadelphia, a new General Assembly was elected in October 1777. First, it promptly put Rodney and Thomas McKean back into the Continental Congress. Then, with State President John McKinly in captivity, and President George Read completely exhausted, they elected Rodney as President of Delaware on March 31, 1778. The office did not have the authority of a modern Governor in the United States, so Rodney's success came from his popularity with the General Assembly, where the real authority lay, and from the loyalty of the Delaware militia, which was the only means of enforcing that authority.
Militia from Kent County dispersed the insurrectionists. Some were sent off to serve in the Continental Army, and thirty-seven were indicted for treason in the State Supreme Court. Eight were ordered to be hanged ‘by the neck but not till you be dead, for then your bowels must be taken out and burnt before your face, then your head must be severed from your body, and your body divided into four Quarters, and these must be at the disposal of the Supreme Authority in the State. Fortunately this sentence which was customary for treason was not carried out, and all the participants were pardoned by the General Assembly on November 4, 1780.
Meanwhile, Rodney scoured the state for money, supplies and Soldiers to support the national war effort. Delaware Continentals had fought well in many battles from the Battle of Long Island to the Battle of Monmouth, but in 1780 the army suffered its worst defeat at the Battle of Camden in South Carolina. The regiment was nearly destroyed and the remnant was so reduced it could only fight with a Maryland regiment for the remainder of the war. Rodney had done much to stabilize the situation, but his health was worsening and he resigned his office November 6, 1781, just after the conclusive Battle of Yorktown.
Rodney was elected by the Delaware General Assembly to the United States Congress under the Articles of Confederation in 1782 and 1783, but was unable to attend because of ill health. However, two years after leaving the State Presidency he was elected to the 1783/84 session of the Legislative Council and, as a final gesture of respect, the Council selected him to be their Speaker. His health was now in rapid decline and even though the Legislative Council met at his home for a short time, he died before the session ended. His body is buried at an unmarked grave on his beloved farm, “Poplar Grove” (known as “Byfield” today). While there is a marker that appears to be a gravestone for Caesar Rodney at Christ Episcopal Church, this is merely a monument. Many sources cite that he is buried there, however most Delaware historians believe that the remains of one of Rodney’s unidentified relatives is buried there instead. Rodney actually is buried in an unmarked grave in his family's unmarked plot on their former 800-acre farm east of Dover Air Force Base