Eli M. Saulsbury

Eli May Saulsbury (December 29, 1817 – March 22, 1893) was an American lawyer and politician from Dover, in Kent County, Delaware. He was a member of the Democratic Party, who served in the Delaware General Assembly and as U.S. Senator from Delaware.

Eli M. Saulsbury
Eli M. Saulsbury - Brady-Handy.jpg
United States Senator
from Delaware
In office
March 4, 1871 – March 3, 1889
Preceded byWillard Saulsbury Sr.
Succeeded byAnthony Higgins
Member of the Delaware House of Representatives
In office
Personal details
Born(1817-12-29)December 29, 1817
Kent County, Delaware
DiedMarch 22, 1893(1893-03-22) (aged 75)
Dover, Delaware
Political partyDemocratic
Residence(s)Dover, Delaware
Alma materDickinson College

Early life and familyEdit

Saulsbury was born in Mispillion Hundred, Kent County, Delaware, son of William & Margaret Ann Smith Saulsbury. He was the middle brother of Governor Gove Saulsbury and U.S. Senator Willard Saulsbury Sr. Saulsbury was educated at Dickinson College, studied law, was admitted to the Delaware Bar in 1857, and began his practice in Dover, Delaware, where he lived.

Political careerEdit

Saulsbury served one term in the State House, during the 1853/54 session. In 1871 he successfully challenged his younger brother, incumbent U.S. Senator Willard Saulsbury Sr., for his seat in the U.S. Senate. He went on to win three full terms but was defeated in an attempt for a fourth term by Republican candidate Anthony Higgins. He was in office from March 4, 1871, until March 3, 1889, and served on the Committee on Privileges and Elections in the 46th Congress, and the Committee on Engrossed Bills in the 47th Congress through the 50th Congress.

He opposed Civil Rights for African Americans in 1873.[1]

Death and legacyEdit

Saulsbury died at Dover and is buried there in the Silver Lake Cemetery.


Elections are held the first week of November. Members of the Delaware General Assembly take office the first week of January. The State House has a term of two years. The General Assembly chose the U.S. Senators, who took office March 4 for a six-year term.

Public Offices
Office Type Location Began office Ended office notes
State Representative Legislature Dover January 4, 1853 January 2, 1855
U.S. Senator Legislature Washington March 4, 1871 March 3, 1877
U.S. Senator Legislature Washington March 4, 1877 March 3, 1883
U.S. Senator Legislature Washington March 4, 1883 March 3, 1889
Delaware General Assembly service
Dates Congress Chamber Majority Governor Committees Class/District
1853/54 67th State House Democratic William H.H. Ross Kent at-large
United States Congressional service
Dates Congress Chamber Majority President Committees Class/District
1871–1873 42nd U.S. Senate Republican Ulysses S. Grant class 2
1873–1875 43rd U.S. Senate Republican Ulysses S. Grant class 2
1875–1877 44th U.S. Senate Republican Ulysses S. Grant class 2
1877–1879 45th U.S. Senate Republican Rutherford B. Hayes class 2
1879–1881 46th U.S. Senate Democratic Rutherford B. Hayes class 2
1881–1883 47th U.S. Senate Democratic James A. Garfield
Chester A. Arthur
class 2
1883–1885 48th U.S. Senate Republican Chester A. Arthur class 2
1885–1887 49th U.S. Senate Republican Grover Cleveland class 2
1887–1889 50th U.S. Senate Republican Grover Cleveland class 2


  1. ^ Friedlander, Alan; Gerber, Richard Allan (22 November 2018). Welcoming Ruin: The Civil Rights Act of 1875. ISBN 9789004384071.
  • Hoffecker, Carol E. (2004). Democracy in Delaware. Cedar Tree Books, Wilmington. ISBN 1-892142-23-6.
  • Munroe, John A. (1993). History of Delaware. University of Delaware Press. ISBN 0-87413-493-5.
  • Scharf, John Thomas. (1888). History of Delaware 1609-1888. 2 vols. L. J. Richards & Co., Philadelphia.
  • Conrad, Henry C. (1908). History of the State of Delaware, 3 vols. Lancaster, Pennsylvania: Wickersham Company.


External linksEdit

Places with more informationEdit

U.S. Senate
Preceded by U.S. senator (Class 2) from Delaware
March 4, 1871 – March 3, 1889
Served alongside: Thomas F. Bayard, George Gray
Succeeded by