Joseph P. Comegys

Joseph Parsons Comegys (December 29, 1813 – February 1, 1893) was an American judge, lawyer and politician from Dover, in Kent County, Delaware. He was a member of the Whig Party and later the Democratic Party, who served in the Delaware General Assembly, as a U.S. Senator from Delaware, and later as the Chief Justice of the Delaware Supreme Court.

Joseph P. Comegys
Chief Justice of Delaware
In office
May 18, 1876 – January 26, 1893
Preceded byEdward W. Gilpin
Succeeded byAlfred P. Robinson
United States Senator
from Delaware
In office
November 19, 1856 – January 14, 1857
Preceded byJohn M. Clayton
Succeeded byMartin W. Bates
Member of the Delaware House of Representatives
In office
January 3, 1843 - January 2, 1845
January 2, 1849 - January 1, 1851
Personal details
Born(1813-12-29)December 29, 1813
Dover, Delaware
DiedFebruary 1, 1893(1893-02-01) (aged 79)
Dover, Delaware
Political partyWhig
Spouse(s)Margaret A. Douglass
ResidenceDover, Delaware

Early life and familyEdit

Comegys was born at "Cherbourg," in Kent County, Delaware, near Dover, the son of former Governor Cornelius P. Comegys and Ruhamah Marim. He attended the old academy at Dover, studied law with John M. Clayton, was admitted to the bar in 1835 and commenced practice in Dover. He married Clayton's niece, Margaret A. Douglass and had three children.

Professional and political careerEdit

Comegys was elected as a member of the State House twice, and served in the 1843/44 and 1849/50 sessions. He was also a member of the commission to revise the State Constitution in 1852. On November 19, 1856, he was appointed to the U.S. Senate, to fill the vacancy caused by the death of John M. Clayton. He did not run again, and served until January 14, 1857, when his successor was elected. After many years in private practice he was appointed chief justice of the State Supreme Court on May 18, 1876 and served until January 26, 1893, just before his death.

Death and legacyEdit

Comegys died at Dover and is buried there in the Old Presbyterian Cemetery, on the grounds of the Delaware State Museum.


  • Scharf, John Thomas (1888). History of Delaware 1609-1888. 2 vols. Philadelphia: L. J. Richards & Co.
  • Conrad, Henry C. (1908). History of the State of Delaware, 3 vols. Lancaster, Pennsylvania: Wickersham Company.



Elections are held the first Tuesday after November 1. Members of the Delaware General Assembly took office the first Tuesday of January. State Representatives have a two-year term. The General Assembly chose the U.S. Senators, who took office March 4 for a six-year term. They also chose the delegates to the Constitutional Convention of 1852.

Public Offices
Office Type Location Began office Ended office notes
State Representative Legislature Dover January 3, 1843 January 2, 1845
State Representative Legislature Dover January 2, 1849 January 1, 1851
Delegate Convention Dover 1852 1852 State Constitution
U.S. Senator Legislature Washington November 19, 1856 January 14, 1857
Supreme Court Judiciary Dover May 18, 1876 January 26, 1893 Chief Justice
Delaware General Assembly service
Dates Congress Chamber Majority Governor Committees Class/District
1843/44 62nd State House Whig William B. Cooper Kent at-large
1849/50 65th State Senate Whig William Tharp Kent at-large
United States Congressional service
Dates Congress Chamber Majority President Committees Class/District
1856–1857 34th U.S. Senate Democratic Franklin Pierce class 2

External linksEdit

U.S. Senate
Preceded by
John M. Clayton
U.S. senator from Delaware
Succeeded by
Martin W. Bates