Samuel White (American politician)

Samuel White (December 1770 – November 4, 1809) was an American lawyer and politician from Wilmington, in New Castle County, Delaware. He was a member of the Federalist Party, who served as U.S. Senator from Delaware.

Samuel White
Samuel White US.jpg
United States Senator
from Delaware
In office
February 28, 1801 – November 4, 1809
Preceded byHenry Latimer
Succeeded byOuterbridge Horsey[1]
Personal details
BornDecember 1770
Kent County, Delaware Colony
DiedNovember 4, 1809(1809-11-04) (aged 38)
Wilmington, Delaware
Political partyFederalist
Residence(s)Wilmington, Delaware
Alma materCokesbury College

Early life and familyEdit

White was born December 1770, in Mispillion Hundred, Kent County, Delaware, near Harrington, close to Whitesburg, the son of Judge Thomas White. The future Methodist Bishop, Francis Asbury, hid in this house during the Revolutionary War years of 1778 to 1780. Methodists were generally suspected of being Loyalists, and Thomas White was arrested on this charge. While in the White home, Asbury developed many of the ideas that would shape the future of American Methodism.[2] Converted by Asbury, the previously devout Anglican family became members of the Methodist Church.

Samuel White was admitted to the Delaware Bar in 1793 after graduating from Cokesbury College in Maryland. White served two years as a captain in the United States Army and was named adjutant general of Delaware in 1803.

White's father, Judge Thomas White, was a member of the colonial Maryland legislature, the Delaware House of Assembly, the Chief Justice of the Kent County Court of Common Pleas, and delegate to the Delaware Constitutional Conventions of 1776 and 1792.

Political careerEdit

Upon the resignation of Dr. Henry Latimer in 1801, White was chosen as U.S. Senator. He was then elected for full terms of his own in 1802 and 1808, and would serve as a Senator from February 28, 1801 until his death November 4, 1809.

White strongly opposed slavery, but was especially known for his opposition to the Louisiana Purchase. He is quoted as saying "When I contemplate the evils that may arise to these States, from this intended incorporation of Louisiana into the Union, I would rather see it given to France, or to Spain, or to any other nation ... upon the mere condition that no citizen of the United States should ever settle within its limits ..."[3]

"During the U.S. Senate trial of Timothy Pickering in 1809, on the charge of the embezzlement of public funds, White defended him in the words: 'The accused is not in default, but under the awful visitation of God: and, as he is deranged, our proceedings scarcely deserve the name of a mock trial.' Wilson Cary Nicholas, then congressman from Virginia, called out: 'I will not submit to hear our proceedings called by the name of a mock trial." Whereupon White at once replied: "It is a mock trial, and I am ready to give the gentleman, if he is offended, satisfaction at any time or place.' The sentiment in favor of dueling was so strong at that time that it does not appear on the records that the president of the senate administered any rebuke to the contestants. Mr. White had a national reputation as a marksman, and performed remarkable feats in shooting." By the time of his last session in the U.S. Congress he was one of only a very few Federalists still in office.

Death and legacyEdit

White died at Wilmington and is buried there in the Old Swedes Episcopal Church Cemetery.


The General Assembly chose the U.S. Senators, who took office March 4 for a six-year term. In this case he was initially completing the existing term, the vacancy caused by the resignation of Henry Latimer.

Public Offices
Office Type Location Began office Ended office notes
U.S. Senator Legislature Washington February 28, 1801 March 3, 1801
U.S. Senator Legislature Washington March 4, 1801 March 3, 1803
U.S. Senator Legislature Washington March 4, 1803 March 3, 1809
U.S. Senator Legislature Washington March 4, 1809 November 4, 1809
United States Congressional service
Dates Congress Chamber Majority President Committees Class/District
1799–1801 6th U.S. Senate Federalist John Adams class 1
1801–1803 7th U.S. Senate Republican Thomas Jefferson class 1
1803–1805 8th U.S. Senate Republican Thomas Jefferson class 1
1805–1807 9th U.S. Senate Republican Thomas Jefferson class 1
1807–1809 10th U.S. Senate Republican Thomas Jefferson class 1
1809–1811 11th U.S. Senate Republican James Madison class 1

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ this seat was vacant from November 4, 1809 until January 12, 1810.
  2. ^ State of Delaware; Home of Judge Thomas White, Refuge of Francis Asbury.
  3. ^ Miller, Char (2013-02-13). "What Do the L.A. Freeway System and the Lewis and Clark Expedition Have in Common? It's All in the Numbers". KCET. Retrieved 2019-04-26.


  • Conrad, Henry Clay. (1903). Samuel White and his Father, Judge Thomas White. Wilmington, DE: Dictionary of American Biography.
  • Munroe, John A. (1954). Federalist Delaware 1775-1815. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University.

External linksEdit

Places with more informationEdit

U.S. Senate
Preceded by U.S. senator from Delaware
Succeeded by