Caesar Rodney

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Founding Fathers
Caesar Rodney
State Delaware
Religion Christian- Episcopalian [1]
Founding Documents Declaration of Independence

Caesar Rodney (October 7, 1728 – June 26, 1784) was a delegate to the Continental Congress from Delaware and a signer to the Declaration of Independence. Rodney served in the Delaware state militia during the French and Indian War and the Revolution. Rodney was sick towards the end of his life and was afflicted with painful and disfiguring skin cancer. Although he had left the Congress due to ill-health, he returned so that the Delaware delegation would have a majority favoring independence. Caesar Rodney is fondly remembered by all Americans and especially by citizens of Delaware. The state quarter depicts Caesar Rodney riding back to Philadelphia to cast the crucial vote for independence.

Early life

Caesar Rodney, the eldest son of Caesar and grandson of William Rodney, was born in St. Jones' Neck, near Dover, in Kent county, Delaware, in 1728. Left an orphan at the age of seventeen, he selected Nicholas Ridgely, Esquire, to be his guardian at an Orphans' Court held in Dover on February 27, 1745- This early step had a most fortunate influence upon his moral and intellectual training, for he was brought into the family and under the influence of an intelligent, honorable and upright man who wisely nursed his estate, carefully supervised his education and took an affectionate interest in his welfare.[2] Throughout his life, Rodney battled with severe asthma.[3]


Caesar Rodney was a prominent member of the Stamp Act Congress and often worked together on measures with his close friend Thomas McKean.[4] While a member of the Congress, he served as Speaker of that body.[5]

Rodney is best remembered for his famous horseback ride in order to vote for Interdependence from Britain. He rode nearly 70 miles through the night from St. Jones' Neck to Philadelphia, while a heavy rain storm was coming through the area.[6]

Caesar Rodney was elected as the Fourth President of Delaware in the winter of 1778 and served as president until January, 1782. Caesar Rodney was for many years a member of the Continental Congress, a Major-General in the Revolutionary War, several times a member of the Assembly and Speaker of the Council of the State and altogether possibly the leading man of the Revolutionary period in Delaware.[7]


He died at his residence, at Poplar Grove, in the same neighborhood he grew up in, on the 26th of June, 1784, in the 57th year of his age.