Gunning Bedford Jr.

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Gunning Bedford Jr.
Gunning bedford jr.jpg
Judge of the United States District Court for the District of Delaware
In office
September 26, 1789 – March 30, 1812
Appointed byGeorge Washington
Preceded bySeat established by 1 Stat. 73
Succeeded byJohn Fisher
Delegate to the Continental Congress from Delaware
In office
October 26, 1784 – October 27, 1786
In office
February 1, 1783 – April 8, 1784
Personal details
Born
Gunning Bedford Jr.

1747 (1747)
Philadelphia,
Province of Pennsylvania,
British America
DiedMarch 30, 1812(1812-03-30) (aged 64–65)
Wilmington, Delaware
Resting placeWilmington and Brandywine Cemetery
Wilmington, Delaware
RelativesGunning Bedford Sr.
EducationPrinceton University
read law

Gunning Bedford Jr. (1747 – March 30, 1812) was a delegate to the Congress of the Confederation (Continental Congress), Attorney General of Delaware, a delegate to the Constitutional Convention in 1787 which drafted the United States Constitution, a signer of the United States Constitution and a United States District Judge of the United States District Court for the District of Delaware.

Education and career[edit]

Coat of Arms of Gunning Bedford, Jr.

Bedorf was born in 1747, in Philadelphia, Province of Pennsylvania, British America,[1] the fifth of eleven children[2] to a wealthy family.[3] He graduated from the College of New Jersey (now Princeton University) on September 25, 1771, with honors, as a classmate of James Madison[4][5][6] and read law[1] with Joseph Read[citation needed] in New York[citation needed] in 1779.[1] He was admitted to the Delaware bar and entered private practice in Dover, Delaware from 1779 to 1783.[7] He was a delegate to the Congress of the Confederation (Continental Congress) from 1783 to 1785.[1] He was Attorney General of Delaware from April 26, 1784, to September 26, 1789.[1][7] He was appointed a commissioner to the Annapolis Convention in September 1786, but did not attend.[7] He was a delegate to the Constitutional Convention in 1787, which drafted the United States Constitution[1] and was a signer of the Constitution.[7] He was a member of the Delaware convention which ratified the Constitution in 1787.[7] He was a member of the Delaware Legislative Council (now the Delaware Senate) in 1788.[1]

American Revolutionary War service[edit]

On July 17, 1775, the Second Continental Congress resolved to elect Bedford to Deputy-Muster-General for New York in the Continental Army, during the American Revolutionary War.[8] On February 28, 1776, he was assigned to the northern army in Canada to muster troops there monthly.[8] On June 18, 1776, he was promoted to Muster-master-general and assigned to New York.[8] He served briefly as an aide to General George Washington.[2]

Constitutional Convention[edit]

During the Constitutional Convention of 1787, Bedford's threat, "the small ones would find some foreign ally of more honor and good faith, who will take them by the hand and do them justice" was shouted down as treasonous by the other delegates.[9]

Federal judicial service[edit]

Bedford was nominated by President George Washington on September 24, 1789, to the United States District Court for the District of Delaware, to a new seat authorized by 1 Stat. 73.[1] He was confirmed by the United States Senate on September 26, 1789, and received his commission the same day.[1] His service terminated on March 30, 1812, due to his death in Wilmington, Delaware.[1]

Abolitionist[edit]

In his home state of Delaware, Bedford was a leading advocate for the abolition of slavery.[10]

Family[edit]

Bedford was a cousin of Gunning Bedford Sr., a Governor of Delaware.[7] In late 1772, or early 1773, Bedford married Jane Ballareau Parker, the daughter of James Parker, a printer who had learned his trade from Benjamin Franklin.[4] He had 5 children, none of whom married.[citation needed] In 1793, he purchased from William Robison Lombardy Hall on 250 acres in Brandywine Hundred.[11][12]

Death and legacy[edit]

Gunning Bedford Jr. Memorial at Wilmington and Brandywine Cemetery
Close Up of Gunning Bedford Jr. Memorial
Close up of plaque at base of Gunning Bedford, Jr. Memorial

He was interred first in the Presbyterian Cemetery in Wilmington.[13] This cemetery is now the location of the Wilmington Institute Library and his remains were then moved to the Masonic Home Cemetery at Christiana, Delaware.[7] In 2013, after the sale of the Masonic Home, the monument, Bedford and the remains of his family were relocated by Chesapeake Burial Vault to the Historic Wilmington and Brandywine Cemetery in Wilmington, Delaware.[14][15] Upon re-intering Bedfords grave, a tooth that was discovered from the previous relocation was placed in the burial vault.[citation needed]

Bedford Street in Madison, Wisconsin is named in Bedford's honor.[16]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Gunning Bedford sr. at the Biographical Directory of Federal Judges, a public domain publication of the Federal Judicial Center.
  2. ^ a b Fradin, Dennis Brindell (2005). The Founders: The 39 Stories Behind the U.S. Constitution. New York: Walker & Company. p. 8. ISBN 0-8027-8972-2. Retrieved August 16, 2019.
  3. ^ Morton, Joseph C. (2006). Shapers of the Great Debate at the Constitutional Convention of 1787. Westport, Connecticut: Greenwood Press. p. 31. ISBN 0-313-33021-2. Retrieved August 16, 2019.
  4. ^ a b Littleton, Harold T.J. "Gunning Bedford Biography". Lombardy Hall History. Granite-Corinthian Lodge No. 34, A.F.& A.M.; Grand Lodge of Delaware. Retrieved July 13, 2015.
  5. ^ Klett, Joseph R. (1996). Genealogies of New Jersey Families: Families A-Z, pre-American notes on old. Baltimore, Maryland: Genealogical Publishing Company. p. 687.
  6. ^ "The Founding Fathers: Delaware". The Founding Fathers: Delaware. US Archives. Retrieved July 13, 2015.
  7. ^ a b c d e f g United States Congress. "Gunning Bedford Jr. (id: B000300)". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress.
  8. ^ a b c Congressional Edition, Volume 4045 Journals of the American Continental Congress. Washington DC: U.S. Government Printing Office. 1901. pp. 631–632.
  9. ^ New Republic, August 7, 2002.
  10. ^ Fradin, Dennis Brindell (2005). The Founders: The 39 Stories Behind the U.S. Constitution. New York: Walker & Company. p. 9. ISBN 0-8027-8972-2. Retrieved August 16, 2019.
  11. ^ "National Historic Landmarks". National Park Service. Archived from the original on December 6, 2007. Retrieved July 14, 2015.
  12. ^ Littleton, Harold T.J. "Lombardy Hall". Granite-Corinthian Lodge No. 34, A.F.& A.M.; Grand Lodge of Delaware. Retrieved July 14, 2015.
  13. ^ McKenney, Janice (2013). Women of the Constitution: Wives of the Signers. District of Columbia: Romand & LIttlefield. p. 11. ISBN 978-0-8108-8499-1.
  14. ^ "Gunning Bedford, Jr". www.findagrave.com. Retrieved August 11, 2019.
  15. ^ Stout, Ginger. "The three burials of Gunning Bedford Jr". www.dearlydepartedindelaware.wordpress.com. Retrieved August 11, 2019.
  16. ^ "Origins of Madison Street Names". Wisconsin Historical Society. August 3, 2012.

Sources[edit]

External links[edit]

Legal offices
Preceded by
Seat established by 1 Stat. 73
Judge of the United States District Court for the District of Delaware
1789–1812
Succeeded by
John Fisher