CAESAR RODNEY 1728- 1784
In the years before the American Revolutionary War, Caesar Rodney was rapidly rising to political prominence in Kent County and Delaware. He was elected sheriff in Kent County in 1758 and soon began to be chosen annually as a member of the General Assembly. He held several county offices and served as a judge. In 1765, he was one of the delegates elected by the General Assembly to serve as a member of the Stamp Act Congress in New York City, and in 1774 he became a member of the First Continental Congress in Philadelphia. He was Brigadier General of the Delaware Militia and President of Delaware from 1777- 1781. No one else in Kent County was more prominent in politics than he was in the period. His income came from his political offices and from land that he had inherited.
Rodney served in the Continental Congress along with Thomas McKean and George Read from 1774 through 1776. While in Dover squelching a Loyalist surge, Rodney received word from Thomas McKean that he and Read were deadlocked on the vote for independence. Rodney’s vote was desperately needed. To break the deadlock, Rodney rode 80 miles through a thunderstorm on the night of July 1, 1776, arriving in Philadelphia “in his boots and spurs” on July 2, just as the voting was beginning. He voted with McKean and thereby allowed Delaware to join eleven other states in voting in favor of the resolution of independence. The wording of the Declaration of Independence was approved two days later; Rodney signed it on August 2, 1776.