January 19: Gov. David Hall [1752-1817]

This Day in Presbyterian History:

A Governor by Eighteen Votes

The margin in the election couldn’t get any closer than it was. But on January 19, 1802, David Hall won the race for governor of Delaware by a mere eighteen vote difference. That he would win at all, even by that narrow margin, was providential, given his circumstances.

David Hall, Jr. was born in Lewes, Delaware in 1752. His parents had emigrated from Connecticut in the early 1700’s. David Hall, Sr. was a well known farmer in the area, having served as a Justice of Peace as well as in the Colonial Assembly for twenty plus years. Young David Hall, Jr. married the daughter of a prominent Anglican rector, and fathered six children from the union. But this new family of Hall’s were solidly Presbyterian, worshiping at Lewes Presbyterian Church, one of the earliest Reformed churches in the colony. He studied Law and began his practice of law in the town.

When issues of independence from England entered the colony, David Hall left his attorney’s practice and joined the First Delaware Infantry regiment. They fought in four pivotal battles at Long Island, White Plains, Brandywine, and Germantown. In the latter two battles, Hall was commanding the regiment as its colonel. Also in the last battle at Germantown, David Hall was critically wounded. Eventually, he had to leave soldiering and resign his commission to go back to the practice of law.

In 1802, he ran for the office of governor. Everything was against him in that race. He was the first non-Federalist to run for office in the state, and win. His opponent was an Anglican but also a deist. Hall was clearly a theist in conviction and openly advocated his Presbyterian and Reformed convictions.  In God’s providence, even in Anglican Lewes county, he won the governorship. He would serve for three years, and afterwards serve for several years as a judge.

Governor Hall’s gravestone is pictured here. His home is also on the National Registry of Historic Homes, here.

Words to Live By: It has been said that one with God makes a majority. Yet the God of the Bible does not need the one to be a majority. God is sovereign after all.  What He needs are for Christians to stand in the gap, so to speak, and be made willing to be used for God’s glory and our good.  If circumstances prevent you from doing that, ask God to change your circumstances.  Support others who have answered the call, with your prayers of encouragement and words of comfort.

Through the Scriptures: Job 11 – 13

Through the Standards: The properties and deity of the Triune God

WLC 10 — “What are the personal properties of the three persons in the Godhead?
A. It is proper to the Father to beget the Son, and to the Son to be begotten of the Father, and to the Holy Ghost to proceed from the Father and the Son from all eternity.”

WLC 11 — “How doth it appear that the Son and the Holy Ghost are God equal with the Father?
A. The scriptures manifest that the Son and the Holy Ghost are God equal with the Father, ascribing unto them such names, attributes, works, and worship, as are proper to God only.”

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