A Governor by Eighteen Votes
by Rev. David T. Myers
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.
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.