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George Read Riddle (1817 – March 29, 1867) was an American engineer, lawyer and politician from Wilmington, in New Castle County, Delaware. He was a member of the Democratic Party who served as U.S. Representative and as U.S. Senator from Delaware.

Early life and family

Riddle was born in New Castle, Delaware and studied civil engineering at Delaware College, now the University of Delawaremarker. In addition he studied law and was admitted to the Delaware Bar in 1848, beginning a practice in Wilmington, Delaware. With his engineering background, he was named as a commissioner to retrace the Mason-Dixon Linemarker in 1849, and was otherwise engaged in the construction of railroads and canals. During the Civil War, Riddle served with the Home Guard of Wilmington. His wife's name was Margaret.

Political career

From 1849 to 1850, Riddle served as a Deputy Attorney General of the United States. After losing in the election of 1844, he was elected to the U.S. House in 1850 and served for two terms from March 4, 1851 until March 3, 1855. During the 33rd Congress, Riddle was the Chairman of the Committee on Engraving. Running for a third term he was defeated in 1854 by Elisha D. Cullen.

On February 2, 1864 Riddle was elected to the United States Senate to fill the vacancy caused by the resignation of U.S. Senator James A. Bayard, Jr. He served until his death on March 29, 1867.

Death and legacy

Riddle died while in office at Washington, D.C. and is buried in the Wilmington and Brandywine Cemetery at Wilmington.


Elections are held the first Tuesday after November 1st. U.S. Representatives took office March 4th and have a two year term. The General Assembly chose the U.S. Senators, who also took office March 4th, but for a six year term. In this case he was completing the existing term, the vacancy caused by the resignation of James A. Bayard, Jr.

Public Offices
Office Type Location Began office Ended office notes
U.S. Representative Legislature Washingtonmarker March 4, 1851 March 3, 1853
U.S. Representative Legislature Washingtonmarker March 4, 1853 March 3, 1855
U.S. Senator Legislature Washingtonmarker February 2, 1864 March 29, 1867

United States Congressional service
Dates Congress Chamber Majority President Committees Class/District
1851–1853 32nd U.S. House Democratic Millard Fillmore at-large
1853–1855 33rd U.S. House Democratic Franklin Pierce at-large
1863–1865 38th U.S. Senate Republican Abraham Lincoln class 1
1865–1867 39th U.S. Senate Republican Andrew Johnson class 1

Election results
Year Office Subject Party Votes % Opponent Party Votes % notes
1844 U.S. Representative George R. Riddle Democratic 6,023 49% John W. Houston Whig 6,229 51%
1850 U.S. Representative George R. Riddle Democratic 6,055 49% George B. Rodney Whig 5,926 48%
1852 U.S. Representative George R. Riddle Democratic 6,692 50% John W. Houston Whig 6,630 50%
1854 U.S. Representative George R. Riddle Democratic 6,334 48% Elisha D. Cullen American 6,820 52%


  1. Independent candidate Francis D. Wait received 453 votes.


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