Richard Henry Bayard
(September 26, 1796 – March
4, 1868) was an American lawyer and politician from Wilmington, in
New Castle County, Delaware. He was a member of the Whig Party, who
served as the first Mayor of Wilmington, Chief Justice of the
Delaware Superior Court, and as U.S. Senator from Delaware.
Early life and family
Bayard was born in Wilmington, Delaware, son of James A. Bayard, Sr.
, and Nancy Bassett
Bayard. His father was a member of the Federalist Party, who served
as U.S. Representative from Delaware and U.S. Senator from
Delaware. His mother was the daughter of another U.S. Senator from
Delaware, Richard Bassett
younger brother, James A.
, was also a U.S.
Senator from Delaware.
Professional and political career
Bayard graduated from Princeton College in 1814, studied law and
was admitted to the Bar in 1818. His practice was in Wilmington,
where he became the first mayor of the newly incorporated city in
In 1836, Bayard was elected as an Anti-Jacksonian
to the United States
Senate, to fill the vacancy caused by the resignation of U.S.
Senator Arnold Naudain. He served from June 17, 1836, to September
19, 1839, when he resigned to become Chief Justice of the Delaware
Supreme Court. He served in that capacity for two years, from 1839
to 1841, when he resigned, being once again elected to the United
States Senate, this time as a Whig. The position had been vacant
since his own resignation in 1839. This time he served from January
12, 1841 until March 3, 1845. While in the United States Senate, he
was chairman of the Committee on Private Land Claims in the 27th
Congress, a member of the Committee on District of Columbia in the
27th Congress, and a member of the Committee on Naval Affairs in
the 27th Congress and 28th Congress. He did not seek reelection in
1844, but later served as chargé d'affaires to Belgium from 1850 to
Death and legacy
Bayard died at Philadelphia and is buried in the Wilmington and
Brandywine Cemetery at Wilmington. He was the second of five
Bayards to serve in the United States Senate.
The General Assembly chose the U.S. Senators, who took office March
4th for a six year term. In this case he was initially completing
the existing term, the vacancy caused by the resignation of Arnold
Naudain. However he resigned the position before the term ended
only to accept appointment over a year later in a new term which he
completed. Between his resignation and appointment the position was