1899 : Petite Portrait, Large Legacy: Governor Thomas Stockton (1781-1846)

Miss Elizabeth Stockton Moore, a granddaughter of Governor Stockton, gifted the society with an oval miniature portrait of Governor Thomas Stockton (1781-1846). The portrait was gifted on December 15, 1899 and was painted by a local artist, Miss Alice Hay of New Castle. The portrait’s framed dimensions measured only 4.375 by 5.375 inches in size.

The portrait was noted as “beautifully framed.” The colored portrait miniature, complete with an oval mat and gilded oval frame, depicted Thomas Stockton in his youth. He is turned to face the viewer so they could witness his ruddy cheeks, brown hair, white shirt, and dark jacket. Though the portrait of Governor Stockton is petite and shows only a bust view, he left a large legacy in Delaware History.

Governor Thomas Stockton
Governor Thomas Stockton

Governor Stockton was born in New Castle County, Delaware on April 1, 1781. His father was John Stockton (1754-1822) of New Castle who fought in the American Revolution and served as brigadier general in the state militia during the War of 1812. Thomas Stockton followed in his father’s footsteps and was a major in the U.S. Army during the War of 1812. During the War of 1812 he in fought the attack on Fort George on the Niagara River, he also fought at Lundy’s Lane, and was eventually promoted to Major in the 42nd infantry.

Thomas Stockton was also educated at Princeton University and was a Whig. He married Fidelia Johns and they had five children. Thomas Stockton served as the New Castle County Register of Chancery from 1832 to 1835. In 1844 he ran for Governor of Delaware on the Whig party ticket. Stockton narrowly defeated the Democratic opponent William Tharp. He took office in 1845 and remained in office until his death on March 2, 1845.


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