Henry A. du Pont

Henry A. du Pont

Infobox Officeholder
honorific-prefix =
name = Henry A. du Pont
honorific-suffix =

imagesize =

office = U.S. Senator from Delaware
term_start = 13 June 1906
term_end = 3 March 1917
predecessor = L. Heisler Ball [This seat had been vacant since 4 March 1905.]
successor = Josiah O. Wolcott
birth_date = birth date|1838|7|30|mf=y
birth_place = Greenville, Delaware
death_date = death date and age|1926|12|31|1838|7|30
death_place = Greenville, Delaware
spouse = Mary Pauline Foster
party = Republican
residence = Greenville, Delaware
alma_mater = United States Military Academy
occupation = soldier, railroad executive
profession =
religion = Episcopalian

Henry Algernon du Pont (30 July 1838 – 31 December 1926), known as "Colonel Henry", was an American soldier and politician from Winterthur, near Greenville, in New Castle County, Delaware. He was the grandson of Eleuthère Irénée du Pont, the founder of E. I. du Pont de Nemours and Company, a veteran of the Civil War, and a member of the Republican Party, who served two terms as U. S. Senator from Delaware.

Early Life and Family

Du Pont was born 30 July 1838 at Eleutherian Mills, near Greenville, Delaware, son of Henry and Louisa Gerhard du Pont and grandson of Eleuthère Irénée du Pont, the founder of E. I. du Pont de Nemours and Company. He married Mary Pauline Foster in 1874 and had two children, Henry Francis du Pont and Louisa Evelina. They were members of Christ Episcopal Church in Christiana Hundred and lived on the Winterthur estate near Greenville, Delaware. He attended the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia and graduated first in his class from the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York in 1861.

Du Pont was commissioned a 2nd Lieutenant of Engineers. Later he was promoted to 1st Lieutenant in the 5th Regiment, U.S. Artillery and served as a light artillery officer in the United States Army during the American Civil War, rising to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. At the beginning of the war he was assigned to the defenses of Washington and New York Harbor, but in 1864 was part of General Philip Sheridan's army in the Shenandoah Valley of northern Virginia. He was awarded the Medal of Honor for his handling of a retreat at the Battle of Cedar Creek, allowing Sheridan to ultimately win a victory in the battle. He stayed in the U.S. Army for ten years after the war.

In 1875 he returned to Delaware became president and general manager of the Wilmington & Western Railroad Company from 1879 until 1899. During that time, and for the remainder of his life he operated an experimental farm on his estate now known as the Winterthur Museum near Greenville, Delaware.

Political career

Du Pont was elected to the U.S. Senate on 13 June 1906, to fill the vacancy in the term beginning 4 March 1905. During this term, he served with the Republican majority in the 59th, 60th, and 61st U.S. Congress. In the 61st Congress he was Chairman of the Committee on Expenditures in the War Department.

He was again elected to the U.S. Senate in 1911. During this term, he served with the Republican majority in the 62nd Congress, but was in the minority in the 63rd, and 64th U.S. Congress. In the 62nd Congress he was again Chairman of the Committee on Expenditures in the War Department, in the 63rd Congress he was a member of the Committee on Military Affairs, and in the 64th Congress he was a member of the Committee on Transportation and Sale of Meat Products.

In the first popular election of a U.S. Senator in Delaware, du Pont lost his bid for a third full term in 1916 to Democrat Josiah O. Wolcott, the Delaware Attorney General. In all, he served most of two terms from 13 June 1906 to 4 March 1917, during the administrations of U.S. Presidents Theodore Roosevelt, William H. Taft and Woodrow Wilson.

Death and Legacy

Henry A. du Pont died 31 December 1926 at Winterthur Museum near Greenville, Delaware and is buried at the du Pont Cemetery at Greenville. His son, Henry Francis du Pont, developed his home into the well known Winterthur Museum.

Archival materials relating to Henry A. du Pont are part of the Archives owned by the Henry Francis DuPont Winterthur Museum, near Wilmington, Delaware.

Public offices

Elections are held the first Tuesday after November 1st. U.S. Senators took office March 4th and have six year terms. Before 1913, the General Assembly elected the U.S. Senators, and afterwards they were popularly elected.

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