Nicholas Van Dyke (senator)

Nicholas Van Dyke (senator)

Nicholas Van Dyke (December 8 1770May 21 1826) was an American lawyer and politician from New Castle Delaware. He was a member of the Federalist Party, who served in the Delaware General Assembly, and as U.S. Representative from Delaware, and as U.S. Senator from Delaware.

Early life and family

Van Dyke was born December 8 1769 in New Castle Delaware, son of Nicholas and Charlotte Stanley Van Dyke. His father had been a member of the Continental Congress and a President of Delaware. The younger Nicholas graduated from the College of New Jersey, now Princeton University in 1788, studied law with his brother-in-law, Kensy Johns, and was admitted to the Bar in New Castle, in 1792. He married Mary Ann Leuvaneigh in 1792. They had six children, including Nicholas III, Kensey Johns, and Dorcas Montgomery and lived at many houses in and around New Castle. One of these was at the corner of Delaware and Fourth Streets and was the location of the 1824 wedding of Dorcas Van Dyke and Charles I. du Pont, which was attended by the Marquis de Lafayette. The family were members of Immanuel Episcopal Church.

Political career

Van Dyke was a Federalist who was a member of the Delaware House of Representatives in 1799, and was elected to the 10th U.S. Congress to fill the vacancy caused by the resignation of U.S. Representative James M. Broom. He was reelected to the 11th U.S. Congress, and served in the U.S. House from October 6 1807 until March 3 1811. With the Federalists a powerless minority in Congress, he returned home to serve as the Attorney General of Delaware. Subsequently, he was elected to the Delaware State Senate for the 1816 and 1817 sessions. While serving there he was elected to the United States Senate and served from March 4 1817 until his death on May 21 1826. He missed the first month and a half of the 18th Congress, as his first term in the Senate expired on March 3, 1823, and he was not re-elected by the Delaware Legislature until January 7, 1824. He did not take his seat in the Senate for the 18th Congress until January 14, 1824, while the Senate had convened on December 1, 1823. He was Chairman of the Committee on Pensions in the 16th U.S. Congress.

Death and legacy

Van Dyke died May 21 1826, in New Castle Delaware, and is buried in the Immanuel Episcopal Church Cemetery in New Castle. He was compared to other lawyers by one who knew him as a "sound lawyer and superior to them all as a fluent, graceful and successful advocate and in the skillful management of his cases."


Elections were held the first Tuesday of October and members of the General Assembly took office on the first Tuesday of January. The State Senate had a term of three years and the State House had a term of one year. Members of the U.S. House took office 4th of March for a two year term.

The General Assembly chose the U.S. Senators, who took office the March 4th for a six year term.

Public Offices
Office Type Location Elected Took Office Left Office notes
State Representative Legislature Dover 1798 January 1 1799 January 7 1800
State Attorney General Executive Dover 1801 1806
U.S. Representative Legislature Washington 1807 October 6 1807 March 3 1809
U.S. Representative Legislature Washington 1808 March 4 1809 March 3 1811
State Senator Legislature Dover 1815 January 6 1816 March 3 1817
U.S. Senator Legislature Washington March 4 1817 March 3 1823
U.S. Senator Legislature Washington March 4 1823 May 21 1826

Delaware General Assembly service
Dates Assembly Chamber Majority Governor Committees District
1799 23rd State House Federalist Richard Bassett New Castle at-large

United States Congressional service
Dates Congress Chamber Majority President Committees Class/District
1807-1809 10th U.S. House Democratic-Republican Thomas Jefferson at-large
1809-1811 11th U.S. House Democratic-Republican James Madison at-large
1817-1819 15th U.S. Senate Democratic-Republican James Monroe class 2
1819-1821 16th U.S. Senate Democratic-Republican James Monroe class 2
1821-1823 17th U.S. Senate Democratic-Republican James Monroe class 2
1823-1825 18th U.S. Senate Democratic-Republican James Monroe class 2
1825-1827 19th U.S. Senate Democratic John Quincy Adams class 2

Election results
Year Office Subject Party Votes % Opponent Party Votes % notes
1807 U.S. Representative Nicholas Van Dyke Federalist 3,294 52% John Dickinson Democratic-Republican 3,078 48%
1808 U.S. Representative Nicholas Van Dyke Federalist 3,242 53% Joseph Haslet Democratic-Republican 2,837 47%



  • Conrad, Henry C. (1908). History of the State of Delaware, 3 vols.. Lancaster, Pennsylvania: Wickersham Company.
  • Martin, Roger A. (1995). Memoirs of the Senate. Newark, DE: Roger A. Martin.
  • Martin, Roger A. (2003). Delawareans in Congress. Middletown, DE: Roger A. Martin. ISBN 0-924117-26-5.
  • Rodney, Richard S. (1975). The Collected Essays of Richard S. Rodney on Early Delaware. Wilmington, DE: The Society of Colonial Wars in the State of Delaware.
  • Scharf, John Thomas (1888). History of Delaware 1609-1888. 2 vols. Philadelphia: L. J. Richards & Co.

External links

Places with more information

Search another word or see Nicholas Van Dyke (senator)on Dictionary | Thesaurus |Spanish
Copyright © 2015, LLC. All rights reserved.
  • Please Login or Sign Up to use the Recent Searches feature