Delaware Governor's Mansion
151 Kings Highway Southwest
Dover, Kent County, Delaware, 19901
Photo: License: Public Domain
The Delaware Governor's Mansion, also known as Woodburn or Governor's House, is the official residence of the Governor of Delaware and the governor's family.
The land Woodburn stands upon was granted to David Morgan and his heirs in 1684 by the Swedish crown. In the 1780s Charles Hillyard III purchased the land at a sheriff's sale for $110. In 1790 he constructed the home that would be called Woodburn.
The house was inherited by Mary, Hillyard's daughter, and her husband, Martin W. Bates. Bates was a doctor, merchant, lawyer and a U.S. Senator. In 1820 Bates leased Woodburn to the Governor, Jacob Stout, the first time Woodburn was used as the executive's residence.
Bates sold the house in 1825 to Daniel & Mary Cowgill. Cowgill, devoted abolitionist and a Quaker, freed his family's slaves and allowed them to meet in the great hall at Woodburn. The house remained in the family for years until it was sold in 1912 to Daniel O. Hastings. He sold the house in 1918 to retired Philadelphia dentist Frank Hall. Upon the Hall's death in 1953 there was a proposal to secure the house as the governor's mansion but it was disapproved by the legislature. The property was divided in two, with a school purchasing the majority of the land and Thomas Murray purchasing the house and a surrounding acre and a half.
The proposal of a residence for the governor was revived in 1965 when Governor Charles L. Terry, Jr. and his wife, Jessica Irby-Terry, secured Woodburn for the state. Woodburn has served as the official residence ever since.
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