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Outerbridge Horsey (senator)

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Outerbridge Horsey (senator)

Outerbridge Horsey
United States Senator
from Delaware
In office
January 12, 1810 – March 3, 1821
Preceded by Samuel White [1]
Succeeded by Caesar A. Rodney [2]
Personal details
Born (1777-03-05)March 5, 1777
Sussex County, Delaware
Died June 9, 1842(1842-06-09) (aged 65)
Frederick County, Maryland
Political party Federalist
Spouse(s) Eliza Lee
Residence Delaware
Wilmington, Delaware
Profession lawyer

Outerbridge Horsey, III (March 5, 1777 – June 9, 1842) was an American lawyer and politician from Wilmington, in New Castle County, Delaware. He was a member of the Federalist Party, who served in the Delaware General Assembly, as Attorney General of Delaware and as United States Senator from Delaware.

Early life and family

Horsey was born in Little Creek Hundred, near Thomas Sim Lee (1745-1819) of Maryland.[3]

Professional and political career

While practicing the law and after representing Sussex County in the State House from the 1801 session through the 1803 session, Horsey was appointed to be the Delaware Attorney General and served from 1806 to 1810.

In 1810 he was elected to the U.S. Senate to fill the vacancy caused by the death of U.S. Senator Samuel White. He was reelected in 1814, and served from January 12, 1810,[4] to March 3, 1821. While in the Senate he strongly opposed the War of 1812, but once it began, supported it equally strongly. Accordingly, he became a member of the Committee of Safety and was actively involved in preparing the defenses of Wilmington and Fort Union there. In March 1814 Horsey presented a petition from the citizens of Delaware to repeal the Embargo Act of 1807, but while able to get the appointment of a committee to consider the repeal, was ultimately unsuccessful. On Horsey's motion in January 1816, the Senate passed the resolution to print and distribute copies of Treasury Secretary Albert Gallatin's Report on the Subject of Public Roads and Canals, which had been requested by the Senate in 1807 and presented to it in 1808;[5] while still a contentious subject, the need for internal improvements had become much more apparent during the War of 1812.

Several years later, he parted ways with the Delaware General Assembly which had passed a resolution asking Delaware's congressmen to vote against any extension of slavery. Horsey did not feel U.S. Congress had the right to prohibit slavery in Missouri, or anywhere else in the Louisiana Purchase, and so supported the Missouri Compromise. Understanding the unpopularity of this position he did not seek reelection when his term ended. During the 16th Congress, he served as Chairman of the Committee on the District of Columbia.

Death and legacy

Horsey died at Needwood, his wife's estate near Petersville in Frederick County, Maryland and is buried in St. John's Cemetery at Frederick.

He owned the Zachariah Ferris House, listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1970.[6][7]


Elections were held the first Tuesday of October. Members of the State House took office on the first Tuesday of January for a term of one year. The General Assembly chose the U.S. Senators, who took office March 4 for a six-year term. In this case he was initially completing the existing term, the vacancy caused by the death of Samuel White.

Public Offices
Office Type Location Began office Ended office notes
State Representative Legislature Dover January 6, 1801 January 5, 1802
State Representative Legislature Dover January 5, 1802 January 4, 1803
State Representative Legislature Dover January 4, 1803 January 3, 1804
Attorney General Executive Dover 1806 1810 Delaware
U.S. Senator Legislature Washington January 12, 1810 March 3, 1815
U.S. Senator Legislature Washington March 4, 1815 March 3, 1821
United States Congressional service
Dates Congress Chamber Majority President Committees Class/District
1810–1811 11th U.S. Senate Republican James Madison class 1
1811–1813 12th U.S. Senate Republican James Madison class 1
1813–1815 13th U.S. Senate Republican James Madison class 1
1815–1817 14th U.S. Senate Republican James Madison class 1
1817–1819 15th U.S. Senate Republican James Monroe class 1
1819–1821 16th U.S. Senate Republican James Monroe class 1


  1. ^ this seat was vacant from November 4, 1809 until January 12, 1810.
  2. ^ this seat was vacant from March 4, 1821 until January 23, 1822.
  3. ^ Archives of Maryland (Biographical Series): Elizabeth Digges Horsey (1783-1862) (MSA SC 3520-14927)
  4. ^ seated January 29, 1810.
  5. ^ Report on the Subject of Public Roads and Canals,
  6. ^ Albert Kruse (August 1969). "National Register of Historic Places Inventory/Nomination: Zachariah Ferris House". 
  7. ^ "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places.  


  • DePuydt, Peter J. (Spring 2009). "Free at Last, Someday: Senator Outerbridge Horsey and Manumission in the Nineteenth Century". Pennsylvania History: A Journal of Mid-Atlantic Studies 76: 164–178. 
  • Martin, Roger A. (1995). Memoirs of the Senate. Newark, DE: Roger A. Martin. 
  • Munroe, John A. (1954). Federalist Delaware 1775-1815. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University. 
  • Wilson, W. Emerson (1969). Forgotten Heroes of Delaware. Cambridge, MA: Deltos Publishing Company. 

External links

  • Biographical Directory of the United States Congress
  • Delaware’s Members of Congress
  • Find a Grave
  • The Political Graveyard

Places with more information

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