William Pennington

William Sanford Pennington (abt. 1757 - 1826)

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Gov. William Sanford Pennington
Born about in Newark, Essex County, New Jerseymap
[sibling(s) unknown]
Husband of — married [date unknown] [location unknown]
Husband of — married [date unknown] [location unknown]
Descendants descendants
Died in Newark, Essex County, New Jersey, USAmap
Profile last modified | Created 26 Jan 2015
This page has been accessed 549 times.

Categories: American Revolution | PRA Group 1 | Newark, New Jersey | First Presbyterian Churchyard Memorial Garden, Newark, New Jersey | New Jersey Governors | American Notables.

Gov. William Pennington served during the American Revolution
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William Pennington is notable.
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Preceded by
5th Governor
Aaron Ogden
William Sanford Pennington
6th Governor
of New Jersey
New Jersey
Succeeded by
Acting Governor
William Kennedy




Samuel Pennington 1725 – 1791

Mary Sanford 1725 – 1805

Pennington married Phoebe Wheeler around 1786. They had ten children including William Pennington (1796–1862) who became Governor of New Jersey and Speaker of the United States House of Representatives. After the death of his wife in 1804, he married Elizabeth Pierson (c. 1765–1840) on July 13, 1805.

Gov. of NJ.; Judge: Maj. in Amer. Rev. William Sanford Pennington was Governor of the State of NJ. 1813-1814. Admitted to the bar in 1802. He was Associate Justice of Supreme Court of New Jersey from Feb. 1804 to _____, and Judge of the U.S. District Court for New Jersey from 1815 to his death. He was an officer of 2nd Regiment of NJ Artillery in the Revolutionary War, serving under Gen. Knox. Rank of Major conferred by special act of Congress. His diary from 1780 to 1781 is in possession of the New Jersey Historical Society. [1]

William Sanford Pennington left the United States Attorney's Office in 1804 to become an Associate Justice of the New Jersey Supreme Court, and in 1813 he became the governor of New Jersey.

(His son, William Pennington, would later be the governor of New Jersey from 1837 to 1843.) .

From 1815 until his death in 1826, Pennington served as the United States District Judge for the District of New Jersey. (Until 1905, the District of New Jersey was served by only a single district judge.).

Pennington had become well known for his courage during the Revolutionary War, when General. Knox once spotted him under enemy fire loading and firing a cannon by himself, a task usually requiring the work of two or three people. .

The town of Pennington, New Jersey, is named for him. The town used to be called Penny Town but later changed their name. [2]


1st spouse: Phoebe Wheeler Birth 5 May 1771 in Elizabethtown, Essex Co., NJ Death 13 Feb 1804 in Newark, Essex Co., NJ. Married abt 1787 in Newark, Essex Co., NJ

2nd spouse: Mrs. Elizabeth Pierson Birth abt 1767 Death 4 Jan 1840 in Newark, Essex Co., NJ. Married 13 Jul 1805 in Newark, Essex Co., NJ


Children with Phoebe Wheeler:

  1. Harriett Pennington 1788 – 1866
  2. James Wheeler Pennington 1789 – 1824
  3. Mary Pennington 1791 – 1872
  4. Charlotte Pennington 1792 – 1842
  5. Phoebe Pennington 1794 – 1796
  6. William Sanford Pennington 1796 – 1862
  7. Phoebe Pennington 1798 – 1836
  8. Aaron S Pennington 1800 – 1869
  9. Julia Ann Pennington 1801 – 1811
  10. Louisa Pennington 1803 – 1804


Pennington's diary written 1780-1781

During his time as a Second Lieutenant in the army, he describes the daily life of a soldier, writing about marches, dining with friends, letters received, visits home, and news and hearsay from the front. The entries track Pennington’s movements during this period but also give insight into the movements of the larger army and major figures in the Revolutionary War, including General George Washington whom Pennington dines with. During the course of the diary, Pennington himself marches from near West Point, New York to and around New Jersey and back again. He also mentions general problems with which the army is dealing, for example looting and dueling, and the resulting executions and deaths. More particularly, he writes of the betrayal of General Benedict Arnold in September of 1780 and the "mutiny of the Pennsylvania line" at Morristown, their surrender, and punishment (including the execution of two of their leaders) in January of 1781.


Wednesday, September 20, 1826 Paper: Evening Post (New York, NY) Page: 2 - This death notice states Wm S Pennington died at his late residence in Newark, NJ on Sunday morning.

American (New York, NY), Friday, 22 Sep 1826 - DIED At New-Brunswick, on Sabbath morning last in the 69th year of his age, Hon. William S. Pennington, Judge of the District Court of the US for the District of NJ.


Inscribed in a Latin inscription, which, translated: This marble is erected to the memory of a man imbued with sacred lore and no less experienced in all human knowledge. From his earliest youth he was dedicated to holiness - a strenuous advocate of the Christian faith, and second to none in devotion. Of easy manners - humane in his conduct - an exemplar of every charity-adorned with a thousand virtues his modesty concealed.


  1. PRA Group 1, posted by MG Pitts-33
  2. http://www.justice.gov/usao/nj/about/history.html
  • Parents, children, some of the bio information, military, obituary & burial information added by MG Pitts-33, on 1/26/2015

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William Pennington
William Pennington


William is 20 degrees from Walter Morrison, 26 degrees from Alison Wilkins and 19 degrees from Victoria of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland on our single family tree. Login to find your connection.

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