Religious Convictions of America's Founders: Caesar Rodney
"And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm Reliance on the Protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor." Declaration of Independence, July 4, 1776
Caesar Rodney. Rodney served in the Continental Congress along with Thomas McKean and George Read from 1774 through 1776. Signer of the Declaration of Independence, he was a native of Dover, Delaware. He held more public offices than any other Delaware citizen. In addition to being an extremely dedicated delegate, Rodney was also a soldier, judge, and speaker of Delaware's Assembly.
He was in Dover attending a Loyalist activity in Sussex County when he received word from Thomas McKean that he and Read were deadlocked on the vote for independence. To break the deadlock, despite suffering from asthma and cancer, Rodney set off on the 80-mile journey to Philadelphia withstanding thundershowers and a severe summer heat wave. He arrived in Philadelphia muddy, wet, and fatigued but “booted and spurred,” and also seriously ill. just as the voting was beginning. He voted with McKean and thereby allowed Delaware to join eleven other states in voting in favor of the resolution of independence.
The Delaware quarter, depicting the historic horseback ride of Caesar Rodney, kicked off the United States Mint's 50 State Quarters program.
He was a member of Christ Episcopal Church in Dover. Caesar’s mother, Elizabeth Crawford, was the daughter of an Anglican minister, the Reverend Thomas Crawford, who was born in Scotland, and was the first missionary sent to Dover, Delaware by the Society for the propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts.