Saturday, April 15, 2017



FEBRUARY 26 1838 – JUNE 21 1890

Judge John Henry. Paynter quietly passes away after a long illness and the past several days in a coma, at three fifty o'clock , Saturday afternoon, June 21, 1890. A noble and useful life ended.

His life went out like the flame of a candle and was sudden, earlier than had been expected.

Around his bed were his family, friends and physicians who never left him unattended. His wife was devoted, administrated his medications, and since the first of the year has hardly slept a full night. She recently had also been watching at the bed side of her mother, Mrs Charles C. Stockley, ill with the fever, in a room next to her husband.

The funeral was at one o'clock Tuesday , June 24, at St. Paul Protestant Episcopal Church, Georgetown, where the Judge was a communicant. Interment was in the church yard cemetery.

John Henry Paynter was born in New York City where his father was a resident temporally , February 26, 1838. His father was a successful Sussex county merchant and the son of Governor Samuel Paynter. His mother, Sally A. Ross Paynter, daughter of Callb Ross, and sister to Governor William Ross.

The parents of John Paynter move first to Laurel in 1842, then two years later to Drawbridge where the father established a large mercantile business. John received his early education in Laurel, Georgetown and Milton. When the father died in 1851 his mother sent John to Newark Academy and in 1854 he was admitted to the freshman class of Delaware College and became one of the most promising students. 1855 he entered the sophomore class of Union College in Schenectady from where he graduated in 1858 with a Bachelor of Arts degree. That same year in the spring he registered as a law student with Hon. Edward Wooten, an Associate Judge of the State of Delaware, and admitted to the Delaware Bar, April in 1861, at Sussex county . He was appointed a deputy attorney general by Attorney General Wooten, a position he held until 1864 when Wooten died.

John Paynter allied himself with the Democratic Party and his voice was frequently heard in forwarding its interest. He elected and took his seat in the senate in 1867 as its youngest member. He served his constituents well and in 1869 was appointed attorney general and was forced to resign as a senator. As Chairman of the Sussex County Democratic Central Committee he was appointed Secretary of State by Governor Ponder in 1870 . While here he and James Wooten drafted the tax statutes for Delaware which were so thoroughly done no errors were ever found.

John Henry Paynter married Sally Custis Wright of Georgetown, daughter of Colonel Gardner Wright on June 18, 1872 and she died giving birth to a son, Rowland U. Paynter, on 18, January, 1876.

June 19, 1885, he married Hannah E. Stockley, daughter of Governor Charles Stockley.

1885 saw him again appointed Attorney General in July which he carried until he resigned in 1887, on March 26, to accept the position of Associate Judge of the State of Delaware, offered him by Governor Biggs to fill the vacancy left by the death of Judge Wooten.

Needless to say, he was a staunch Democrat, and between 1881 and 1887 worked hard for the party, holding many important positions.

The son, Rowland Gardner Paynter , became a Georgetown medical doctor who made a run against Simon Pennywill in 1909 for Delaware governor, married on 6 November 1920, to Leah Anderson Burton, daughter of Dr. Hiram Rodney Burton of Lewes, in the St. Peters Protestant Episcopal Church at Lewes. He was senior warden of the St. Pauls Protestant Episcopal Church, Georgetown, and is buried in that church grave yard.

Wilmington Evening Journal, Monday, June 23, 1890

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