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T. Coleman du Pont

t. coleman du pont
Thomas Coleman du Pont December 11, 1863 – November 11, 1930 was an American engineer and politician, from Greenville, Delaware He was President of E I du Pont de Nemours and Company, and a member of the Republican Party who served parts of two terms as United States Senator from Delaware1


  • 1 Early life and family
  • 2 Business career
  • 3 DuPont Highway
  • 4 Political career
  • 5 Death
  • 6 Almanac
  • 7 References
  • 8 Work cited
  • 9 Further reading
  • 10 Images
  • 11 External links

Early life and familyedit

Du Pont was born at Louisville, Kentucky He was a cousin of US Senator Henry A du Pont and great grandson of Eleuthère Irénée du Pont, the founder of E I du Pont de Nemours and Company Du Pont attended preparatory school at Urbana University and earned an engineering degree at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology While at MIT, he was initiated into the Sigma Chi fraternity

He married a cousin, Alice Elsie du Pont granddaughter of Charles I du Pont, and in 1891 they had a daughter, Alice Hounsfield du Pont In 1921, Alice married Clayton Douglass Buck, future US Senator and two-term governor of Delaware She inherited her father's family home, Buena Vista, and in 1965 the Bucks sold it to the State of Delaware for $1 The state now operates it as the Buena Vista Conference Center It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 19712

Business careeredit

Du Pont started his career in the family's coal mines, the Central Coal and Iron Company, and soon pursued opportunities in street railways In 1894, He began working as the general manager of the Johnson Street Rail Company in Johnstown, Pennsylvania

With his cousins, Alfred I du Pont and Pierre S du Pont, T Coleman du Pont bought out the family's explosives business in Delaware He was president from 1902 until 1915, during which time he oversaw the acquisitions of more than one hundred competitors He was a key player in the formation of the holding company, E I du Pont de Nemours Company of New Jersey In 1907, the DuPont Company was sued for antitrust violations; he later sold off his stake of the business in 1914

Du Pont had control of the Hotel McAlpin, Claridge Atlantic City, Wallick's, and other American hotels Together with Lucius M Boomer, president of Boomer-du Pont Properties Corporation and husband of Jørgine Boomer, du Pont owned a number of other hotels In 1918, they purchased the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in New York City, then in 1920 the Willard Hotel in Washington, D C and in 1925 the company purchased The Bellevue-Stratford Hotel in Philadelphia from the heirs of the founder, George C Boldt345

In 1915, du Pont acquired control of The Equitable Life Assurance Society from J P Morgan6 and was responsible for the building of the Equitable Life Building in New York City, once the largest building in the city7

DuPont Highwayedit

In 1908, du Pont proposed a modern road that was to run the length of Delaware from Selbyville north to Wilmington as part of a philanthropic measure This roadway was planned to improve travel and bring economic development to Kent and Sussex counties The DuPont Highway was to be modeled after the great boulevards of Europe and was to have a 200-foot 61 m wide right-of-way consisting of a 40-foot 12 m wide roadway for automobiles flanked by dual trolley lines, 30-foot 91 m wide roadways for heavy vehicles, 15-foot 46 m wide unpaved roadways for horses, and sidewalks Utilities were to be buried underground below the horse roadways The highway was also to include agricultural experimental stations and monuments for future surveying Trolley revenues would help pay for the construction of the roadway

After portions of the DuPont Highway were built, these portions were planned to be turned over to the state at no charge8 The Coleman DuPont Road, Inc was established in 1911 and construction of the DuPont Highway began9 The DuPont Highway would end up being built as a two-lane concrete road on a 60-foot 18 m alignment with a 32-foot 98 m wide roadway10

The Delaware State Highway Department took over construction and the DuPont Highway was completed in 1923 when the final section near Odessa was finished11 The DuPont Highway was a boon to southern Delaware, which had formerly been economically isolated from the large cities of the northeast In conjunction with the rise of the automobile, the highway spurred the growth of the Delaware beaches by greatly improving access to the coast for tourists from northern Delaware and adjacent portions of the Northeast megalopolis Southern Delaware also developed into a major truck farming region due to having much greater access to urban markets No longer fully reliant on the railroads to transport their goods, farmers in Sussex and Kent counties could market their fruits, vegetables, and broiler chickens directly to consumers in the north12

The DuPont Highway became US 113 between Selbyville and Dover and US 13 between Dover and Wilmington1314

Political careeredit

Coleman du Pont in his Senate office

Du Pont retired from business activities in 1915 and became involved in Republican Party politics, as a member of the Republican National Committee from 1908 until 1930 It was largely under his leadership that the Union Republicans and Regular Republicans came back together and built the modern Delaware Republican Party

Du Pont was appointed to the US Senate on July 7, 1921, to fill the vacancy caused by the resignation of US Senator Josiah O Wolcott During this term, he served with the Republican majority in the 67th Congress However, he lost his bid to complete the term in a special election on November 7, 1922 On the same day he also lost his bid for the full term to follow, in both instances losing to Democrat Thomas F Bayard, Jr, a Wilmington lawyer who was married to one of du Pont's cousins

Du Pont was elected to the US Senate in 1924, defeating the incumbent Republican US Senator L Heisler Ball for the nomination, and going on to defeat Democrat James M Tunnell, a Georgetown, Delaware lawyer During this term, he served with the Republican majority in the 69th and 70th Congress, until health problems caused him to resign

In all, du Pont served two separate terms, one from July 7, 1921 until November 21, 1922, during the administration of US President Warren G Harding, and the other from March 4, 1925 until December 9, 1928, during the administration of US President Calvin Coolidge The later years of his life were marked by his implication in the Teapot Dome scandal, and by lawsuits over various Florida real estate dealscitation needed


Du Pont suffered from cancer of the larynx and died at Buena Vista He was buried in the Du Pont de Nemours Cemetery in Greenville, Delaware1


Elections are held the first Tuesday after November 1 US Senators are popularly elected and took office March 4 for a six-year term

Election results
Year Office Subject Party Votes  % Opponent Party Votes  %
1922 Special US Senator T Coleman du Pont Republican 36,894 496% Thomas F Bayard, Jr Democratic √ 36,954 √ 497%
1922 US Senator T Coleman du Pont Republican 36,979 494% Thomas F Bayard, Jr Democratic √ 37,304 √ 498%
1924 US Senator T Coleman du Pont Republican √ 52,731 √ 59% James M Tunnell Democratic 36,085 41%
United States Congressional service
Dates Congress Chamber Majority Committees Class/District Notes
July 7, 1921 –
November 7, 1922
67th US Senate Republican class 1 Appointed, but lost both the special election to finish the term and the general election to the next term
March 4, 1925 –
March 3, 1927
69th US Senate Republican class 2  
March 4, 1927 –
March 3, 1929
70th US Senate Republican class 2  


  1. ^ a b "T Coleman du Pont, Ex-Senator, is Dead" New York Times November 12, 1930 p 19 Retrieved July 21, 2007 General T Coleman du Pont, former Senator from Delaware and one of the foremost financiers of the United States, died shortly after 3 o'clock this afternoon at his home, 808 Broom Street  
  2. ^ "Buena Vista History" PDF State of Delaware Retrieved January 21, 2015 
  3. ^ "COLEMAN DU PONT PURCHASES THE WALDORF-ASTORIA" The New York Times February 3, 1918 p 1 Retrieved November 28, 2012 
  4. ^ "DU PONT INTERESTS BUY THE MARTINIQUE" The New York Times October 3, 1919 Retrieved November 28, 2012 
  5. ^ "DU PONT GETS THE WILLARD" The New York Times May 5, 1920 Retrieved November 28, 2012 
  6. ^ "TC DU PONT BUYS EQUITABLE LIFE" The New York Times June 1, 1915 p 1 Retrieved November 28, 2012 
  7. ^ "EQUITABLE SITE BRINGS $14,000,000" The New York Times August 13, 1912 p 1 Retrieved November 28, 2012 
  8. ^ Milner, pp 6, 8
  9. ^ "Delaware State Highway Department Annual Report" PDF 1958 ed Dover, Delaware: Delaware State Highway Department 1958: 4–13 Retrieved November 13, 2014 
  10. ^ Milner, p 14
  11. ^ Milner, p 16
  12. ^ Milner, p 28
  13. ^ "Annual Report of the State Highway Department" PDF 1925 ed Dover, Delaware: Delaware State Highway Department December 31, 1925: 17 Retrieved November 18, 2010 
  14. ^ Delaware State Highway Department 1931 Official Road Map of the State of Delaware PDF Map Dover: Delaware State Highway Department 

Work citededit

  • John Milner Associates, Inc July 2005 Historic Context for the DuPont Highway US Route 113: Kent and Sussex County, Delaware PDF in association with Whitman, Requardt, Inc and Rummel, Klepper & Kahl, LLP Dover, DE: Delaware Department of Transportation Retrieved January 29, 2014 

Further readingedit

  • William Francis; Michael Hahn 2009 The DuPont Highway Arcadia Publishing ISBN 978-0738568485 
  • Carter, Richard B 2001 Clearing New Ground, The Life of John G Townsend, Jr Wilmington, Delaware: The Delaware Heritage Press ISBN 0-924117-20-6 
  • Dutton, William S 1942 Du Pont One Hundred and Forty Years New York: Charles Scribner's Sons 
  • Hoffecker, Carol E 2004 Democracy in Delaware Wilmington, Delaware: Cedar Tree Books ISBN 1-892142-23-6 
  • Munroe, John A 1993 History of Delaware Newark, Delaware: University of Delaware Press ISBN 0-87413-493-5 


  • Urbana University

External linksedit

  • Biographical Directory of the United States Congress
  • Delaware's Members of Congress
  • Find a Grave
  • His Gift to Kentucky
  • The Political Graveyard
Political offices
US Senate
Preceded by
L Heisler Ball
US Senator Class 2 from Delaware
Served alongside: Thomas F Bayard, Jr
Succeeded by
Daniel O Hastings
Preceded by
Josiah O Wolcott
US Senator Class 1 from Delaware
Served alongside: L Heisler Ball
Succeeded by
Thomas F Bayard, Jr

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