John P. Cochran

John P. Cochran
43rd Governor of Delaware
In office
January 19, 1875  January 21, 1879
Preceded by James Ponder
Succeeded by John W. Hall
Personal details
Born (1809-02-07)February 7, 1809
Middletown, Delaware
Died December 27, 1898(1898-12-27) (aged 89)
Middletown, Delaware
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Eliza Polk
Mary Tumlin
Residence Middletown, Delaware
Occupation farmer
Religion Presbyterian

John Price Cochran (February 7, 1809 – December 27, 1898) was an American farmer and politician from Middletown, in New Castle County, Delaware. He was a member of the Democratic Party, who served as Governor of Delaware.

Early life and family

Cochran was born in Appoquinimink Hundred, near Middletown, Delaware, son of Robert and Rebecca Ryland Cochran. He married Eliza Polk in 1833 and had seven children: William R., Clara Rebecca, Charles Polk, John Price, Jr., Eliza, Julian, and Cyrus. His wife, Eliza died in childbirth in 1855 and he married secondly, Mary Tumlin. There were no known children of this marriage. They lived at "Cochran Grange," one mile west of Middletown and were members of the Presbyterian Church. He was a “leading farmer and fruit grower.”

Professional and political career

Cochran was elected to the New Castle County Levy Court in 1838 and 1846. In 1874 he was elected Governor of Delaware by defeating Isaac Jump, the Republican candidate and served from January 19, 1875 until January 21, 1879. He was the first governor from New Castle County in thirty years, and was regarded as a progressive governor, advocating improvements to the school law, and reapportionment of the General Assembly, to more fairly reflect the population of New Castle County. The reapportionment proposal was not approved. The General Assembly did, however, pass legislation requiring businesses serving the public “to provide equal accommodations for those who might be deemed obnoxious by others.” This effort to deny civil rights to African-Americans was to remain on the books until 1963.

Death and legacy

Cochran died at his home near Middletown and is buried in the Forest Presbyterian Cemetery at Middletown.

One of his former homes, Cochran Grange, survives today. Another, Summerton, inherited by his daughter Eliza Green, remained in the Green family until 1953, after which it had a succession of owners.[1] In the mid-1980s and mid-2016, Summerton was considered for historic preservation, but such was opposed by its owner since 2012, Bluegrass Investments LLC, which kept the property vacant and arranged for its demolition and replacement by a Royal Farms convenience store and gas station. The involved real estate agent, Lisa Johannsen, in light of the 500 online signatures to stop the demolition, arranged for a farewell picnic.[2]


Elections are held on the first Tuesday after November 1. The Governor takes office the third Tuesday in January, and has a four-year term.

Delaware General Assembly
(sessions while Governor)
Year Assembly Senate Majority Speaker House Majority Speaker
1875-1876 78th Democratic Charles C. Stockley Democratic Thomas Holcomb
1877-1878 79th Democratic John T. Moore Democratic Hugh Martin
Public Offices
Office Type Location Began office Ended office notes
Governor Executive Dover January 19, 1875 January 21, 1879
Election results
Year Office Subject Party Votes % Opponent Party Votes %
1874 Governor John P. Cochran Democratic 12,488 53% Isaac Jump Republican 11,259 47%



Places with more information

Political offices
Preceded by
James Ponder
Governor of Delaware
Succeeded by
John W. Hall
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