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William Thompson Read

August 22, 1792
January 27, 1873
Home Town:
New Castle, DE
Sally Thomas Read (unknown)
Biographical Notes:
William Thompson Read came from a longstanding and prominent Delaware family. He was the great-grandson of John Read, a landholder of significance means who emigrated from Dublin, Ireland to the United States and was a founder of Charlestown, DE. His grandfather, George Read, was a member of the Continental Congress, a signer of the Declaration of Independence and the sole author of Delaware's new Constitution after the American Revolution. His parents were George and Mary (Thompson) Read.

After his admission to the bar, he pursued a legal practice as well as a brief political career. In addition, he was the founder of the Historical Society of Delaware. He also published the life of his grandfather George Read titled The Signer.He died in New Castle, DE.

Years at LLS:
Other Education:
Graduated from the College of New Jersey (now Princeton University) in 1810.

Profession / Service
Lawyer; Political Office
Admitted To Bar:
Training with Other Lawyers:
He studied the law with his father, George Read II.
Federal Posts:
Secretary of Legation in Buenos Aires, Argentina (Argentina)
State Posts:
State Representative (DE) 1827-1828
State Senator (DE) 1830

Related Objects and Documents
In the Ledger:
help The Citation of Attendance provides primary source documentation of the student’s attendance at the Litchfield Female Academy and/or the Litchfield Law School. If a citation is absent, the student is thought to have attended but currently lacks primary source confirmation.

Records for the schools were sporadic, especially in the formative years of both institutions. If instructors kept comprehensive records for the Litchfield Female Academy or the Litchfield Law School, they do not survive. Researchers and staff have identified students through letters, diaries, family histories and genealogies, and town histories as well as catalogues of students printed in various years. Art and needlework have provided further identification of Female Academy Students, and Litchfield County Bar records document a number of Law School students. The history of both schools and the identification of the students who attended them owe credit to the early 20th century research and documentation efforts of Emily Noyes Vanderpoel and Samuel Fisher, and the late 20th century research and documentation efforts of Lynne Templeton Brickley and the Litchfield Historical Society staff.
Baldwin, Roger Sherman. Notes on law taken from the lectures of the Honble. Tapping Reeve and James Gould, esquire … at the Litchfield Law School, 1812-1813. Rare Book Collection, Lillian Goldman Law Library, Yale University.

Litchfield County Bar Association Records, 1812, Litchfield Historical Society, Helga J. Ingraham Memorial Library.

Catalogue of the Litchfield Law School (Hartford, CT: Press of Case, Tiffany and Company, 1849), 10.

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