List of members of the United States House of Representatives in the 1st Congress by seniority

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This is a complete list of members of the United States House of Representatives during the 1st United States Congress listed by seniority. As a historical article, the districts and party affiliations listed reflect those during the 1st Congress (March 4, 1789 – March 3, 1791). Current seats and party affiliations on the List of current members of the United States House of Representatives by seniority will be different for certain members.[a]

Seniority depends on the date on which members were sworn into office. Congressmen, in early Congresses, were often elected after the legal start of the Congress. Such representatives are attributed with unbroken seniority, from the legal start of the congressional term, if they were the first person elected to a seat in a Congress. The date of the election is indicated in a note.

The seniority date is normally taken from the members entry in the Biographical Directory of the United States Congress, except where the date given is the legal start of the Congress and the actual election (for someone who was not the first person elected to the seat in that Congress) was later. The date of election is taken from United States Congressional Elections 1788-1997. In a few instances the latter work provides dates, for the start and end of terms, which correct those in the Biographical Directory.

The Biographical Directory normally uses the date of a special election, as the seniority date. However, mostly in early Congresses, the date of the member taking his seat can be the one given. The date of the special election is mentioned in a note to the list below, when that date is not used as the seniority date by the Biographical Directory.

In the 1st Congress the only formal leader was the Speaker of the House. This congress had only one standing committee, the Committee on Elections, created on April 13, 1789. There was also a Ways and Means Committee for part of the 1st session. Although the Ways and Means Committee was not formally added to the list of standing committees until 1802, the present-day committee considers the one established in 1789 to be its forerunner. Committees, in this period, were appointed for a session at a time and not necessarily for every one in a Congress. Apart from the members of the Elections Committee in the 1st session (who were selected by balloting the House), the Speaker appointed the members. The office of speaker and other party or committee leadership positions in the House are often associated with seniority. However, leadership is typically not associated with seniority.

U.S. House seniority list[edit]

A numerical rank is assigned to each of the 65 members initially elected to the 1st Congress. Other members, who were not the first person elected to a seat but who joined the House during the Congress, are not assigned a number (apart from the Representatives from the two states, admitted after ratifying the constitution during the Congress, who are numbered 60-65). One Representative-elect was not sworn in, as he declined to serve. The list below includes that Representative-elect (with name in italics), with the seniority he would have held if he had been sworn in.

Rank Representative Party District Seniority date Notes
1 Fisher Ames Pro-Administration Massachusetts 1 March 4, 1789 Chairman: Elections (1790)
2 Abraham Baldwin Anti-Administration Georgia 2
3 Egbert Benson Pro-Administration New York 3 Elected March 3–5, 1789
4 Theodorick Bland Anti-Administration Virginia 9 Died June 1, 1790
5 Elias Boudinot Pro-Administration New Jersey at-large Elected February 11-April 27, 1789
6 John Brown Anti-Administration Virginia 2
7 Aedanus Burke Anti-Administration South Carolina 2
8 Lambert Cadwalader Pro-Administration New Jersey at-large
9 Daniel Carroll Pro-Administration Maryland 6
10 George Clymer Pro-Administration Pennsylvania at-large
11 Isaac Coles Anti-Administration Virginia 6
12 Benjamin Contee Anti-Administration Maryland 3
13 Thomas Fitzsimons Pro-Administration Pennsylvania at-large Chairman: Ways and Means (July 24-September 17, 1789)
14 William Floyd Anti-Administration New York 1
15 George Gale Pro-Administration Maryland 5
16 Elbridge Gerry Anti-Administration Massachusetts 3
17 Nicholas Gilman Pro-Administration New Hampshire at-large
18 Benjamin Goodhue Pro-Administration Massachusetts 2
19 Samuel Griffin Pro-Administration Virginia 10
20 Jonathan Grout Anti-Administration Massachusetts 8
21 Thomas Hartley Pro-Administration Pennsylvania at-large
22 John Hathorn Anti-Administration New York 4
23 Daniel Hiester Anti-Administration Pennsylvania at-large
24 Daniel Huger Pro-Administration South Carolina 3
25 Benjamin Huntington Pro-Administration Connecticut at-large
26 James Jackson Anti-Administration Georgia 1
27 John Laurance Pro-Administration New York 2 Elected March 3–5, 1789
28 Richard B. Lee Pro-Administration Virginia 4
29 George Leonard Pro-Administration Massachusetts 7
30 Samuel Livermore Anti-Administration New Hampshire at-large
31 James Madison Anti-Administration Virginia 5
32 George Mathews Anti-Administration Georgia 3
33 Andrew Moore Anti-Administration Virginia 3
34 Frederick Muhlenberg Pro-Administration Pennsylvania at-large Speaker of the House, elected April 1, 1789[1]
35 Peter Muhlenberg Anti-Administration Pennsylvania at-large
36 John Page Anti-Administration Virginia 7
37 Josiah Parker Anti-Administration Virginia 8
38 George Partridge Pro-Administration Massachusetts 5 Resigned August 14, 1790
39 James Schureman Pro-Administration New Jersey at-large
40 Thomas Scott Pro-Administration Pennsylvania at-large
41 Theodore Sedgwick Pro-Administration Massachusetts 4 Elected May 11, 1789 [2]
42 Joshua Seney Anti-Administration Maryland 2
43 Roger Sherman Pro-Administration Connecticut at-large
44 Peter Silvester Pro-Administration New York 5 Elected March 3–5, 1789
45 Thomas Sinnickson Pro-Administration New Jersey at-large
46 William Smith Anti-Administration Maryland 4
47 William L. Smith Pro-Administration South Carolina 1
48 Michael J. Stone Anti-Administration Maryland 1
49 Jonathan Sturges Pro-Administration Connecticut at-large
50 Thomas Sumter Anti-Administration South Carolina 4
51 George Thatcher Pro-Administration Massachusetts 6
52 Jonathan Trumbull, Jr. Pro-Administration Connecticut at-large
53 Thomas T. Tucker Anti-Administration South Carolina 5
54 Jeremiah Van Rensselaer Anti-Administration New York 6
55 John M. Vining Pro-Administration Delaware at-large
56 Jeremiah Wadsworth Pro-Administration Connecticut at-large
57 Benjamin West n/a New Hampshire at-large Representative-elect, who declined to serve, probably in May 1789 [3]
58 Alexander White Pro-Administration Virginia 1
59 Henry Wynkoop Pro-Administration Pennsylvania at-large
Members joining the House, after the start of the Congress
... Abiel Foster Pro-Administration New Hampshire at-large June 22, 1789
60 Hugh Williamson Anti-Administration North Carolina 2 March 19, 1790 Took seat from newly represented state
61 John B. Ashe Anti-Administration North Carolina 1 March 24, 1790
62 Timothy Bloodworth Anti-Administration North Carolina 3 April 6, 1790
63 John Steele Pro-Administration North Carolina 4 April 19, 1790 Took seat from newly represented state
64 John Sevier Pro-Administration North Carolina 5 June 16, 1790
... William B. Giles Anti-Administration Virginia 9 December 7, 1790 Special election
65 Benjamin Bourne Pro-Administration Rhode Island at-large December 17, 1790 Elected August 31, 1790. Took seat from newly represented state.


  1. ^ Representatives are voting members of the United States House of Representatives and delegates are non-voting members.


  1. ^ "List of Speakers of the House". Office of the Historian, U.S. House of Representatives. Retrieved April 8, 2019.
  2. ^ United States Congressional Elections 1788-1997, page 2
  3. ^ United States Congressional Elections 1788-1997, page 2 and note 11 on page 3

Public Domain This article incorporates public domain material from the Biographical Directory of the United States Congress.

  • United States Congressional Elections 1788-1997, by Michael J. Dubin (McFarland and Company 1998) ISBN 0-7864-0283-0

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