This biography of Daniel Corbit
is from the
Encyclopedia of Delaware (1882). 
Bracketed material has been added.



DANIEL CORBIT, late of Odessa, Delaware, was born on the banks of the Schuykill [sic], near Philadelphia, October 2nd, 1796. He was the son of William Corbit, who was born in the same locality November 19th [second digit unclear], 1745. William Corbit was a merchant, tanner and farmer. He married first Mary Pennell, and had one child, Pennell Corbit, who married the daughter of Governor Clark.

 

The second wife of William Corbit was Sarah Fisher, a relative of Hon. John M. [initial unclear] Clayton, and of Judge Geo. P. [initial unclear] Fisher.

They had one child, William P. [initial unclear] Corbit, a prominent and wealthy merchant of Odessa. The third wife of William Corbit was Mary, daughter of John Cowgill, known in history as the Martyr Quaker of Little Creek, near Dover. By her he had five children: John C.; Mary; Thomas; Sarah, who married Presley Spruance of Delaware, U. S. Senator; and Daniel, the subject of our sketch. William Corbit died August 1st, 1817.

His parents were Daniel and Mary (Brinton) Corbit. The first American ancestor of the family was Daniel Corbit, a Scotch Quaker, who came to this country about the year 1700, and settled on Appoquinimink Creek. William Corbit removed with his family to Cantwell's Bridge, now Odessa, when his son Daniel was five years old, and resided in a large and imposing brick mansion, which is still standing in excellent condition. It was built by the father of William Corbit, in 1773, and was the home of Daniel Corbit and his family through life. His widow died there in 1880. Daniel Corbit was educated in Smyrna, Delaware at an excellent school of the Society of Friends. At the age of 16 he became a clerk in the store of William F. Corbit, his elder brother and at 21 purchased the tan-yard at Cantwell's Bridge, an industry which had been in operation since 1765, and which he conducted with great success till about 1850 [third digit unclear]. Shortly before that time he commenced invested his capital in real estate, to the improvement of which he devoted himself after closing his business at the above date. He was among the earliest and most successful peach growers of that section. During all his life he was practically the lawyer of the town. Possessed of a clear mind and sound judgment, he wrote all the legal papers, deeds, wills, mortgages required. He was for many years a director of the old Bank at Smyrna. In politics he was first a Federalist, next a Whig and finally a Republican; and was very prominent in local and public affairs. He was several times a member of the State Legislature, and was a member of the Constitutional Convention of 1852. Several times the attempt was made to nominate him for Governor, but this he peremptorily refused to allow. He was a man of the highest character.

All his manner and appearance indicated the native nobility of his nature, and impressed all who met him. He was very benevolent and as a strict Friend might well be chosen as a representative of the highest type of that order of Christians.

He was married in 1833, to Eliza, daughter of Andrew Naudain, and sister of Arnold Naudain, U. S. Senator. She was a member of the M. E. Church, a lady of remarkably lovely character, great intelligence, and fine culture. Their children were: John Cowgill Corbit, Louisa A. now wife of Captain Charles Corbit of St. Georges, a distant cousin, Daniel, who died at the age of 4 years, Dr. William Brinton Corbit, long in the Surgeon General's Department in Washington, and who died in July 1882, and Daniel Wheeler Corbit.

Mrs. Corbit died in December, 1844. In April 1847, Mr. Corbit married his cousin, Mary Corbit, daughter of David Wilson, a prominent and successful merchant of Odessa, of whom see notice in this volume. Mary, wife of [name unclear], of Wilmington, was the only child of this marriage. Mrs. Mary Corbit was a lady of striking sweetness and amiability of character. Her great benevolence, and her kindness and delicate consideration even for strangers, made her universally beloved.

Well read and possessing a mind of an uncommon order, she was a most fitting companion for her husband. Mr. Corbit died in May 1877, and his widow followed him, March 21st, 1880.