A lifelong resident of this community, James Ponder was born October 31, 1819, the son of John and Hester Milby Ponder. His father was a successful merchant who was active in local political affairs. After receiving his education in the academies of Milton, Lewes, and Georgetown, James joined his father in business. In addition to general merchandising, the firm was active in the shipping of grain and lumber, and the construction, purchase, and sale of ships. James Ponder was elected to the State House of Representatives in 1856. He was elected to the State Senate in 1864, and served as Speaker in 1867. In 1870 he was the Democrat Party's successful candidate for Governor. After completing his term in 1875 he continued his business endeavors, bringing one of the first canneries to the area in 1881 and playing a key role in the construction of the Queen Anne's Railroad. He was President of the Kent County Mutual Insurance Company and Director of the Farmer's Bank of Delaware. He served as warden of St. John the Baptist Protestant Episcopal Church and was an active member of the Masonic order. James Ponder passed away on November 5, 1897, and was laid to rest in Milton's Goshen Cemetery.