Oliver Wolcott

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Founding Fathers
Oliver Wolcott
State Connecticut
Religion Christian- Congregationalist [1]
Founding Documents Declaration of Independence,
Articles of Confederation

Oliver Wolcott Sr. (December 1, 1726 – December 1, 1797) was an American Founding Father. He was a graduate of Yale College, a Captain during the French and Indian War and Sheriff of Litchfield County. Oliver Wolcott would become Brigadier General of the entire Connecticut force, under command of the Continental Armies. He was a delegate to the Continental Congress from Connecticut that signed the Declaration of Independence. He also served as a Lt. Governor and the Governor of Connecticut.

Early life

Oliver Wolcott was the youngest of fourteen children of then Royal Governor Roger Wolcott and Sarah Drake Wolcott. During his graduate year at Yale College 1747,[2] Oliver would be appointed Captain by George Clinton, the Governor of New York. Marching his men to the northern frontier he took an active part in the French and Indian War near the Canadian border[3] while it was then raging, until 1748 at the signing of the Treaty of Aix-La-Chapelle.[4] He would later organize an all-volunteer militia and be sent to the Western frontier.

When Wolcott returned he would pursue a study in medicine until appointed Sheriff. In 1755, he was married to a Miss Laura Collins and they had several sons and daughters. His son Oliver, Jr. would also be Governor of Connecticut as well as Secretary of the Treasury under Presidents George Washington and John Adams.

American Revolution

In 1771, he rejoined the Militia as revolutionary tensions grew. He was made a Major, and later a Colonel in the Connecticut Militia. In 1774 the Continental Congress appointed him a Commissioner of Indian Affairs. Together with Arthur Lee and Richard Butler, Wolcott successfully secured a treaty at the council at Albany with the Six Nations of the Iroquois Confederacy.[5]

He was elected to the Continental Congress in 1775 but was not very active due to his heavy involvement in military affairs. He would tell his wife, "A final separation between the countries I consider as unavoidable." [6]

From Findagrave.com,

While returning to Connecticut, he passed through New York City, where General George Washington ordered the newly approved Declaration of Independence to be read to the troops, on July 9. That night, New York patriots pulled down the statue of King George III, sending the head of the statue back to England in a display of rebellion. Wolcott placed the remaining pieces of the statue into a wagon and shipped it to his home in Litchfield, where it was melted down and made into bullets for the Revolutionary Army. According to one account, 42,000 bullets were made from this statue, to be fired at British troops.

During the course of war, he would be promoted to Brigadier General of the entire Connecticut force by Governor Jonathan Trumbull,[7] commanding fourteen regiments of the state militia for the defense of New York. Wolcott assisted General Horatio Gates and Benedict Arnold in the memorable defeat of the British army under General John Burgoyne at the Battle of Saratoga. Wolcott served Congress until 1784 and then retired.

Later years

In 1786 he was elected Lieutenant Governor on the Federalist ticket. In 1796 he was elected Governor of Connecticut, a position he held until his death at age seventy-one. Born and died on December 1, he is buried at the East Cemetery in Litchfield.


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