-Our last delegate from Connecticut.
-Signed both the Declaration of Independence and the Articles of Confederation.
-He is quoted as saying, “I shall most cheerfully render my country every service in my power.”
-Lived from November 20th, 1726 — December 1st, 1797.
-He was born in Windsor, Connecticut.
-Wolcott was the youngest of 14 or 15 children (there is some debate).
-He graduated as head of his class from Yale.
-His father was a colonial governor in Connecticut.
-Wolcott served as a captain in the army during King George’s War with the French in Canada.
-Upon returning from the war, he studied medicine under his brother.
-He became a sheriff of Litchfield, Connecticut in 1751.
-After becoming sheriff, Wolcott began studying law.
-He married Laura Collins in 1755 and they had five children.
-Wolcott served as a member of the state council for 12 years.
-While serving on the state council, Wolcott held the offices of chief judge of the Court of Common Pleas and also judge of the probate.
-The Continental Congress appointed him a commissioner of Indian Affairs in 1775. The goal of this group was to encourage the Indians to stay neutral during the American War for Independence.
-Because of illness, Wolcott was absent for many of the discussions about the Declaration of Independence. He ended up signing the Declaration of Independence at a later date.
-He rose to the rank of major in the a colonial militia and led 14 regiments to the defense of New York City in 1776.
-Wolcott’s children helped make bullets out of a melted part of a statue of King George III that Wolcott brought back with him from New York City.
-He later advanced to the rank of general. As Marilyn Boyer writes,
“He aided General Horation Gertis in his victory over British General John Burgoyne at Saratoga, New York.”
-He served as the 2nd United States Secretary of the Treasury from 1795-1800.
-He was Lt. Governor of Connecticut from 1786-1796.
-He took part in debates over the U.S. Constitution.
-Wolcott died while serving as Governor of Connecticut in 1797.
-Author John Sanderson wrote of him,
“His integrity was inflexible, his morals were strictly pure, and his faith that of an humble Christian, untainted by bigotry or intolerance. Mr. Wolcott was personally acquainted with, and esteemed by, most of the great actors of the American revolution, and his name is recorded in connection with many of its most important events. It is the glory of our country, that the fabric of American greatness was reared by the united toils and exertions of patriots in every state, supported by a virtuous and intelligent people. It is peculiar to our revolution, and distinguishes it from every other, that it was recommended, commenced, conducted, and terminated under the auspices of men, who, with few exceptions, enjoyed public confidence during every vicissitude of fortune. It is therefore sufficient for any individual to say of him, that he was distinguished for his virtues, his talents, and his services.”
-Wolcott, Connecticut was named after him and also his son, Oliver Jr. He also had a school named after him.
-Both his father, John, and son, Oliver Jr., also served as governors of Connecticut making their family the only American family with three consecutive generations of governors.
-Photo credit: Wikipedia public domain
–For You They Signed, Marilyn Boyer
–Biography of the Signers to the Declaration of Independence, John Sanderson
–They Signed For Us, Merle Sinclair and Annabel Douglas MacArthur