WOLCOTT was born on November 26, 1726 in Litchfield,
Roger Wolcott, was judge of the county court when Oliver was born and
later served as colonial governor of Connecticut.One of the best scholars in his class, Oliver graduated from Yale in
1747, and in the same year, was commissioned a captain by the governor
of New York.Wolcott raised a company of volunteers and served on the
northern frontier until his regiment was disbanded.He then studied medicine with his brother, Dr. Alexander Wolcott,
but in 1751, before he entered his own practice, he was chosen
sheriff of the newly organized county of Litchfield, a post he held for twenty years.He was active
in the militia, and rose through the grades from captain to the rank of
major general. In 1755, he married Miss Collins, the daughter of a sea
captain from Guilford, to whom he remained married for forty years.
was a man of integrity and a professional politician who had spent most
of his adult life in public affairs.He came to the Second Congress, taking his seat in January, 1776
with a strong optimism about the eventuality of independence."A final separation between the countries I consider as
unavoidable," he told his wife in April 1776.He remained during the debates on the Declaration and until after
it was adopted.He then
left on June 28, 1776, the day Thomas Jefferson set the Declaration
before Congress and a week before final debates were to commence, to
return to Connecticut.Wolcott, who had not been home for six months, simply
believed the vote for independence was a certainty.
Wolcott was appointed by the governor of Connecticut to the command of
the fourteen regiments of Connecticut militia that were sent for the
defense of New York.A
gilded leaden statue of George III had been erected on Bowling Green in
New York City in 1770.In
1776, the statue was thrown down by the citizens and taken to
Wolcott's place in Litchfield, where his daughters and their friends
converted the material into cartridges for the militia.
returned to Congress on October 1, 1776 and signed the Declaration of
Independence. Wolcott devoted his life to public service and the
military, and was appointed in 1785 as one of the commissioners of
Indian affairs who negotiated a treaty of peace with the Six Nations. He
was elected governor of Connecticut in 1796, and he held that office
until the time of his death on December 1, 1797, at the age of
It is important
to note that Oliver Wolcott's son, Oliver Wolcott Jr (1760 – 1833),
succeeded Alexander Hamilton as Secretary of the Treasury under George
Washington.He was elected
Governor to Connecticut in 1817.
signed by Oliver Wolcott, Jr.
Free Franked address leaf, addressed in his hand to "Mrs. Laura
Wolcott, Litchfield, Connecticut," franked "Franked, O.
Wolcott." Unusual as normally a person would write the word
"Free" with his frank.
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