Virtual Museum of Art | Virtual Museum of History | Virtual Public Library | Virtual Science Center | Virtual Museum of Natural History | Virtual War Museum
   You are in: Museum of History >> Hall of USA >> US Chief Justices >> OLIVER ELLSWORTH

American’s Four United Republics: Discovery-Based Curriculum

For More Information go to America's Four United Republics Curriculum


Oliver Ellsworth


3d Chief Justice of the U.S. SUPREME COURT (1796-99)

Image Copyright 2001 Virtualology, Inc. 

Handwriting Sample provided by the Gallery of Fame.

ELLSWORTH, Oliver, jurist, born in Windsor, Colin., 29 April 1745; died there, 26 November 1807. He entered Yale in 1762, but afterward went to Princeton, where he was graduated in 1766. with high rank as a scholar. After a year's study of theology he abandoned it for the law, and was admitted to the bar of Hartford County in 1771. He married in the following year, and for three years divided his attention between farming and practice. Becoming states' attorney in 1775, he sold his farm, removed to Hartford, and soon acquired a larger and more remunerative practice than any other member of the Connecticut bar. As a Whig he was chosen, at the outbreak of the Revolution, to represent Windsor in the general assembly, was one of the committee of four, called "the Paytable," that managed all the military finances of the colony, and in October, 1778, took his seat as a delegate to the Continental congress, where he served on the marine committee (acting as a board of admiralty) and the committee of appeals. By yearly election, from 1780 till 1784, he was a member of the governor's council, in which he held unrivalled influence, and in June 1783, left his seat in congress and, although reelected, declined to serve.  

In 1784 he declined the appointment of commissioner of the treasury, tendered by congress, but accepted a legislative assignment as judge of the Connecticut superior court, which he held until made a member of the Federal convention at Philadelphia in May 1787. Here he was conspicuous in advocacy of the rights of the individual states, and it was on his motion that the words "National government" were expunged from the constitution and the words "Government of the United States" substituted. His name was not affixed to that document, because pressing domestic considerations compelled his return home as soon as all of the provisions of the constitution had been completed; but his force and energy were successful the next year in securing its ratification, against much opposition, in the Connecticut state convention.


When the new government was organized at New York in 1789, he was one of the senators from Connecticut, and was chairman of the committee for organizing the U. S. judiciary, the original bill, in his own handwriting, passing with but slight alterations, and its provisions being still in force. His watchfulness over the public expenditures earned for him the title of "the Cerberus of the Treasury," and his abilities were strenuously exercised in building up the financial credit of the government, and for the encouragement and protection of manufactures. John Adams spoke of him as "the finest pillar of Washington's whole administration," and he was, by common consent, the Federalist leader in the senate.  

He suggested the mission of John Jay to England in 1794, and by his influence Jay's treaty, though strenuously opposed in the House of Representatives, was defended and approved by the senate. In March 1796, he was appointed chief justice of the U. S. Supreme Court, and served with distinguished ability till 1799, when President Adams, on the recommendation of the senate, appointed him, with Patrick Henry and Governor William R. Davie, an extraordinary commission to negotiate with France, the relations between which nation and the United States were then severely strained. On reaching Paris, 2 March 1800, they found Napoleon Bonaparte at the head of the new republic, and soon concluded a satisfactory adjustment of all disputes.  

The negotiations and discussions were conducted almost exclusively by Judge Ellsworth, and secured all the points most essential to the securing of peace, including a recognition from France of the rights of neutral vessels, and an indemnity for depredations on American commerce. Ill health preventing his immediate return, Mr. Ellsworth sent home his resignation as chief justice and visited England, where, while trying the mineral springs at Bath and elsewhere, he became the recipient of marked attention from the court and from leading public men, as well as from the English bench and bar. After his return to his home in April 1801, his impaired health decided him to remain free from the cares of public life, but in 1802 he was again elected a member of the governor's council, which acted as a Supreme Court of errors, being the final court of appeals in Connecticut from all inferior courts of state jurisdiction. 

In May 1807, on a reorganization of the state judiciary, he was appointed chief justice of the Supreme Court, but failing health compelled his resignation within a few months, and he died soon afterward. His extraordinary endowments, accomplishments as an advocate, integrity as a judge, patriotism as a legislator and ambassador, and sincerity as a Christian, were fitly complemented by a fine personal presence and by manners at once plain, unaffected, and social, yet tinctured with a courtliness and dignity which impressed all with whom he came in contact. In 1790 Yale, and in 1797 both Dartmouth and Princeton conferred on him the degree of LB. D.-- Edited AC  Biography Copyright© 2001 by VirtualologyTM

US Bureau of Engraving
Born April 29, 1745, in Windsor, CT
Died November 26, 1807, in Windsor, CT

Federal Judicial Service:
Supreme Court of the United States, Chief Justice
Nominated by George Washington on March 3, 1796, to a seat vacated by John Jay; Confirmed by the Senate on March 4, 1796, and received commission on March 4, 1796. Service terminated on September 30, 1800, due to resignation.

Princeton University, B.A., 1766

Read law, 1771

Professional Career:
Private practice, Windsor, Connecticut, 1771-1775
Member, Connecticut General Assembly, 1773-1775
Private practice, Hartford, Connecticut, 1775-1784
State's attorney, Hartford, Connecticut, 1777-1785
Delegate, Continental Congress, 1778-1783
Member, Connecticut Council of Safety, 1779
Member, Connecticut Governor's Council, 1784-1785
Judge, Connecticut Superior Court, 1784-1789
Delegate, United States Constitutional Convention, 1787
U.S. Senator from Connecticut, 1789-1796
U.S. Minister Plenipotentiary to France, 1799-1800
Member, Connecticut Governor's Council, 1801-1807

Race or Ethnicity: White

Gender: Male
Manuscript sources

Source: Federal Judicial Center

Research Links

Virtualology is not affiliated with the authors of these links nor responsible for each Link's content

Ellsworth, Oliver
... Ellsworth, Oliver, 1745 1807 , American political leader, third Chief Justice of
the United States (1796 1800), b. Windsor, Conn. A Hartford lawyer, he was ...

USA: Oliver Ellsworth
A Biography of Oliver Ellsworth (1745-1807). quote
Oliver Ellsworth was born on April 29, 1745 ...

Ellsworth, Oliver
... Ellsworth, Oliver (1745-1807), one of the nation's founding fathers and third Chief
Justice of the United States, received half of his undergraduate education ...

Ellsworth, Oliver
Ellsworth, Oliver (1745 1807), US statesman and jurist, born in Windsor, Conn.;
US senator from Connecticut 1789 96; drafted bill organizing federal courts ...

Ellsworth, Oliver. The Columbia Encyclopedia, Sixth Edition. ...
... The Columbia Encyclopedia, Sixth Edition. 2001. Ellsworth, Oliver. 1745 1807, American
political leader, third Chief Justice of the United States (1796 1800), b ...

... 1799. ELLSWORTH, Oliver (1745-1807), American statesman,
third chief justice of the US (1796-99). ...

Oliver Ellsworth Writings and Biography
Oliver Ellsworth Writings and Biography. Ellsworth, Oliver; 1745-1807; lawyer, statesman,
judge; member of Continental Congress 1777-1783; member of Governor's ...

Oliver Ellsworth
Oliver Ellsworth. 1745-1807. Connecticut. Connecticut Legislature; Continental Congress,
1778-83; Governor's Council and State judge; Deputy to United States ...

Oliver Ellsworth
... Oliver Ellsworth lived from 1745 to 1807. He was an American political leader and
the third Chief Justice of the United States from 1796 to 1800. Ellsworth was ...

The Political Graveyard: Index to Politicians: Ellsworth
... Cemetery, Albuquerque, NM (See also his congressional biography.); Ellsworth,
Oliver (1745-1807) Father of William Wolcott Ellsworth. Born in Windsor, Conn ...

Judges of the United States Courts
... Topics | Courthouses | Publications | Links | Contact ] Ellsworth, Oliver Born April
29, 1745, in Windsor, CT Died November 26, 1807, in Windsor, CT Federal ...

National Historic Landmarks Database
... 1989): From 1782 to 1807, Elmwood was the Connecticut home of Oliver Ellsworth (1745-1807),
a framer of the United States Constitution, author of the Judiciary ...

Geo Washington letter to Oliver Ellsworth
... Oliver Ellsworth's lineage* goes as follows: Oliver Ellsworth, April 29, 1745, in
Windsor, CT, d. November 26, 1807 s/o David Ellsworth, 17 Jul 1709-5 Mar 1782 ...

Delegates to the Constitutional Convention: Connecticut
... born on April 29, 1745, in Windsor, CT ... the Pay Table, Oliver Ellsworth was one ... in early
1801, Ellsworth retired from public ... on November 26, 1807, and was buried ...

Oliver Ellsworth Homestead
... Born in 1745, Oliver Ellsworth was one of the ... Ellsworth and his wife, Abigail Wolcott ... they
remained until his death in 1807. While living at the Homestead ...
... Ellsworth, David, 1944 --. Ellsworth, Lincoln, 1880
-- 1951. Ellsworth, Oliver, 1745 -- 1807. Ellsworth ...

Anti-Federalist Society
... Chapel Cemetery, Millwood, Va. (See also his congressional biography.) Ellsworth,
Oliver (1745-1807) Father of William Wolcott Ellsworth. Born in Windsor, Conn ...

... , Oliver Ellsworth (1745-1807) Connecticut Senator, jurist Oliver Ellsworth
and Rufus King corner John Taylor of Caroline County, Virginia in a Senate ...

Start your search on OLIVER ELLSWORTH.

America's Four United Republics Exhibit - Click Here

Unauthorized Site: This site and its contents are not affiliated, connected, associated with or authorized by the individual, family, friends, or trademarked entities utilizing any part or the subject's entire name. Any official or affiliated sites that are related to this subject will be hyper linked below upon submission and Evisum, Inc. review.

Research Links

  • Supreme Court of the United States
  • Supreme Court Collection

    Copyright© 2000 by Evisum Inc.TM. All rights reserved.
    Evisum Inc.TM Privacy Policy

  • Search:

    About Us



    Image Use

    Please join us in our mission to incorporate America's Four United Republics discovery-based curriculum into the classroom of every primary and secondary school in the United States of America by July 2, 2026, the nation’s 250th birthday. , the United States of America: We The People Click Here


    Childhood & Family

    Click Here


    Historic Documents

    Articles of Association

    Articles of Confederation 1775

    Articles of Confederation

    Article the First

    Coin Act

    Declaration of Independence

    Declaration of Independence

    Emancipation Proclamation

    Gettysburg Address

    Monroe Doctrine

    Northwest Ordinance

    No Taxation Without Representation

    Thanksgiving Proclamations

    Mayflower Compact

    Treaty of Paris 1763

    Treaty of Paris 1783

    Treaty of Versailles

    United Nations Charter

    United States In Congress Assembled

    US Bill of Rights

    United States Constitution

    US Continental Congress

    US Constitution of 1777

    US Constitution of 1787

    Virginia Declaration of Rights


    Historic Events

    Battle of New Orleans

    Battle of Yorktown

    Cabinet Room

    Civil Rights Movement

    Federalist Papers

    Fort Duquesne

    Fort Necessity

    Fort Pitt

    French and Indian War

    Jumonville Glen

    Manhattan Project

    Stamp Act Congress

    Underground Railroad

    US Hospitality

    US Presidency

    Vietnam War

    War of 1812

    West Virginia Statehood

    Woman Suffrage

    World War I

    World War II


    Is it Real?

    Declaration of

    Digital Authentication
    Click Here


    America’s Four Republics
    The More or Less United States

    Continental Congress
    U.C. Presidents

    Peyton Randolph

    Henry Middleton

    Peyton Randolph

    John Hancock


    Continental Congress
    U.S. Presidents

    John Hancock

    Henry Laurens

    John Jay

    Samuel Huntington


    Constitution of 1777
    U.S. Presidents

    Samuel Huntington

    Samuel Johnston
    Elected but declined the office

    Thomas McKean

    John Hanson

    Elias Boudinot

    Thomas Mifflin

    Richard Henry Lee

    John Hancock
    Chairman David Ramsay]

    Nathaniel Gorham

    Arthur St. Clair

    Cyrus Griffin


    Constitution of 1787
    U.S. Presidents

    George Washington 

    John Adams
    Federalist Party

    Thomas Jefferson
    Republican* Party

    James Madison 
    Republican* Party

    James Monroe
    Republican* Party

    John Quincy Adams
    Republican* Party
    Whig Party

    Andrew Jackson
    Republican* Party
    Democratic Party

    Martin Van Buren
    Democratic Party

    William H. Harrison
    Whig Party

    John Tyler
    Whig Party

    James K. Polk
    Democratic Party

    David Atchison**
    Democratic Party

    Zachary Taylor
    Whig Party

    Millard Fillmore
    Whig Party

    Franklin Pierce
    Democratic Party

    James Buchanan
    Democratic Party

    Abraham Lincoln 
    Republican Party

    Jefferson Davis***
    Democratic Party

    Andrew Johnson
    Republican Party

    Ulysses S. Grant 
    Republican Party

    Rutherford B. Hayes
    Republican Party

    James A. Garfield
    Republican Party

    Chester Arthur 
    Republican Party

    Grover Cleveland
    Democratic Party

    Benjamin Harrison
    Republican Party

    Grover Cleveland 
    Democratic Party

    William McKinley
    Republican Party

    Theodore Roosevelt
    Republican Party

    William H. Taft 
    Republican Party

    Woodrow Wilson
    Democratic Party

    Warren G. Harding 
    Republican Party

    Calvin Coolidge
    Republican Party

    Herbert C. Hoover
    Republican Party

    Franklin D. Roosevelt
    Democratic Party

    Harry S. Truman
    Democratic Party

    Dwight D. Eisenhower
    Republican Party

    John F. Kennedy
    Democratic Party

    Lyndon B. Johnson 
    Democratic Party 

    Richard M. Nixon 
    Republican Party

    Gerald R. Ford 
    Republican Party

    James Earl Carter, Jr. 
    Democratic Party

    Ronald Wilson Reagan 
    Republican Party

    George H. W. Bush
    Republican Party 

    William Jefferson Clinton
    Democratic Party

    George W. Bush 
    Republican Party

    Barack H. Obama
    Democratic Party

    Please Visit

    Forgotten Founders
    Norwich, CT

    Annapolis Continental
    Congress Society

    U.S. Presidency
    & Hospitality

    © Stan Klos





    Virtual Museum of Art | Virtual Museum of History | Virtual Public Library | Virtual Science Center | Virtual Museum of Natural History | Virtual War Museum