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Wolcott, Oliver (1760-1833) | Litchfield Historical Society

Name: Wolcott, Oliver (1760-1833)
Variant Name: Oliver Wolcott, Jr.


Historical Note:

Oliver Wolcott was born on January 11, 1760 to Oliver Wolcott (1726-1797) and Laura Collins Wolcott.  On June 1, 1785, Oliver married Elizabeth (Betsey) Stoughton, the daughter of Captain John Stoughton. They had seven children.  He died on June 1, 1833 and is buried in the East Cemetery in Litchfield

Wolcott was well educated, and put his training to use through a noted political career.  He graduated from Yale in 1778 and entered  the Litchfield Law School, studying under Tapping Reeve. In 1781, he was admitted to the Bar and received a Master's degree from Yale.

His political appointments included the Committee of the General Assembly in 1782, followed by the Commissioner for the state of Connecticut, rising rapidly to the to the position of the Connecticut Comptroller in 1788 and, a year later, Auditor in the national Treasury Department. In 1791, he became the Comptroller of the United States Treasury.

In 1795, Oliver was appointed the second Secretary of the Treasury of the United States of America by George Washington. He held the position into the administration of John Adams, retiring in 1800.

In April of 1803, Oliver was elected president of Merchant's Bank and held the position for a year. He went on to help found the Bank of America and was elected its first president in 1812. He held that position for two years. After that retirement, he returned to Litchfield.

In 1817, Oliver ran for the seat of Governor of Connecticut under the Democratic/Toleration ticket and won. He was re-elected to the position for ten consecutive years, finally ending his administration in 1827.

In addition to a full public life, Wolcott served in the military during the Revolutionary War and enjoyed a successful business life.  His ventures included the Litchfield China Trading Company, Oliver Wolcott & Co., and the Litchfield Manufacturing Company (commonly known as the Wolcott Manufacturing Company.)  They included foreign trade, manufacturing merino wool, and retail sales.

Sources:

The Wolcott Memorial by Samuel Wolcott

(New York: Anson D. F. Randolph and Company, 1881)

Wolcott Genealogy by Robert C. Griffin and Mitchell R. Alegre

(The Society of Descendants of Henry Wolcott, 1986)

British and American Wolcotts by General Joseph C. Jackson

(Published by the author, 1912)

History of Litchfield, Connecticut, 1720 - 1920 by Alain C. White

(Litchfield, Connecticut Enquirer Print, 1920)

Note Author: Linda Hocking





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