WILLIAM WOLCOTT ELLSWORTH, son of Oliver Ellsworth, a Congressman and U.S. Supreme Court Justice, was born in Windsor, Connecticut, on November 10, 1791. He graduated from Yale University in 1810, studied law, and was admitted to the bar in 1813. In 1817 Ellsworth was appointed a professor of law at Trinity College, a position he held until his death. He entered politics as a member of the U.S. House of Representatives, serving from 1829 to 1834. Ellsworth won the 1838 gubernatorial nomination, and was elected Governor of Connecticut. He was reelected in 1839, 1840, and 1841. During his tenure, a progressive method for voter registration was constituted, a school commission was founded, and insignificant legislation passed in an effort to improve Connecticut's unstable financial system. Ellsworth won the 1842 gubernatorial popular vote, but the legislature decided that Democrat Chauncey F. Cleveland was the next governor. Ellsworth returned to his law practice, and in 1847, was appointed an associate justice of the State Supreme Court and the Supreme Court of Errors, a position he held until 1861. Governor William W. Ellsworth died on January 15, 1868, and he is buried at the Old North Cemetery in Hartford, Connecticut.
Sobel, Robert, and John Raimo, eds. Biographical Directory of the Governors of the United States, 1789-1978, Vol. 1, Westport, Conn.; Meckler Books, 1978 4 vols.