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Oliver Wolcott Sr.

Gov. Oliver Wolcott Sr.

  • January 4, 1796 - December 1, 1797
  • Federalist
  • November 19, 1726
  • December 1, 1797
  • Connecticut
  • Yale University
  • Married Laura Collins; five children
  • Succeeded, Died in office
  • National Guard
  • Signed the Declaration of Independence


OLIVER WOLCOTT, youngest son of Colonial Connecticut Governor Roger Wolcott (1751-1754), was born in Windsor, Connecticut, on November 20, 1726. He graduated from Yale University in 1747, and later studied medicine with his brother, but never practiced. Wolcott was commissioned a captain by the governor of New York, and raised a company of volunteers to serve on the northern border during the French and Indian War. He rejoined the militia in 1771, rising to the rank of major, and eventually becoming brigadier general of the entire Connecticut force, serving during the Revolutionary War. Wolcott first entered politics in 1751, when he was elected sheriff of Litchfield County, an office he held for 20 years. He was a member of the Connecticut State Council from 1774 to 1786, and served on the bench of Litchfield’s Probate Court from 1774 to 1781, and Litchfield’s County Court from 1774 to 1778.  In 1775 he was appointed by the Continental Congress to serve as a commissioner of Indian Affairs; he was a member of the Continental Congress from 1780 to 1783; and he was one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence. He served as Connecticut’s lieutenant governor from 1786 until January 5, 1796, when Governor Samuel Huntington died, and Wolcott assumed the governor’s office. On April 11, 1796, he was elected by popular vote to the governorship, and he was reelected to a second term on April 10, 1797. During his tenure, he served as a presidential elector, and cast his vote for John Adams and Thomas Pickney in 1796. On December 1, 1797, Governor Oliver Wolcott died in office, and he is buried at the East Cemetery in Litchfield, Connecticut. His son, Oliver Wolcott Jr. was governor of Connecticut from 1817-1827.


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.

Connecticut Society of the Sons of the American Revolution

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