Roger Wolcott (Connecticut)

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For other men with this name, see Roger Wolcott (disambiguation).
Deputy Governor
In office
1741–1750
Preceded by Jonathan Law
Succeeded by Thomas Fitch
Personal details
Born (1679-01-04)January 4, 1679
Windsor, Connecticut
Died May 17, 1767(1767-05-17) (aged 88)
Windsor, Connecticut
Spouse(s) Sarah Drake Wolcott
Children Roger Wolcott

Elizabeth Wolcott Newberry

Alexander Wolcott

Josiah Wolcott

Erastus Wolcott

Ursula Wolcott Griswold

Oliver Wolcott

Occupation weaver

politician

Illustration of the grave of Roger Wolcott and wife Sarah, Old Burying Ground, Windsor

Roger Wolcott (January 4, 1679 – May 17, 1767) was an American weaver and statesman from Windsor, Connecticut. He served as colonial governor of Connecticut from 1751 to 1754.

Biography[edit]

Wolcott was born to Simon and Martha (Pitkin) Wolcott in Windsor, Connecticut. His formal education was severely limited by the nature of the frontier village, so at age twelve he was apprenticed to a weaver, and at the age of twenty-one entered that business on his own. He married Sarah Drake on December 3, 1702, and they had fifteen children before her death in 1748.[1] Their son Oliver Wolcott signed the Declaration of Independence and went on to become governor of Connecticut.

Career[edit]

In May 1709, Wolcott was admitted to the bar and began to practice law.[2] In 1711, during Queen Anne's War, He accompanied militia forces on an expedition to Quebec as a commissary. On his return he was elected to the colony's Lower House. In 1714 he was elected to the Upper House (also called the Council) and remained a member until 1750. He was made judge of the Hartford County court in 1721 and of the colony's supreme court in 1732.

In 1741 Wolcott was elected Deputy Governor of the colony. As deputy governors traditionally served as the Chief Justice of the Superior Court of Connecticut, he also assumed that position, which he held until 1750.

In 1745 Wolcott was again active in the militia, this time as a Major General. In King George's War, Massachusetts governor William Shirley issued a general call to the New England colonies for an expedition against the French in Île-Royale (present-day Cape Breton Island). General Wolcott headed the Connecticut troops in Sir William Pepperrell's expedition that captured Fortress Louisbourg.[3]

With the death of Governor Jonathan Law in 1750, Wolcott succeeded to the position of governor. He was re-elected annually to that position through 1753. Shortly after he retired as governor, his son, Roger Wolcott, Jr., attended negotiations with six other British colonies and around 200 members of various Indian nations at the Albany Congress in June and July 1754. During his administration, a disabled Spanish ship, the St. Joseph and St. Helena, with a cargo valued at 400,000 Spanish dollars, ran aground near New London.

Wolcott ordered the ship seized and the cargo impounded in order to allow time to resolve conflicting claims between the vessel's captain and the salvage crew. While in the colony's custody, a large portion of the ship's cargo mysteriously disappeared. Tainted with the scandal surrounding the Spanish Ship case, he was defeated for re-election in 1754. All previous governors had died in office.[4] Following his defeat, Wolcott generally withdrew from public life to study and follow literary pursuits. In 1759, Wolcott authored a short history of the Connecticut colony titled, Roger Wolcott's Memoir Relating to the History of Connecticut.

Death[edit]

Wolcott died at home in Windsor and is interred at the Old Burying Ground (Palisado Cemetery) there.[5]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Roger Wolcott". Connecticut State Library. Retrieved 18 January 2013. 
  2. ^ "Roger Wolcott". Connecticut Historical Society. Retrieved 18 January 2013. 
  3. ^ Roger Wolcott, Connecticut State Library 
  4. ^ Roger Wolcott. The governors of Connecticut: biographies of the chief executives. Retrieved 18 January 2013. 
  5. ^ "Roger Wolcott". The Political Graveyard. Retrieved 18 January 2013. 

External links[edit]


Political offices
Preceded by
Jonathan Law
Governor of the Connecticut Colony
1750–54
Succeeded by
Thomas Fitch