Oliver Wolcott was a doctor, a soldier and a statesman. He was born on November 20, 1726 in Windsor, Connecticut, the14th child of Governor Roger Wolcott and Sarah Drake.
He attended Yale College and graduated in 1747 whereupon he entered the army and received a captain’s commission. He recruited a company at once and marched his men to the northern frontier where the French and Indian War was raging. When in 1748 he resigned his commission he had achieved the rank of major general.
General Wolcott studied medicine under the direction of his older brother, Dr. Alexander Wolcott and began a practice in Goshen, CT although he was soon appointed the first sheriff of the newly-organized county of Litchfield.
He settled in the town in 1751and built his house about 1753 on the east side of South Street, four house lots south of the present site of St. Anthony’s Church. On 21 January 1755 Oliver Wolcott married Lorraine/Laura Collins, daughter of Capt. Daniel Collins of Guilford.
They had five children:
Oliver b. 1757
Oliver b. 11 Jan 1760
Laura b. 1761
Marianne b. 1765
Frederick, b. 2 Nov. 1767
In 1774 General Wolcott was elected representative for the town in the General Assembly, a position to which he was re-elected annually until 1786. While a member of the council he was also Chief Judge of the Court of Common Pleas for the county and for many years judge of the Court of Probate for the district of Litchfield.
In January, 1776 General Wolcott took his seat in the second Continental Congress meeting at Philadelphia and participated in the famous debates over the Declaration of Independence. He signed the Declaration of Independence and returned to Connecticut where he was placed in command of a detachment of Connecticut militia of fourteen regiments raised to defend New York. In 1780 Wolcott was again re-elected to Congress, but his time was shared as it had been in his previous term between civil and military affairs. He also acted as an Indian agent during this time. He was one of the commissioners who settled the terms of peace with the Six Nations.
In 1786 General Wolcott was chosen Lieutenant Governor of Connecticut. He was re-elected to that office until 1796 when he was chosen governor.
He died December 1, 1797 and is buried in East Burying Ground in Litchfield, CT.
Norton, Frederick Calvin The Governors of Connecticut,
Hartford: The Connecticut Magazine, 1905 pp. 119 – 123
Rudd, A. Böemer Family of Henry Wolcott, Washington, D.C. 1950
Governor Oliver Wolcott Portrait
by Robert Earle 1782 from the Wolcott Memorial
Mrs. Oliver Wolcott [Laura Collins]
painted by Enis, 1782 from the Wolcott Memorial