Oliver Wolcott Jr.
Oliver Wolcott Jr.
|24th Governor of Connecticut|
May 8, 1817 – May 2, 1827
|Preceded by||John Cotton Smith|
|Succeeded by||Gideon Tomlinson|
|Judge of the United States Circuit Court for the Second Circuit|
February 20, 1801 – July 1, 1802
|Appointed by||John Adams|
|Preceded by||Seat established by 2 Stat. 89|
|Succeeded by||Seat abolished|
|2nd United States Secretary of the Treasury|
February 3, 1795 – December 31, 1800
|Preceded by||Alexander Hamilton|
|Succeeded by||Samuel Dexter|
Oliver Wolcott Jr.
January 11, 1760
Litchfield, Connecticut Colony, British America
|Died||June 1, 1833 (aged 73)|
New York City, New York, U.S.
|Political party||Federalist (Before 1816)|
Oliver Wolcott Jr. (January 11, 1760 – June 1, 1833) was an American politician and judge. He was the second United States Secretary of the Treasury, a judge of the United States Circuit Court for the Second Circuit, and the 24th Governor of Connecticut.
Education and career
Born on January 11, 1760, in Litchfield, Connecticut Colony, British America, Wolcott served in the Continental Army from 1777 to 1779, during the American Revolutionary War, then graduated from Yale University in 1778 and read law in 1781.
He was clerk of the Connecticut Committee on Pay-Table from 1781 to 1782. He was a member of the Connecticut Committee on Pay-Table from 1782 to 1784. He was a commissioner to settle claims of Connecticut against the United States from 1784 to 1788. He was Comptroller of Public Accounts for Connecticut from 1788 to 1789. He was Auditor for the United States Department of the Treasury from 1789 to 1791. He was Comptroller for the United States Department of the Treasury from 1791 to 1795. He was a commission merchant in New York City from 1793 to 1815. He was the 2nd Secretary of the Treasury from 1795 to 1800.
Martha Washington's escaped slave
On May 21, 1796, one of Martha Washington's slaves, Oney Judge (sometimes known as Ona), escaped from the Executive Mansion in Philadelphia, where she lived with the Washingtons during his presidency, serving as Washington's chambermaid. As Secretary, Wolcott was George Washington's intermediary in getting the Collector of Customs for Portsmouth, New Hampshire, Joseph Whipple, to capture and send Judge to Mount Vernon, where she had begun serving the Washingtons. Whipple met with Judge, discussed why she had escaped and tried to ascertain the facts of the case. After she told him she did not desire to be a slave again, Whipple refused to remove Judge against her will, said that it could cause civil unrest because of abolitionists, and recommended for the president to go through the courts if necessary. In their correspondence, Washington said that he wanted to avoid controversy and so he did not use the courts to take advantage of the method that he had signed into law under the Fugitive Slave Act of 1793.
Washington allegedly made another attempt to apprehend her in 1798, by his nephew, Burwell Bassett, but considering Bassett's spurious political alignment[clarification needed] the allegation is skeptical at best and fraudulent at worst. According to the purported request, he was instructed to convince her to return or to take her by force, but Judge was warned by senator John Langdon and hid. Wolcott's involvement with this case ended with the first attempt to return Judge to slavery.
Federal judicial service
Wolcott was nominated by President John Adams on February 18, 1801, to the United States Circuit Court for the Second Circuit, to a new seat authorized by 2 Stat. 89. He was confirmed by the United States Senate on February 20, 1801, and received his commission the same day. His service terminated on July 1, 1802, due to the abolition of the court.
Wolcott was a farmer from 1815 to 1816. He was the 24th Governor of Connecticut from 1817 to 1827. He was a candidate for Governor of Connecticut in 1827. He was the 5th Grand Master of the Most Worshipful Grand Lodge of the State of Connecticut of Ancient, Free & Accepted Masons from 1818 to 1820.
Wolcott died on June 1, 1833, in New York City. He was the last surviving cabinet member of the Washington administration.
The town of Wolcott, Connecticut, was named in honor of Oliver Jr. and his father Oliver Sr. About 1798, Fort Washington on Goat Island in Newport, Rhode Island was renamed Fort Wolcott. Fort Wolcott was an active fortification until 1836. It later became the site of the United States Naval Torpedo Station, which became the location of the United States Naval War College.
- Oliver Wolcott at the Biographical Directory of Federal Judges, a public domain publication of the Federal Judicial Center.
- Chernow, Ron (2004). Alexander Hamilton. New York: Penguin Books. pp. 479–627. ISBN 978-0143034759.