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Oliver Wolcott - One of America's Founding Fathers

Posted on Thursday, January 30, 2020

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Birth: November 20, 1726
Death: December 1, 1797 (age 71)
Colony: Connecticut
Occupation: Soldier, Merchant, Politician
Significance: Signed The Declaration of Independence (at the age of 50); and served as Governor of Connecticut (1796-1797)

Oliver Wolcott

Oliver Wolcott was one of the Founding Fathers of the United States. Born in Connecticut to a prominent family, Wolcott's father served as the Colonial Governor of Connecticut. Wolcott attended Yale College and graduated in 1747. After college, Wolcott served in the French and Indian War as a Captain of a Connecticut militia group. After the French and Indian War, Wolcott began working as a merchant, and in 1751, he was named sheriff of Litchfield County, Connecticut, a position he held for two decades.

When the Revolutionary War started outside of Boston, Wolcott served in the Connecticut Militia as a Brigadier General. While serving in the Revolutionary War, in 1775, Wolcott was elected and served in the Second Continental Congress. Wolcott voted for Independence, and he signed The Declaration of Independence. After signing The Declaration of Independence, Wolcott did not remain in Congress long and returned to fighting in the Revolution. Wolcott served under George Washington and then later under Horatio Gates. Wolcott participated in the Battles of Saratoga, a highly influential American victory. In 1779 Wolcott was named major general of the Connecticut militia and served in this capacity for the rest of the American Revolution.

After the Revolutionary War concluded, Wolcott was elected Lieutenant Governor of Connecticut in 1786 and held the position until 1796 when he was elected Governor of Connecticut. Wolcott served as Governor for the rest of his life until his death on December 1, 1797 at the age of 71.

Oliver Wolcott in Philadelphia

Wolcott first came to Philadelphia in 1775 as a Delegate to the Second Continental Congress. While serving as a member of the Second Continental Congress, Wolcott worked at Independence Hall, and he signed The Declaration of Independence.

A plaque commemorating Wolcott for signing The Declaration of Independence can be found on Signers' Walk on the 600 block of Chestnut Street (between 5th and 6th Street). Signers' Garden pays tribute to the Founding Fathers, including those such as Wolcott who signed The Declaration of Independence. Today,  Independence Hall, Signers' Walk and Signers' Garden are all stops visited along The Constitutional Walking Tour!

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