Wolcott, Oliver,1726–97, political leader in the American Revolution, signer of the Declaration of Independence, b. South Windsor (then in Windsor), Conn.; son of Roger Wolcott. He fought in King George's War, and upon his return to Connecticut he entered a legal and public career. Wolcott held several judicial posts and in 1775 was named a Native American commissioner to obtain the neutrality of the Iroquois in the conflict with Great Britain. He was a general in the Saratoga campaign and a prominent figure in Connecticut politics as a delegate to the Continental Congress (1775–78, 1780–84), lieutenant governor (1786–96), and governor (1796–97).
Wolcott, Oliver,1760–1833, U.S. Secretary of the Treasury (1795–1800), b. Litchfield, Conn; son of Oliver Wolcott. Admitted to the bar in 1781, he served as Connecticut comptroller (1788–89), auditor of the U.S. treasury (1789–91), and U.S. comptroller (1791–95). A Federalist and loyal follower of Alexander Hamilton, he succeeded Hamilton as Secretary of the Treasury and was bitterly, but unfairly, attacked by Republicans for misappropriating funds. Wolcott left the Federalist party during the War of 1812, and was elected (1817) governor of Connecticut as a Republican, serving until 1827. As president of the 1818 state constitutional convention, he led the successful fight for a wider suffrage, an independent judiciary, and the disestablishment of the Congregationalist Church.
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Wolcott, Oliver(1760–1833) cabinet member, governor; born in Litchfield, Conn. A lawyer, he became a U.S. treasury auditor (1789–91), then U.S. comptroller (1791–95). He won the support of Alexander Hamilton, whom he succeeded as secretary of the treasury (1795–1800), but caught between the machinations of his friend Hamilton and other Federalists, and frustrated by his inability to improve the nation's financial situation, he retired from the treasury. Moving to New York City about 1803, he turned to business and then became president of the Bank of America (1812–15). He then returned to Litchfield, Conn., where he became a gentleman farmer. Having switched to the Democratic-Republican Party, he became governor of Connecticut (1817–27) and during those years he introduced such major reforms as separation of governmental powers and separation of church and state, and generally introduced new democratic policies.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.