The American Cyclopædia (1879)/Ellsworth, Oliver
ELLSWORTH. I. Oliver, an American statesman and jurist, born in Windsor, Conn., April 29, 1745, died Nov. 26, 1807. He graduated at the college of New Jersey in 1766, and soon after commenced the practice of law. In 1777 he was chosen a delegate to the continental congress, and he was a member of the council of Connecticut from 1780 to 1784, when he was appointed a judge of the superior court. In 1787 he was elected to the convention which framed the federal constitution, and was afterward a member of the state convention which ratified that instrument. He was a senator of the United States from 1789 to 1796, when he was nominated by Washington chief justice of the supreme court of the United States, over which he presided with great distinction, his opinions being marked by sound legal and ethical principles, in clear and felicitous language. In 1799 he was appointed by President Adams envoy extraordinary to Paris, and with his associates, Davie and Murray, he successfully negotiated a treaty with the French. This accomplished, and his health beginning to fail, he visited England for the benefit of its mineral waters; but his infirmities increasing, he resigned his office of chief justice in 1800. Returning to Connecticut, he was again elected a member of the council; and in 1807 he was appointed chief justice of the state, which office he declined on account of his health. II. William Wolcott, son of the preceding, born in Windsor, Nov. 10, 1791, died in Hartford, Jan. 15, 1868. He graduated at Yale college in 1810, and was admitted to the bar in 1813. From 1829 to 1833 he was a representative in congress; from 1838 to 1842 governor of Connecticut; and from 1847 to 1861 judge of the supreme court of that state.