Revolutionary War Burr Duel Wolcott Signed Document General Signed Document 1783

Revolutionary War Burr Duel Wolcott Signed Document General Signed Document 1783

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Revolutionary War Burr Duel Wolcott Signed Document General Signed Document 1783:


THIS SIGNED DOCUMENT IS AN authentic Revolutionary War Pay Order SIGNED BY WOLCOTT & WYLLYS from the State of Connecticut, Pay-Table Office dated May 20, 1783 to pay Revolutionary War Colonel (later Brigadier General) Samuel McClellan "Five Pounds...and charge the State." The document measures 6 1/2" x 6" and is is in very good condition - appears much nicer than the scanned image!

Beginning in 1789, Oliver Wolcott Jr. (1760-1833) played an important role in the organization of the nascent Treasury Department. First, as Auditor, he established its clerical forms and methods, and two years later, as Comptroller, he was instrumental in establishing the branches of Secretary Alexander Hamilton's First Bank of the United States. In 1800 Wolcott was personally selected by President Washington to succeed Alexander Hamilton as Secretary of the Treasury, continuing as Secretary under President John Adams. Charged with the task of raising revenue for the rapidly growing federal government, Wolcott constantly sought and received Hamilton's advice. As Hamilton's ally he faced difficulties in Congress, where Hamilton's opponent Albert Gallatin sought more congressional control of Treasury's financial policy. Wolcott resigned in 1800 under a storm of criticism from Jeffersonians in Congress. In reaction he invited a congressional investigation of the Treasury Department in 1801, which cleared his name. Wolcott later served as Governor of Connecticut from 1817-1827.



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Wolcott, Oliver (11 Jan. 1760-1 June 1833), secretary of the treasury and governor of Connecticut, was born in Litchfield, Connecticut, the son of Oliver Wolcott, a sheriff of Litchfield and a farmer, and Laura Collins. His father would be a signer of the Declaration of Independence and a governor of Connecticut.

After studies at a local grammar school, young Oliver entered Yale College in 1773 and graduated in 1778. His only service during the Revolution was as a volunteer during two brief campaigns in 1777 and 1779. After studying law under the direction of Judge Tapping Reeve, he was admitted to the bar in January 1781 and soon thereafter moved to Hartford, where he obtained a clerkship with the Committee of the Pay-Table, the organization that administered the provincial government's finances. His ability and efficiency quickly attracted attention, and in January 1782 he was appointed a member of the committee. Two years later he and Oliver Ellsworth represented Connecticut in negotiations to settle claims of the state against the national government.

In 1788 the Office of Comptroller of Public Accounts was established to replace the Committee of the Pay-Table and to reorganize the state's financial affairs, and Wolcott was its head. On 1 June 1785 he solidified his connection with the Connecticut elite by marrying Elizabeth Stoughton, with whom he had seven children; three died in infancy.

Despite initial reservations, Wolcott accepted the post of auditor of the federal Treasury in September 1789. During his service as auditor, he played a key role in the implementation of Alexander Hamilton's financial program. He quickly developed a close personal and professional relationship with Hamilton, who relied on Wolcott to handle much of the day-to-day business of organizing and administering the largest department in the federal government. In June 1791 Hamilton recommended Wolcott's appointment to comptroller of the treasury, and President George

Washington made the appointment. Because of his efficiency in developing the plan for the organization of the Bank of the United States, Wolcott was offered the opportunity to serve as its first president, which he declined.

Upon Hamilton's resignation in January 1795, Washington selected Wolcott as Hamilton's successor. Wolcott shared his predecessor's commitment to a strong national government and the use of government power to promote industrial and commercial development. As secretary of the treasury, his main ambition was to perpetuate the programs and policies put in place by Hamilton, whom he continued to rely on for advice and counsel. However, among the factors prompting Hamilton's resignation was the Republican party's majority in the House of Representatives following the 1794 elections. Led by Albert Gallatin, the Republicans thereafter endeavored to assert greater congressional authority over government finances by curtailing the Treasury's discretionary authority over their management, mostly by making specific rather than general appropriations. This conflict persisted until the 1798 elections returned the Federalists to the majority. Impressed by Wolcott's ability, John Adams kept him at the Treasury Department when he became president. It soon became clear, however, that Wolcott's primary loyalty was to Hamilton and the High Federalist faction rather than to Adams. Although he was able to avoid an open breach with the president, Wolcott nonetheless participated in efforts to promote Hamilton's policies and authority at the expense of Adams's. When it became clear that the High Federalists were maneuvering to replace Adams as their presidential candidate in 1800, Adams removed Secretary of War James McHenry and Secretary of State Timothy Pickering from the cabinet. Yet Wolcott, who had been equally active if not as openly so in the movement to dump Adams, was retained at the Treasury. He subsequently provided Hamilton confidential information about the administration that was published, against Wolcott's advice, in Letter from Alexander Hamilton, concerning the Public Conduct and Character of John Adams, Esq., President of the United States in October 1800. Federalists everywhere were appalled by the Letter's harsh attacks on Adams and Hamilton's apparent willingness to expose divisions within the party to advance his own interests. By November Wolcott realized the effort to replace Adams with Charles Cotesworth Pinckney was doomed and tendered his resignation from the cabinet. Although an investigation by a House committee produced a favorable report on Wolcott's tenure at the Treasury, he left office under a cloud of suspicion over a fire at the Treasury on 20 January 1801. An investigation ultimately cleared him of any wrongdoing.

When the Judiciary Act of 1801 was passed, creating sixteen circuit courts, Adams appointed Wolcott to be judge of the second circuit. In March 1802, however, Congress repealed the act, and Wolcott left the employ of the federal government for good. Later that year a highly critical House committee report compelled him to publicly defend his administration of the Treasury, which he did in An Address to the People of the United States (1802).

Upon returning to private life, Wolcott settled in New York City and, although he did not provide any of the capital to set it up, became a managing partner of a commercial firm, Oliver Wolcott and Company, which he hoped would do extensive business with China. The company dissolved in April 1805, and Wolcott subsequently became a partner in the Litchfield China Trading Company, speculated extensively in land, served as president of the Merchants Bank, and pursued various other business ventures. In 1804 he served as a pallbearer at Hamilton's funeral and spent several weeks afterward managing his friend's estate. Although his attention was focused on his family and business affairs during the decade after he left federal office, Wolcott kept a close eye on national politics. In his correspondence with fellow Federalists, he was sharply critical of Thomas Jefferson and his policies, which Wolcott viewed as obstacles to economic development.

Wolcott joined the main board of directors for the New York branch of the Bank of the United States in 1810. After that bank's charter expired in 1811, he was a leading actor in the establishment in 1812 of the Bank of America, which he served as president until ousted from office by political opponents two years later. Wolcott settled in Connecticut in 1815 with the intention of dedicating himself to farming.

By the time Wolcott returned to Connecticut, he had begun to distance himself from his fierce Federalist partisanship, most prominently through his outspoken support for the James Madison administration during the War of 1812. In 1816 Wolcott returned to politics, running an unsuccessful campaign against the incumbent Federalist governor as the candidate of the American Toleration and Reform party, a coalition of Connecticut's anti-Federalist elements unified by their desire to end tax support for the Congregational church. One year later he was again the candidate of the Toleration and Reform Party and won election to the first of ten terms as governor of Connecticut. By 1819, he had dropped the Toleration and Reform label and become a member of the Republican party.

In 1818 he presided over the convention that drew up a new state constitution, which was adopted on 15 September 1818 and ratified by the voters one month later. He played a key role in the writing of the constitution, which provided for religious toleration, separation of church and state, expansion of suffrage, and explicit division of the government into three equal and independent branches. Wolcott was also successful in promoting reforms in the state's tax system. He was unable, however, to win support for his call for government assistance to foster economic development through state-funded internal improvements, subsidies to agriculture and industry, support for education, and stricter regulation of banking. Wolcott left the governorship when Republicans, disenchanted by his efforts to pursue an independent course, denied him renomination as their candidate for governor in 1826. After an independent offer for the governorship failed in 1827, he returned to New York City, where he died in 1833.

Wolcott was a committed nationalist and advocate of commercial development, and his ability and efficiency played a key role in the Washington administration's success in placing the new government on a sound financial footing. However, his participation in the effort to undermine Adams casts a shadow on the reputation of one of the most significant figures of the Early National Period.


The Connecticut Historical Society possesses an extensive collection of Wolcott's papers and other primary source material related to his life and career. James Bland, "The Oliver Wolcotts of Connecticut: The National Experience, 1775-1800" (Ph.D. diss., Harvard Univ., 1970); Neil Alexander Hamilton, "Connecticut Order, Mercantilistic Economics: The Life of Oliver Wolcott, Jr." (Ph.D. diss., Univ. of Tennessee, 1988); and Frederick H. Schmauch, "Oliver Wolcott: His Political Thought and Role between 1789 and 1800" (Ph.D. diss., St. John's Univ., 1969), are informative. See also Alan W. Brownsword, "The Constitution of 1818 and Political Afterthoughts, 1800-1840," Connecticut Historical Society Bulletin 30 (1965): 1-10; Robert Jay Dilger, "Oliver Wolcott Jr.: Conspirator or Public Servant?" Connecticut Historical Society Bulletin 46 (1981): 78-85; George Gibbs, Memoirs of the Administrations of Washington and John Adams. Edited from the Papers of Oliver Wolcott, Secretary of the Treasury (2 vols., 1846); and Linda K. Kerber, "Oliver Wolcott: Midnight Judge," Connecticut Historical Society Bulletin 32 (1967): 25-30. [Source: American National Biography

An interesting historical tidbit involving Wolcott:

Martha Washington's Escaped Slave

In late May or early June 1796 one of Martha Washington's slaves escaped from the Executive Mansion in Philadelphia, where she lived with the Washington's during his presidency, serving as Martha's chambermaid. As Secretary of the Treasury, Wolcott was George Washington's intermediary in getting the Collector of Customs for Portsmouth, New Hampshire, Joseph Whipple, to capture and send Martha Washington's runaway slave, Oney Judge (sometimes Ona), to Mount Vernon, where she had begun serving the Washingtons. Whipple met with Oney, 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 Ms Judge against her will, saying that it could cause civil unrest due to abolitionists, and recommended the President go through the courts if needed. In their correspondence, Washington said that he wanted to avoid controversy, so he did not use the courts to take advantage of the method he himself had singed into law under the 1793 Slave Act. Washington made another attempt to apprehend her in 1798. This time he asked his nephew, Burwell Bassett, Jr to convince her to return or to take her by force, but Oney was warned by senator John Langdon and hid. Wolcott's involvenemt with this case ended with the first attempt to return Oney Judge to slavey. [source: wilkipedia].

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Samuel McClellan (4 January 1730 – 17 October 1807) was a Brigadier General in the American Revolutionary War. He was born in Worcester, Massachusetts, married Rachel Abbe (a descendant of Plymouth, Massachusetts Governor, William Bradford) on March 5, 1766, and is buried in Woodstock, Connecticut.

Samuel McClellan served as Ensign and Lieutenant in the French and Indian War, and was wounded in battle. Upon his return from the provincial campaign, he purchased a farm in Woodstock and settled there. He later engaged in mercantile business and established an extensive trade, importing goods and supplying neighboring merchants.

When the American Revolution put a stop to his trade, he trained and equipped the county militia. In 1773, a troop of horse was raised in Woodstock, Killingly, and Pomfret, Connecticut, of which he became commander.

In 1775, Major Samuel McClellan led 184 men at the Battles of Lexington and Concord. He played a prominent role in the Battle of Bunker Hill, and after achieving the rank of Lieutenant Colonel in 1776, Colonel in 1777, and Brigadier General of the 5th Brigade in 1779, his regiment of the Connecticut Militia was stationed near New Jersey. McClellan was solicited by General George Washington to join the Continental Army and was offered a commission, but his domestic and business affairs compelled him to refuse.

After the Battle of Groton Heights, and the invasion and burning of New London, Connecticut, McClellan was appointed to oversee troops stationed at those points and continued the command until the close of the war, acting as commissary in the purchase and forwarding of provisions for the army when not otherwise in active service.

McClellan was highly esteemed as a Christian gentleman and was well respected by his townsmen. Shortly after the war, he returned to Woodstock and was elected to the State Assembly. He was known to many, including his grandson George B. McClellan (a Major General during the American Civil War), as "General Sam." Samuel's sons James and John founded the Woodstock Academy in 1801


I am a proud member of the Universal Autograph Collectors Club (UACC), The Ephemera Society of America, the Manuscript Society and the American Political Items Collectors (APIC) (member name: John Lissandrello). I subscribe to each organizations' code of ethics and authenticity is guaranteed. ~Providing quality service and historical memorabilia online for over ten years.~


Revolutionary War Burr Duel Wolcott Signed Document General Signed Document 1783:

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