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Colonel Jeremiah Wadsworth
Colonel Jeremiah Wadsworth
American, 1743 - 1804
Biography: Jeremiah Wadsworth was a Revolutionary soldier and a congressman. He was born in Hartford, Connecticut on 12 July 1743, the son of the Reverend Daniel Wadsworth, pastor of the First Church of Christ, and Abigail Talcott, the daughter of Governor Joseph Talcott. Jeremiah was four years old when his father died and he was placed in the charge of his uncle, Matthew Talcott, a ship-owner of Middletown. At the age of eighteen, he left as a common sailor aboard one of his uncle's vessels. After ten years at sea he had risen to the rank of captain. On 29 September 1767, he married Mehitable Russell, the daughter of the Reverend William Russell, of Middletown; they had three children, including Daniel Wadsworth, the founder of the Wadsworth Atheneum. In April 1775, Jeremiah was appointed commissary to the Revolutionary forces raised in Connecticut, and on 18 June 1777, the Continental Congress elected him deputy commissary-general of purchases, and he served until his resignation the following August. Upon the retirement of Joseph Trumbull as commissary-general, Wadsworth was appointed, in April 1778, to fill the post, and he remained until he resigned on 4 December 1779. He kept the Continental Army so well provisioned that Washington wrote, "since his appointment our supplies of provision have been good and ample." At the request of Rochambeau he also served as commissary to the French troops in America until the close of the war, and in the summer of 1783 he went to Paris in order to submit a report of his transactions. In March of 1784 he went on to England and Ireland where he invested in merchandise resold for profit upon his return to Connecticut. Wadsworth was a member of the state convention called in 1788 to consider the ratification of the federal Constitution, and voted in its favor. He was elected a Federalist to Congress in 1787 and 1788. From 1795 to 1801 he served with the state legislature on the executive council. He was a founder and director of several banks including the Bank of North America in Philadelphia and the Hartford Bank. He was one of the promoters of the Hartford Manufacturing Company, established in 1788, it was the first purely wool-manufacturing concern founded on a strictly business basis, and the first in which power machinery was employed. Wadsworth established the first partnership for insurance in Connecticut. He was also a farmer who introduced fine breeds of cattle from abroad and engaged in experimental farming techniques to improve agrigulture. Both Yale and Dartmouth gave him honary degrees in appreciation of his support. He died in Hartford on 30 April 1804, and was buried in the Ancient Burying Ground.