Wadsworth Family
    WADSWORTH. The family bearing this name is an old Colonial one, and conspicuously prominent in the annals of Connecticut. But in this article it is our intention only to refer briefly to the late Daniel Wadsworth (the founder of the Atheneum bearing his name), his distinguished father, Col. Jeremiah Wadsworth, and their ancestry.
     One William Wadsworth settled at Cambridge, Mass., as early as 1632, and is found at Hartford, Conn., in 1636, as a member of Rev. Mr. Hooker's Church, and holding the office of collector of Hartford in 1637. At this time he was in middle life, and a widower. He married (second) probably in 1644 Elizabeth Stone. Mr. Wadsworth was one of the original proprietors of Hartford in 1639, held several important offices in the town and Colony, and sustained a high rank with the best Puritan families. He died in 1675.
     From this William Wadsworth the late Daniel Wadsworth, of Hartford, was a descendant in the sixth generation, his line being through John (by & former wife), who settled in Farmington; Deacon John, who settled in Hartford; Rev. Daniel, a graduate of Yale, 1734, who married Abigail, daughter of Gov. Talcott, and was pastor of the First Church of Hartford; and Col. Jeremiah Wadsworth.
     COL. JEREMIAH WADSWORTH, son of Rev. Daniel, was born July 12, 1743. In early youth he was with his uncle, Matthew Talcott, a merchant of Middletown. Later for a time he followed the sea, from boy-before-the-mast to master. He settled down in Hartford in 1773, and was during the Revolutionary period and the years following the foremost man in the town. He served as deputy commissary under Joseph Trumbull, and succeeded by appointment of Congress to the office of commissary-general of purchases. After the arrival of the French troops he became commissary of the French army, and served until the close of the war. He shared largely in the confidence of Gen. Washington, and under his roof the General was entertained when he came East with Knox and Lafayette for the first interview with Count Rochambeau and Admiral Ternay. Col. Wadsworth was a member of the State Convention for ratifying the Constitution of the United States, and was a firm supporter of the patriot cause. He served six years as a member of Congress, and was a member of the Council of Connecticut from 1795 to 1801. He had been largely concerned in the West India trade, was a leader in all mercantile enterprises. He was probably the wealthiest man in Hartford.
     Col. Wadsworth married Mehetabel Russell, and at his death, in 1804, left one son, Daniel. Mrs. Wadsworth died in 1817.
     DANIEL WADSWORTH was born in Hartford, and in early life married Faith Trumbull, daughter of Gov. Jonathan Trumbull, of Connecticut. From childhood Daniel Wadsworth had delicate health. He possessed great wealth, being probably the wealthiest man of his day in Connecticut, was generous, and gave liberally to all good purposes, using his estate as though it was a gift of Providence, He did much for the growth and prosperity of Hartford. The Wadsworth Atheneum, on Main and Atheneum streets, is a lasting monument of his desire to promote library and institute objects. He gave the ground, valued at $20,000, on which the Atheneum building stands, for that purpose, it being the site of his birthplace and the family home for three generations.  He also contributed largely to the building. He died in 1848, and his wife passed away in 1846.

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Biographical Record
Hartford County,



J. H. Beers & Co.


pgs 1492 - 1493

pages / text are copyrighted by
Elaine Kidd O'Leary
May 2002

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