Rhode Island and Providence Plantations Biographical, 100
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History of the state of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations: Biographical

NY: The American Historical Society, Inc. 1920

[For pictures of the Colt Family graves at Juniper Hill Cemetery, Bristol Historical Cemetery #003 click here.]

p. 438 - 444:

COLONEL SAMUEL P. COLT  --  Established in the Connecticut Colony in the early days of Colonial immigration, the Colt family did not become identified with the history of Rhode Island until the middle of the last century.  The Colts of Rhode Island, a branch of the family which was established in Connecticut in 1638, comprise the posterity of the late Christopher and Theodora G. (De Wolf) Colt, and have written their names large and indelibly on the pages of civic, industrial and financial annals of Rhode Island.

Arms  --  Argent a fesse azure between three colts in full speed, sable.
The ancestry of the Colts is traced to many of the foremost leaders of New England life prior to the American revolution, among them:  Captain Mark Anthony De Wolf, a man of marked character and intelligence, whose eight sons all attained respected and  honorable positions in society, and one of whom, Hon. James De Wolf, occupied a seat in the United States Legislature, became a merchant prince and one of the wealthiest men of his time in the United States;  the several Bradfords, of 'Mayflower', Plymouth and Rhode Island fame;  Surgeon Francis Le Baron, the 'Nameless Nobleman' of Jane Austin's novel;  Hon. Henry Goodwin, the distinguished lawyer and attorney-general of Rhode Island, of more than a century ago. The two most notable representatives of the Rhode Island family to-day are the Hon. Le Baron Bradford Colt, United States Senator from Rhode Island, and the Hon. Samuel Pomeroy Colt, president of the United States Rubber Company, a gigantic corporation which owes its existence to his genius as an organizer and business leader.

Research has established within a reasonable degree of certainty that the immigrant ancestor of the Colt family in America was a descendant of a very old and famous English family.  The name, Dutton Colt, appears with great frequency in English history in connection with the Reformation. He was a vigorous opponent of Popery, and in consequence was disgraced by the church party in power, and his estates confiscated to the crown. He afterward regained his position and lands by valiant service to his country, and was granted a coat-of-arms.  The pedigree of the family in England comprises four generations from the founder, the emigration to America occurring in the fifth generation.  The line is as follows:

(I)  Sir John Dutton Colt, founder of the family.
(II)  Sir Peter Colt, son of Sir John Dutton Colt.
(III)  John Colt, son of Sir Peter Colt.
(IV)  John (2) Colt, son of John (1) Colt.
(V)  John (3) Colt, son of John (2) Colt.
(VI)  John (4) Colt, son of John (3) Colt, was born in England about the year 1625.  He became the founder and immigrant ancestor of the American branch of the ancient English house, leaving England during the Revolutionary uprisings in the reign of Charles I.  John (4) Colt is stated to have been in New England in 1638 by some authorities. Others place the date at 1668.  Those who adhere to the former date state that he served first at Dorchester, Mass., whence he removed in 1638 to Hartford, Conn., in company with the band of settlers who went there in that year.  He married (first) Mary Fitch; (second) Ann Skinner, and later settled in Windsor, where he is recorded as a resident in 1668. He was one of the earliest settlers on the east side of the river, and was troubled much by the Indians.  In 1665 he subscribed six shillings to raise the minister's salary.  John (4) Colt lived to the advanced age of one hundred and five years.  Child:  John (5), of further mention.

(VII)  Captain John (5) Colt, son of John (4) Colt, was born in 1658.  He resided for the greater part of his life in the town of Lyme, Conn., where he died on January 2, 1751, at the age of ninety-three years.  He married Mary Lord, and they were the parents of five children, three daughters whose names are unknown, and two sons:  Benjamin, mentioned below; and Samuel.

(VIII)  Deacon Benjamin  Colt, son of Captain John (5) and Mary (Lord) Colt, was born in Lyme, Conn., in 1698, and is thought to have resided there all his life.  He was one of the early proprietors of Harwinton, Conn., but no record exists of him ever having lived there. In 1735, he deeded 'for the natural love and good will I do have for my son John, all my land in Harwinton.'  Deacon Benjamin Colt married, May 26, 1724, Miriam Harris; he died October 4, 1754.  Children: John, Joseph, Mary, Sarah, Temperance, Harris, Polly, Sally, Benjamin, of further mention; Peter.

(IX)  Lieutenant Benjamin (2) Colt, son of Deacon Benjamin (1) and Miriam (Harris) Colt, was born in Lyme, Conn., in 1738.  He married, in 1761, Lucretia Ely, of Lyme, born in 1742-43, died March 3, 1826, at the age of eighty-three years.  After his marriage he removed to Hadley, Mass., where he died on August 30, 1781.  Children:  Benjamin, Lucretia, Daniel, Lucretia (2), Ethelinda, Amy, Betsey, Lucretia (3), Elisha, Christopher, of further mention.

(X)  Christopher Colt, son of Lieutenant Benjamin (2) and Lucretia (Ely) Colt, was born in Hadley, Mass., August 30, 1780.  Early in life he removed to Hartford, Conn., where he died, April 5, 1850. He married (first) April 4, 1805, Sarah Caldwell, who died June 16, 1821; (second) March 12, 1823, Olivia Sergeant.  Children of the first marriage: 1.  Margaret C., born April 1, 1806.  2.  Sarah, born Feb. 22, 1808.  3.  John C., born March 12, 1810.  4.  Christopher (2), of further mention.  5.  Samuel, born July 19, 1814; was the inventor of the famous Colt revolver, and founder of the Colt's Patent Fire Arms Manufacturing Company of Hartford.  6.  James B., born Oct. 16, 1816.  7.  Mary, born June 30, 1819.  8.  Norman K., born  on May 5, 1821.  Children of the second marriage: 10.  Mary, born July 29, 1826.  11.  Olivia P., born Sept. 16, 1828.

(XI)  Christopher (2) Colt, son of Christopher (1) and Sarah (Caldwell) Colt, was born in Hartford, Conn., March 12, 1812, resided there all his life, and died on May 25, 1855.  He married, in Hartford, November 14, 1837, Theodora Goujand De Wolf, daughter of General George De Wolf, of Bristol, R. I., and a descendant of a long established New England family of French origin.  Children:  1.  George.  2.  Isabella De Wolf, who married Francis Eugene De Wolf, of Bristol, R. I.  3.  Le Baron Bradford, U. S. Senator from Rhode Island.  4.  Samuel Pomeroy, of further mention.

(XII)  Colonel Samuel Pomeroy Colt, son of Christopher (2) and Theodora Goujand (De Wolf) Colt, was born in Paterson, N. J., January 10, 1852.  His early years were spent in Hartford, in the home of his uncle, Samuel Colt, inventor of the Colt revolver, and in that city from five to ten years of age he attended school, returning at the end of that time to Bristol. He prepared for college at Anthon's Grammar School, in New York City, and at the age of eighteen year matriculated at the Boston Institute of Technology. After being graduated in 1873 he spent one  year in travel on the Continent, returning in 1874 to enter the Law School of Columbia University in New York.  In 1876 he received the degree of L.L. B., and in May of that year was admitted to practice before the New York bar.  The remainder of the year he spent in the study of Rhode Island law in the office of Thurston & Ripley, of Providence, and on January 1, 1877, was admitted to the Rhode Island bar.  During the years 1875-76-77 he served as aide-de-camp on the staff of Governor Henry Lippitt, ranking as colonel, the title by which he is known to-day.  Successful manipulation of many difficult legal cases brought him before the public eye and into public life early, and in 1879, after having served for four years (1876 -79) as a member of the Rhode Island General Assembly from Bristol, he was elected to the office of Assistant Attorney-General of Rhode Island, serving with marked ability until 1881.  In 1882 Colonel Colt became the Republican candidate for Attorney-General and was elected to the office, filling it in 1883-84-85.  At the expiration of the last term in office he again went abroad.

The year 1887, when he returned to America, saw the entrance of Colonel Colt upon his phenomenal career as a business leader  --  a founder of colossal enterprises, an executive of genius and fine constructive imagination, his influence on the rubber industry of America has been of tantamount importance.  Colonel Colt is to-day president of the United States Rubber Company, the largest corporation handing rubber products in the world.  In 1887, as a lawyer of infinite tact, rare diplomacy and proved ability in legal difficulties, he was appointed receiver for the Bristol Rubber Company, one of the first rubber manufacturing concerns in the country, which dated from shortly after the close of the Civil War. The affairs of the company were in the last stages of decay and presented a formidable problem, overloaded with surplus stock, and torn by contending factions.  Colonel Colt came into this with no experience in manufacturing and with but a vague knowledge of India rubber.  He devoted much time to the study of the raw product, to the condition of the industry in America, to competitive enterprises, and more particularly to the sorry problem on his hands, and found a disheartening array.  Not only was his own problem in a morbid condition, but the same was true of the industry throughout the country.  Goods were sold at a loss because of the tendency of a factory to cut prices, and so force others to do likewise.  A known quantity in the difficulty, offering cheer and holding forth hope, was the fact that rubber in an ever increasing number of forms was being used and demanded by the entire country.  Its possibilities were practically inexhaustible, could a start be made in the direction of making it pay. Samuel P. Colt made that start - through cautious management of the affairs of the Bristol Rubber Company, manufacturing only such products as had a well established demand and sold rapidly, he was able to draw a profit from the first six months of his receivership.  At the end of a year he discharged every debt of the old concern and founded the National India Rubber Company of Bristol (1888).  In this test he had shown a power of organization, executive ability, and knowledge of industrial and financial affairs which proved him to be one of the foremost business men of New England.  Moreover, he had been carefully observed throughout by the rubber industry in New England and by business men generally, and had acquired a reputation for masterly handling of trying situations which spread over the country.  In 1887 he founded the Industrial Trust Company of Providence, a financial institution whose influence subsequently spread considerably outside Providence and even New England.  He was its first president.

The National India Rubber Company, of which also he became the first president, rose to great proportions within a short period, and became the undisputed leader of the industry in America.  The formation of the United States Rubber Company came shortly after, welding into one harmonious whole forty different and hitherto competitive organizations.  Of this great corporation Colonel Colt became the guiding genius, introducing into it the system of specialized effort, which was of prime importance in establishing its supremacy.  Each plant manufactured one article and concentrated all its resources of men and material on the doing of that thing well.  The study of methods, and constant experiment for better methods, became an integral part of the work of every plant, as did the fitting of every man to do a special part of the work.  Working on the principle that there must be some one thing for which one man was more finely adapted than another, Colonel Colt organized a system whereby his operatives were detailed to do the work they were best fitted to do. A comprehensive search was made for men who had shown talent in special branches of the manufacturing industry, and they were employed at salaries hitherto unknown.  A feature of the organization was its department of inventors and the cooperation of the members of this department. This spirit of cooperation is the most remarkable feature of the great enterprise and extends through every department of it.  To the genius of Colonel Colt, his infinite kindliness, genial, democratic bearing, the hearts of his men have willingly succumbed.  He is not only honored for his great achievements, he is loved as a man and as a friend. The men who go to form the body of the United States Rubber Company know him as their friend, a man ever on the alert in their interests. He has the true quality of greatness, which succeeded in eliminating the trivial, petty and false, and seeks instinctively the essentials. A varied career as a lawyer and business and financial leader has brought him into close contact with men of every walk of life, and has taught him a broad human sympathy, a tolerance and sufferance which have made him a rounded, delightfully human character.  Colonel Colt ranks to-day among perhaps a scant dozen of America's greatest industrial leaders. He is the founder and head of an enterprise capitalized at more than one hundred million dollars.

It would seem that the entire time of a man occupied in the care of so great an enterprise must necessarily be employed in administering its affairs. However, Colonel Colt is now and has long been engaged in the conduct of his large farm - the Colt Farm as it is called - in Bristol, a great, widespread four hundred acres, where there is abundant fishing and shooting.  This farm is his avocation, so much so in fact that he has been known to give his occupation as 'a farmer'; it is thrown open to the public every day of the year.  Crops are planted and raised after the old leisurely fashion of a century ago, before scientific farming came into its own.  Abundance is everywhere, and nature is not here synonymous with Italian gardens, and marble lined pools.  The great barn on the Colt Farm alone cost one hundred thousand dollars, and houses a herd of one hundred registered Jersey cattle.  Another point of great interest on the Colt Farm is the remarkable collection of bronzes and marbles distributed throughout the grounds.  Among these statues are reproductions of the world's most famous masterpieces.

In honor of the memory of his mother, Theodora Goujand (De Wolf) Colt, Colonel Colt built and gave to the town of Bristol the Colt Memorial School, a monument of great architectural beauty.  Theodora G. D. Colt was a woman of great force of intellect, even of genius, greatly in advance of her time.  She entertained in her home Emerson, Greeley, Wendell Phillps, Doctor Holmes, and many of the leaders of New England literary life and thought.  Of remarkably retentive memory, she was a veritable storehouse of knowledge, and was a most potent factor in laying the foundation of the achievements of her sons in later life.  She was the author of a book of poems which shows a literary gift which might have been developed to great proportions had not her life been so filled with work for others, and with the constant service which made her beloved of all with whom she came into contact.  She died at the advanced age of eighty years, her mind unimpaired to the last.  Still another gift of Colonel Colt to the town of Bristol is the beautiful Museum of Fine Arts which adjoins the Colt Memorial School, which contains the Colt collection of art objects, including three marbles by Rodin, numerous canvases by Borglum and Barrias, and more than a hundred canvases by Rosa Bonheur and other artists equally renowned.

On January 12, 1881, Colonel Colt married Elizabeth Metchelson Bullock, daughter of the late Hon. J. Russell and Susan Amelia (De Wolf) Bullock, of Bristol, R. I.  Children:  Samuel P., born Oct. 16, 1881; died Nov. 4, 1890.  2.  Russell G., born Oct. 1, 1882.  3.  Rossell C., born Oct. 10, 1889.  Since the death of his mother, Colonel Colt has made his home on the old General George De Wolf homestead, 'Linden Place', in Bristol, the girlhood home of his mother, which dates from the close of the eighteenth century.

To conclude the biography of a man of this type is not possible, for there is no conclusion.  The future, if based on the past achievements of the career of Colonel Colt, must bring forth things equally notable.

(The De Wolf Line.)

[For pictures of the DeWolf Family graves at Juniper Hill Cemetery, Bristol Historical Cemetery #003 click here.]

Among prominent old New England families no name carries more prestige than that of De Wolf.  In Rhode Island the family has been actively identified with the upbuilding of the State for generations.  It has been said that the 'History of the town of Bristol is the history of the De Wolfs.'  In the rugged pioneer days, when Bristol was a port of consequence in the West Indies trade, the hardy members of this family for many years braved the perils of the deep, and combining their courage, and a splendid capacity for business enterprise, they developed a mercantile and shipping industry of large proportions.  When the savage Indian from within their borders, or the hostile foes from without menaced the safety of the colony, the De Wolfs were ever found patriotic and true, offering themselves without reservation to the causes of liberty and justice. They were true blue in the widest sense of the term, and their public spirit, sturdy, upright characters, and sound business judgment, won for them the confidence and esteem of their fellow citizens and left for posterity the priceless heritage of an honored name.

The name of 'Wolf', with or without the prefix, or its equivalent, is to be found in many nations.  In the Teutonic languages the name is traced back to its Teutonic original, while in the Romance languages the forms of the name are traced to their Latin derivations.  Among the Romans, 'Lupus' stood not only for the beast which suckled the mystic founders of the State, but also designated members of the human family.  The name suggests the close association of primitive man with the animals of the forest, and was, no doubt, adopted because of the fancied resemblance between some qualities in the man and animal.  If space permitted it would be interesting to mention and trace some of the forms this name has taken in the various Continental countries and in Great Britain. The house of Guelph, of which the late Queen Victoria was perhaps the most distinguished and conspicuous member, is traced to a German family of Welf or Wolf.

Much has been written concerning the origin of the De Wolf family. Genealogists have devoted years of research to the subject, and have unearthed data of great interest and undoubted authenticity.  Opinions differ greatly, however, as to the source of the early De Wolfs; it is universally agreed that the family is among the most ancient and aristocratic of Europe. Many incline  to the following theory as to the source of the name. In 1370, Louis de Saint-Etienne, a French nobleman, attended King Charles the Fifth on a hunting expedition.  During the chase, King Charles mortally wounded a wolf-cub.  His lance breaking against a tree, the King had only his hunting knife with which to defend himself against the mother of the cub which came bounding from the forest.  Thereupon, Louis de Saint-Etienne rushed between the beast and the King, killing the wolf with his own sword.  In recognition of this service the King knighted Louis, who became Louis de Loup, and was the founder of the French family of that name.  In 1423 his grandson, Emile de Loup, accompanied Princess Mathilda to Germany, where she married Frederick, Elector and Duke of Saxony.  Emile de Loup became a great favorite of the Saxon Court and was made a Baron in 1427.  He then changed his name from the French to the German, and was thenceforward known as De Wolf. His direct descendant, Maximilian De Wolf, founded the Belgian family of the name.  The title of Baron is borne by members of the family at the present time in Belgium, Holland, Germany, and Livonia, and in England, and these branches have borne arms for centuries.

The prominence of the De Wolf family in early times is clearly attested by the fact of its many well defined and notable branches.  Among the most famous of these were the de Goults, or De Wolfs, of Provence (in the language of South France, Wolf is rendered by 'Goult or Agont'). The following is translated from 'L'Etat de la Provence', by l'abbe Robert de Briancon, published by P. Aubouen, Paris, 1693:  'The French family, de Goult - de Wolf - of Provence is, according to tradition, descended from a prince of Saxony.  There is no more famous family in the Provencal nobility than the de Goults.  The first recorded ancestor of the de Goults in Provence was Rostain de Goult.  His son, Remond de Goult, received the barony de Saut from Emperor Henry V. in 1108.  Bertrand de Goult, his son, distinguished himself  in the war waged in 1150 by the County of Provence against Princess Etiennette des Baux.  His descendant, Isnard de Goult, was appointed grand seneschal de Provence for the years 1284 and 1286.  Another well known member of the family was Remond de Goult, who was sent on a mission by the city of Aix to Queen Jeanne of Naples in 1365.  Anaud de Goult, knight of the Order of the King, was the founder of the branch of the de Goults known as the lords of Mouriez.'

'The house of de Goult bears of ancientry gold with azure ravenous wolf, langued armed and vilained of gules.  Crest, a nascent wolf from the helmet.'  The castle of the French de Goults, overlooks the little town of 'Goult', about forty kilometers east of Avignon in the department of Vauclase.  Exact similarity exists between the coat-of-arms of the de Goults as described above, and that borne by Captain Charles de Wolf, who was of the sixth generation of the family in New England. This would seem to indicate a close connection between the de Goults of Provence and the founder of the family in America.  However, it is thought by many eminent genealogists that the immigrant ancestor, Balthasar De Wolf, came from the Livonian branch of the family, which is an offshoot of the earlier Silesian house of De Wolff - of this branch traces are found as early as the thirteenth century, when the Scotch family of McDecor the Wolf left Scotland and settled in Germany, to escape political persecution, and where the name was changed to Wolfesford and Wolfurt.  The family seat became the village of Wolfurt, near Bregentz in the Tyrol, where to-day stands a partly ruined castle, and the family itself became one of the most powerful and honored of the time.  The first authentic record of them is found in 1241, when Kuno von Wolfurt witnessed a deed by which Konrad von Pfaffers ceded a fief to Ulrich von Vare.  ('From the Review for the History of the Upper Rhine', year 1852).  This branch figured largely in the history of the time.  In 1348 Ulrich von Wolfurt, at the head of his Teutonic knights, fought in the service of King Louis of Hungary, against Queen Joanna of Naples, in the conflict precipitated by the murder of Andreas, brother of King Louis, and consort of Queen Joanna, of which she was suspected.  Ulrich von Wolfurt was appointed governor of Lower Italy, and rendered gallant service at the siege of Naples, holding out against all the bribes of Queen Joanna, until compelled to surrender through lack of food.  In 1352 Ulrich von Wolfurt was sent by Louis as a peace envoy to the Vatican, and on his return to the Hungarian court was rewarded by the King with the country of Castro Ferro.  (Archives of the Vatican).

Konrad Wolf von Wolfurt, brother of Ulrich von Wolfurt, was appointed by King Louis, lieutenant-governor of Lucera in 1348, and in 1350 was put in command of the Hungarian knights at Naples.  In the following year he was sent by Clement VI. on a diplomatic mission to Archbishop John, of Brindisi, and in 1352, he received from King Louis the barony of Guillonissii. (Archives of the Vatican).

On March 18, 1383, according to the archives of the town of Bregentz, Emperor Charles IV. presented the castle of Wolfurt to the three brothers, Hugo, Kuno and Engloff von Wolfurt.  The next mention of the family occurs in 1392, when Rudolf von Wolfurt was present at the meeting of the Swabian knights concerning the leadership of St. George's banner. His son, Wolf von Wolfurt, was present in 1408, 1409, and 1413, at the conference regarding the Appenzell War.  The long period elapsing between the records of the family in the archives would seem to indicate that much of their time was spent away from their home.  In 1446 Rudolf von Wolfurt returned a sum of money given him in trust by Duke Sigismund of Austria, to Count Heinrich von Furstenberg.  Finally, in 1530, the lords of Wolfurt let their castle to the banished Abbot Kilian of St. Gall, and left this part of Germany, probably owing to the rapid advance of the Swiss confederation.

The first record of the De Wolfs of Sagan, in Silesia, occurs in the archives of that State in the year 1452, when George De Wolff was plenipotentiary of the Dukes Balthasar and Rudolf of Sagan to the town of Goerlitz. In 1465, at the sale of a share in the town hall of Sagan, by Duke Hans, among the witnesses mentioned is 'our dear faithful Hans de Wolff'. (State archives of Dresden, No. 4371).  In 1474, a grant was made by the Dukes Ernest and Albrecht of Saxony to Jorge De Wolff over Hansdorf, Wolfsdorf and Klein Selten in the principality of Sagan.  In 1539 there is a record of the inheritance homage of the brothers Balthasar and Casper De Wolff to Duke Heinrich of Saxony.  In 1543 the letters-patent given by Duke Moritz of Saxony to the brothers Balthasar and Casper De Wolff over the estates of Hansdorf, Wolfsdorf and Klein Selton are confirmed. Hans De Wolff was chosen burgomaster of Sagan for the years 1543, 1546 and 1549.  (Dresden State archives).

The Livonian branch of the family is an offshoot of the above mentioned Silesian house, and is descended from Sigismund Adam von De Wolff, who was born in Sagan in 1646, and settled in Nariva, Livonia, where he held various posts of honor, until his death in 1720.  His son, Sigismund Adam von De Wolff, was born in 1675.  When Nariva was captured by the Russians, he was among the prisoners taken as hostages to Moscow, where he came under the notice of Peter the Great, who made him his private secretary. He founded the college of justice and was its vice-president.  Sigismund Adam von De Wolff and his descendants were enrolled in the Livonian and Esthonian nobility.  In 1747, on giving proofs of his ancient nobility, he was granted Vienna, for himself, his given sons and their descendants, the title of baron of the empire.  He preferred this to the Russian title of count, the choice between the two having been given him.  The Empress Elizabeth, daughter of Peter the Great, presented him with several estates in Livonia.  From him are descended the several Barons von De Wolff now living in Livonia.  His brother, Carl Gottfried, was also created Baron De Wolff; he had a son, Sir Jacob De Wolff, who settled in England, and was created a baronet in 1766.  He married Anne, daughter of the Rt. Hon. Edward Weston, Secretary of State for Ireland. He died in 1808 and left one son, Sir James De Wolff, born in 1778, who died without male issue; their country seats were Cams Hall and Lyndhurst, in County Hants.

The genealogist of the De Wolf family in America has satisfied himself that the immigrant ancestor of the family here under consideration came from the Livonian branch of the ancient De Wolfes of Europe.  The crest of the Livonian De Wolffs is the same as that of the American family, and there is a widely held tradition in the family of Baron Ariste De Wolff, that early in the seventeenth century a younger son of the Baron of that day left Livonia, presumably for America, and was never heard from. Another tradition, accepted by some of the family, is that their ancestors emigrated from the Baltic Province of Livonia to Germany, thence to Normandy, and from there to England with William the Conqueror.  This would seem to be borne out by the names of the children in this country, which are those of the English Bible, and in common use in England.  In view of the prejudices of the time, the fact that Balthasar De Wolf's children married into the best families of Lyme, Conn., would add further to the tradition.

(I)  Balthasar De Wolf, or as the name is spelled, Baltazer De Woolfe, is first recorded in America on March 5, 1656, when he was one of those presented before 'A Perticular Court in Hartford', Connecticut, 'for smoking in the street contra to law.'  At that time he was evidently a resident of what is now Branford, for we find his name on a list of persons who settled in that town between 1645 and 1660.  In 1664 he was a resident of Wethersfield, Conn.  Four years later he was a member of the train band at Lyme, Conn., with his three sons.  It has been supposed that Balthasar De Wolf was about forty-five years of age at that time.  He was made a freeman by the court at Hartford, in May, 1671. In 1677 he was chosen a member of the committee of the town, and was yet alive in 1695.  Little is known of his wife, Alice.  She was living on March 5, 1687, when she is mentioned in a deed of land given by Balthasar to his son Simon.

(II)  Edward De Wolf, son of Balthasar and Alice De Wolf, was born in 1646, and died March 24, 1712.  He is referred to in the records of Lyme, Conn., as a carpenter; he was a member of a committee to arbitrate the differences between the people of New London, and the builders of a church.  About 1688, Edward De Wolf was one of the four to whom permission was granted to build a saw mill at Eight-Mile river.  In 1701 he was granted liberty to set up a corn mill near the sawmill by his house. This is supposed to be the site owned by the late Oliver Lay, in Laysville, about two miles and a half from the center of the village of Lyme. It will thus be seen that he was also a millwright and miller.  He was one of the volunteers in King Philip's War, who in December, 1675, surrounded the Indians in the Swampy Fort, and to whom the State of Connecticut granted the township of Narragansett, now Voluntown, Conn., as a reward for their services.  Edward De Wolf probably continued to reside in Lyme, however.  He was survived by his wife, Rebecca, to whom he has been married not later than 1670.

(III)  Charles De Wolf, son of Edward and Rebecca De Wolf, was born September 18, 1673, and died December 5, 1731.  He married Prudence (according to some authorities Patience) White, and resided in Glastonbury, and Middletown, Conn.  He engaged in business as a dealer in general merchandise, and by his industry and thrift acquired a considerable property for those times.

(IV)  Charles (2) De Wolf, son of Charles (1) and Prudence (White) De Wolf, was born in 1695, at Lyme, Conn., the eldest of a family of ten children.  Apparently he learned the same trade as his grandfather, for it is said he 'went from Lyme, Conn., to the Island of Guadeloupe, as a millwright'.  It is thought that he remained in the French Indies for the rest of his life.  There he married, on March 31, 1717, an Englishwoman, Margaret Potter, who never came to the United States.

(V)  Captain Mark Anthony De Wolf, son of Charles (2) and Margaret (Potter) De Wolf, was born November 8, 1726, on the Island of Guadeloupe in the French Indies.  He was educated in a French school on the island. When he was about seventeen years old, he was brought to Bristol, R. I., by Captain Simeon Potter, whose sister, Abigail, he later married. Young De Wolf spoke several languages, and because of his proficiency in them became Captain Potter's secretary and clerk, and accompanied him on many of his famous buccaneering expeditions, and later commanded ships belonging to him.  In December, 1744, a few months after his marriage, he sailed from Bristol, as first officer of the privateer 'Prince Charles of Lorraine', which was under the command of Captain Potter, and on December 22, of that year, surprised and captured the French settlement of Oyapoc, French Guiana, making heavy reprisals on the inhabitants of the town. At the outbreak of the Revolution, De Wolf found himself in comfortable circumstances.  He settled in Bristol, R. I., where his house was one of the nineteen burned by the British in 1778.  It was located at the south corner of Burton and Hope streets.  After the burning of his home, he removed to Swansea, Mass., for the safety of his family, where he settled on a farm, and undismayed by his misfortunes, set out energetically to recoup his losses.  In 1783 he returned to Bristol, reinstated in his fortunes.

On August 26, 1744, Mark Anthony De Wolf married Abigail Potter, born February 2, 1726, in Bristol, daughter of Hopestill and Lydia Potter, and sister of Captain Potter.  Their sons later figured prominently in the shipping and commercial life of Bristol.  Abigail De Wolf survived her husband fifteen years and died on February 7, 1809.  Among their children was Charles, of further mention.

(VI)  Captain Charles (3) De Wolf, son of Captain Mark Anthony and Abigail (Potter) De Wolf, was born in Bristol, R. I., February 25, 1745.  He entered early on a seafaring life, and was a master mariner and merchant, engaged in the West India trade, in which he amassed a large fortune.  He was one of the most prominent and influential men of Bristol, highly esteemed as a public benefactor.  He was a member of the Jeffersonian party, then known as the Republicans, his sympathies in political and national  issues inclining to the French rather than the English.  He was averse to the mingling of politics and religion, and was one of the signers of the protest addressed to the pastor of the Congregational church in Bristol against political sermons delivered in church.  Because of this he and many others later joined St. Michael's Protestant Episcopal Church of Bristol.  Captain De Wolf subscribed one hundred and twenty-one dollars to the erection of the first public library of Bristol, and also gave one hundred dollars toward the erection of a building, completed in 1809, the first floor of which was to be the property of the town as a free school forever.  One-half the expense of this building was borne by the Masonic fraternity, which used the upper floor as a meeting place.

Captain Charles (3) De Wolf, and his son, General George De Wolf, were the principle owners of the full-rigged ship 'Juno', of 250 tons, which sailed from Bristol with a crew of twenty-six men, August 13, 1804, to trade along the northwestern coast of the United States.  His home in Bristol, on Thames street, at the foot of Constitution street, was one of the finest of the day.  Captain Charles (3) De Wolf was one of the most distinguished figures in the life of Bristol for many decades. He took an active and important part in the American Revolution and in the War of 1812, and was an intimate friend of Governor Bradford and General Knox, the latter of whom visited him in Bristol, and presented him with several pieces of silverware, which are still in the family.  It is highly probable that he became acquainted with Washington on his visit to Bristol to consult with Governor Bradford.

Captain Charles (3) De Wolf married (first), April 28, 1771, in Bristol, Mary Tyler, daughter of Rev. Barnabas and Martha Tyler, of Bristol. He married (second) June 3, 1789, Elizabeth Rogerson, and (third) Abigail Greene.  The descendants of Charles in both the direct and collateral lines have been a race noted for intellectuality, and for their fine capacity for worthy achievement in professional and in business life.

(VII)  General George De Wolf, son of Captain Charles (3) and Mary (Tyler) De Wolf, was born in Bristol, R. I., June 15, 1778.  Like his father, he was a ship owner and merchant, and was highly successful. He also owned a plantation in Cuba, and in the working of this employed many slaves.  At one time his wealth seemed destined to rival that of his uncle, James De Wolf, it not to surpass it, but reverses came and the failure of his business almost paralyzed the town.  He retained, however, his position in the life of Bristol, and was always eminently esteemed.  He was very prominent in military affairs, and is said to have been one of the handsomest men in the military forces, making a splendid figure on horseback.  He was brigadier-general in command of the First Brigade of Rhode Island troops, composed of Newport and Bristol county men, in the years 1818-19-20-21, and in 1822 was commissioned major-general in command of the State troops, holding this post in 1823-24-25. In 1810 he erected 'Linden Place', in Bristol, his homestead, which is a fine specimen of the best architecture of the period.  The homestead is in the central part of the city, and is distinguished by a fine portico, lofty Corinthian columns, and an old fashioned balustrade of intricate pattern surrounding the roof.  Here, in 1817, General De Wolf entertained President Monroe.  'Linden Place' is now the home of Colonel Samuel Pomeroy Colt, son of Christopher and Theodora Goudjand (De Wolf) Colt, the latter a daughter of General George De Wolf, born 1820, died in 1901. General De Wolf married Charlotte Patten Goodwin, daughter of Attorney-General Henry Goodwin, of Newport, R. I., and his wife, Mary, daughter of Governor William and Mary (LeBaron) Bradford, of Bristol.  Charlotte Patten De Wolf died June 5, 1857.  General George De Wolf died June 7, 1844.

(VIII) Theodora Goujand De Wolf, daughter of General George and Charlotte Patten (Goodwin) De Wolf, was born in Bristol, R. I., October 12, 1820. She was a woman of exemplary Christian life.  She was talented, and highly educated, a student and scholar, a lover and patron of the arts, dispensing goodness and charity throughout her long life.  She was the author of a volume of poems on a variety of subjects, which reveals intellectuality of a high order.

On November 14, 1837, in Hartford, Conn., Theodora Goujand De Wolf, became the wife of Christopher Colt, of that city.  She died in Bristol, R. I., in 1901, in her eighty-first year.  Here children were:  1.  George.  2.  Isabella, who married Francis Eugene De Wolf, of Bristol.  3.  Le Baron Bradford, United States Senator from Rhode Island.  4.  Samuel Pomeroy.  (See Colt XI).

[For pictures of the Colt Family graves at Juniper Hill Cemetery, Bristol Historical Cemetery #003 click here.]

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LeBaron B. ColtLeBARON BRADFORD COLT, United States Senator from Rhode Island, and one of the foremost figures of the day in legislative circles, was born in Dedham, Mass., June 25, 1846, son of Christopher and Theodora Goujand (De Wolf) Colt.  He is descended both paternally and maternally from notable founder families of New England; his ancestry in the direct line is treated at length in the article devoted to Colonel Samuel Pomeroy Colt, which precedes this.  He was prepared for college at Williston Seminary, and matriculated at Yale in 1864.  Graduating with the class of 1868, he entered the Law School of Columbia University in New York City, where he received the degree of L.L. B., in 1870.  Later he received the degrees of L.L. D. from Columbia College, Yale Collage and Brown University. After a year of European travel, he returned to America and established in practice in Chicago, where he remained until 1875.  In the latter year he returned to Rhode Island, took up his residence at Bristol, and began active practice of his profession in Providence.  From 1876 to 1881 he was associated in partnership with Hon. Francis Colwell, later city solicitor of Providence.  From 1879 to 1881, Mr. Colt represented the town of Bristol in the Rhode Island Legislature.  In March, 1881, by this time a recognized leader in the legal profession in Rhode Island, Mr. Colt was appointed United States district judge for the District of Rhode Island by President Arthur.  On July 6, 1884, he was made United States circuit judge, for the First Judicial Circuit, comprising the States of Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts and Rhode Island, and filled this office until 1913, in which year he became the candidate of the Republican party for United States Senator from Rhode Island, and was elected to office. On the expiration of his term in 1919, Senator Colt was returned to the Senate by popular vote, and is now serving his second term.  Senator Colt has been a prominent and influential figure in legislative and official circles in Washington since the beginning of his first term.

On December 17, 1873, he married Mary Louise Ledyard, daughter of Guy Carlton and Elizabeth (Morris) Ledyard, of Chicago.  Their children are:  1.  Theodoroa L., married Edwin A. Barrows, of Providence. 2.  LeBaron C., born Feb. 26, 1877, died May 26, 1916.  3.  Guy Pomeroy, born Dec. 4, 1878, died Nov. 17, 1885.  4.  Mary Louise, born July 25, 1880; married Harold J. Gross, of Providence. 5.  Elizabeth L., born Oct. 29, 1887; married Andrew Weeks Anthony, of Boston.  6.  Beatrice, born June 1, 1891, died Nov. 18, 1914.


These documents are made available free to the public for non-commercial purposes by the Rhode Island USGenWeb Project. Transcription and pictures 2001-2 by Beth Hurd

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