Declaration of Independence

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. - That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Laura Collins Wolcott

Laura Collins, the daughter of Captain Daniel and Lois Cornwall Collins of Guilford, Connecticut, married Oliver Wolcott, future signer of the Declaration of Independence, in January 1759. Laura descended from the first settlers and a member of a well-to-do Connecticut family. The National Cyclopedia of American Biography article about Laura reads, "She was a woman of almost masculine strength of mind, energetic and thrifty; and while Governor Wolcott was away from home, attended to the management of their farm, educated their younger children, and made it possible for her husband to devote his energies to his country."

Oliver, the youngest son of Roger Wolcott, a former Connecticut governor, was thirty-three years old when he brought his twenty-three year old bride home to Litchfield. He had graduated from Yale, served as a captain in the army, and studied medicine before being appointed as county sheriff. He continued to be involved in public matters. He continued to be active in the militia, eventually reaching the rank of major-general. He was elected as a council member and served there until being elected as Lieutenant-Governor in 1786. While a member of the Continental Congress, he spent a large part of his time with the army or recruiting and organizing troops for the army. He was elected Governor in 1796 and held that office until his death in 1797 at age 71.

Laura was as patriotic as her husband and opened her home to those who were aiding the cause of liberty. Oliver gave freely of his money for the cause, and Laura gave blankets, stockings, and supplies from their farm to the army "almost continuously."

Laura and Oliver were blessed with three sons and two daughters; one son died in infancy and the other children lived to adulthood. Laura passed away in April 1794 at age 58 without the opportunity to see her husband elected as governor.

Information and quotes are from Wives of the Signers - The women behind the Declaration of Independence, pp 103-112.

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