2nd Chief Justice
US Constitution Ratified
March 4, 1789
3rd Chief Justice
of the United States
US Senator (Class 1)
4th Chief Justice
Chief Justice Oliver Ellsworth, born 29 April 1745, was the son of Capt. David Ellsworth and Jemima Leavitt. He and Abigail Wolcott, b. 8 Feb 1755, were married on 10 Dec 1772.
Oliver began studying theology at Yale University but left after two years. He finished his studies in 1766, after transferring to law, at the College of New Jersey, now Princeton University.
In 1787 Oliver was part of the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia and played a role in drafting the document. It was Oliver Ellsworth who proposed using the name "United States" to refer to the government in the document. There was some debate to instead officially use the phrase "national government". Ellsworth's proposal was chosen to designate the government and has been in use ever since.
In 1789 he became a Senator and was appointed chairman of the committee tasked with organizing the judiciary. He was nominated to the Supreme Court by President George Washington on 3 Mar 1796, took his seat 8 Mar 1796, and resigned 16 Oct 1800.
Oliver Ellsworth died 26 Nov 1807. His widow, Abigail (Wolcott) Ellsworth died 4 Aug 1818.
Oliver married Abigail Wolcott, daughter of William Wolcott and Abigail Abbott on 10 Dec 1772. A story is told among descendants that when Ellsworth made his first visit to the Wolcott house he called upon the elder sister, "but that the black eyes of Abigail, who sat demurely carding tow in the chimney corner, made him change his mind, and the next time he went there he called for her... [Tradition has it] that she was a beauty, and one or two anecdotes present her to posterity as an uncommonly loving and lovable woman. Unrelaxing in industry, she was given to charity, and had an unfailing kindness for all about her. That a briefless young lawyer should win, apparently without objection from her family, the daughter of so respectable a house, is evidence of the wholesome democracy in which they lived. It is evidence, too, of the sincerity of their affection for each other."
Oliver and Abigail had the following children:
In the memory of
OLIVER ELLSWORTH L.L.D.
An assistant in the Council and
a Judge of the Superior Court
of the State of Connecticut. A
member of the Convention which
formed and of the State Convention
of Connecticut which adopted
the Constitution of the United State
Senator and Chief Justice
of the United States,
one of the Envoys Extraordinary
and Ministers Plenipotentiary
who made the convention of 1800
between the United States
and the French Republic.
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Oliver is 18 degrees from Claude Monet, 18 degrees from Gigi Tanksley and 16 degrees from Victoria of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland on our single family tree. Login to find your connection.