Erastus Wolcott Shares His Men
When I was discussing the sponsorship of a new article with Tyson at Liberty & Co., I thought it might be fun for him to pick the most random Founder he could.
Whelp, he did...Erastus Wolcott.
With a good deal of research I was able to piece together the life and Revolutionary career of Erastus Wolcott. Additionally, during my research, I learned a great deal about ‘levies’ in the Revolutionary War. Essentially, these ‘levies’ were State militia companies which were temporarily loaned out to the Continental Army.
Thanks to Liberty & Co. for the suggestion and sponsorship, helping to make Founder of the Day possible.
Erastus Wolcott was born into an extremely successful Connecticut family.
His father, Roger Wolcott, had risen from a poor weaver to Chief Justice, Governor and Major General in the militia of the colony. Additionally, Roger was an attendee of the Albany Conference where Benjamin Franklin proposed the first Plan of Union.
Erastus followed in these footsteps and became a prominent politician in the years leading up to the American Revolution, spending three decades in the Connecticut Assembly.
As tensions in the Mother Country grew, Wolcott was named to Connecticut's Committee of Correspondence.
In 1774 Erastus was selected as a Delegate to the First Continental Congress, though he declined to serve. Like many, he believed attending to the business of his colony was more important than a meeting with men from far off locations. (His brother, Oliver Wolcott, did attend and would go on to sign the Declaration of Independence).
As hostilities grew, Erastus was chosen as a Brigadier General in the Connecticut Militia. His brigade were known as a ‘levies’ which were State Militia on loan to the Continental Army on a temporary basis.
In January of 1776, Erastus Wolcott marched his men to Boston.
He was stationed as reinforcements while General Washington attempted to enlist soldiers whose contracts had expired. He spent this time keeping watch over Dorchester Heights, though (with the exception of one false alarm) he did not see much action.
After the British evacuated Boston, Wolcott marched his men back home where he was quickly selected as Speaker of the Connecticut Assembly.
Wolcott spent much of the remainder of the Revolutionary War guarding his home State.
However, on several occasions he was sent to New York to work with the Continental Army where they once again acted as levies.
Erastus continued in this business until early 1781, when he resigned his commission to take a position with the Connecticut Superior Court. He continued to serve the public as a Justice for the remainder of his life.
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