Oliver Ellsworth

Detail from a portrait of Oliver Ellsworth, ca. 1891 – Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division

Oliver Ellsworth (1745-1807)

Oliver Ellsworth was an attorney, lawmaker, and diplomat involved in some of the most celebrated achievements of the colonial period. Born in Windsor in 1745, he studied law and attended both Yale and the College of New Jersey (now known as Princeton) before being admitted to the bar in 1771. Six years later, Connecticut appointed him the state’s attorney. In 1787 he took part in the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia and, in 1796, accepted an appointment as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. Ellsworth retired after just a few years but then accepted an appointment as a commissioner to France. He returned to America in 1801 and withdrew from public life, where he passed away in Windsor in 1807.


Oliver Ellsworth

Senator Oliver Ellsworth’s Judiciary Act

On April 7, 1789, the Senate appointed a committee, composed of one senator from each of the 10 states then represented in that body, to draft legislation to shape the national judiciary. …[more]

Learn More


Oliver Ellsworth Homestead Connecticut DAR. “Oliver Ellsworth Homestead,” n.d. Link.


Connecticut Digital Archive. “Oliver Ellsworth Collection,” n.d. Link.


Lettieri, Ronald John. Connecticut’s Young Man of the Revolution, Oliver Ellsworth. Hartford, CT: American Revolution Bicentennial Commission of Connecticut, 1978.
Casto, William R. Oliver Ellsworth and the Creation of the Federal Republic. New York, NY: Second Circuit Committee on History and Commemorative Events, 1997.
Casto, William R. “Oliver Ellsworth’s Calvinist Vision of Church and State in the Early Republic.” In The Forgotten Founders on Religion and Public Life. Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame Press, 2009.
Brown, William Garrott. The Life of Oliver Ellsworth. New York; London: Macmillan & Co., 1905. Link.