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Theodore Sedgwick


In office
December 2, 1799 – March 4, 1801
President John Adams
Preceded by Jonathan Dayton
Succeeded by Nathaniel Macon

Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Massachusetts's 4th district
In office
March 4, 1789 – March 3, 1793
Preceded by None
Succeeded by Henry Dearborn, George Thatcher, Peleg Wadsworth (General ticket)

Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Massachusetts's 2nd district
In office
March 4, 1793 – March 3, 1795
Preceded by Benjamin Goodhue
Succeeded by William Lyman

Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Massachusetts's 1st district
In office
March 4, 1795 – June 1796
March 4, 1799 – March 4, 1801
Preceded by Fisher Ames, Samuel Dexter, Benjamin Goodhue, Samuel Holten (General ticket)
Thomson J. Skinner
Succeeded by Thomson J. Skinner
John Bacon

In office
June 11, 1796 – March 4, 1799
Preceded by Caleb Strong
Succeeded by Samuel Dexter

In office
June 27, 1798 – December 5, 1798
President John Adams
Preceded by Jacob Read
Succeeded by John Laurance

Born May 9, 1746 (1746-05-09)
West Hartford, Connecticut
Died January 24, 1813 (1813-01-25) (aged 66)
Boston, Massachusetts
Political party Federalist
Alma mater Yale College
Profession Law
Military service
Service/branch Continental Army
Rank Major
Battles/wars American Revolutionary War

Theodore Sedgwick (May 9, 1746 – January 24, 1813), a Delegate, a Representative, and a United States Senator from Massachusetts and the fifth Speaker of the United States House of Representatives, was born in West Hartford, Connecticut.

Sedgwick attended Yale College, where he studied theology and law. He did not graduate, but went on to study law under Mark Hopkins of Great Barrington, the grandfather of Mark Hopkins, the distinguished later president of Williams College. He was admitted to the bar in 1766 and commenced practice in Great Barrington, Massachusetts.He moved to Sheffield, Massachusetts. During the American Revolutionary War, he served in the Continental Army as a major, and took part in the expedition to Canada and the Battle of White Plains in 1776.[1]

Sedgwick married, April 17, 1774 (his second), Pamela Dwight, born June 26, 1753, died September 20, 1807, daughter of Brigadier General Joseph Dwight of Great Barrington and his second wife and her second husband, Abigail Williams (Sargent) Dwight. Pamela was the granddaughter of Colonel Ephraim Williams, the founder of Williams College. They had ten children of whom three died within a year of birth.[2 ]

A Federalist, Sedgwick's political career began in 1780 and lasted until he became a judge of the Supreme Court of Massachusetts in 1802, a position he held until his death in Boston, Massachusetts in 1813. He was buried in Stockbridge, Massachusetts, and his grave is at the center of the "Sedgwick Pie"[3].

He is an ancestor of Kyra Sedgwick, the American actress.

Mum Bett

As lawyers he and Tapping Reeve pled the case of Brom and Bett vs. Ashley for Mum Bett, a black slave who had fled from her master on account of cruel treatment. The jury ruled that she was free, thus making this case the earliest application of the declaration of the Massachusetts Constitution of 1780 that "all men are born free and equal." This decision was later upheld by the state Supreme Court after Sedgwick became a justice thereof. Mum Bett, who changed her name to Elizabeth Freeman, chose to work for the Sedgwick household for much of the rest of her life and is buried in the family plot. Her grave (also in the "Sedgwick Pie") is marked by a monument beside the grave of his daughter Catharine Maria Sedgwick, one of the first noted female writers in the United States.[2 ] He also helped Elizabeth Freeman sue for her freedom. He helped her sue Colonel John Ashley of Sheffield, Massachusetts.

References

  1. ^ James M. Banner, Jr. "Sedgwick, Theodore"; American National Biography Online, February 2000.
  2. ^ a b New Haven Colony Historical Society
  3. ^ Sedgwick Pie - Listing of Graves, Stockbridge, MA Cemetery

External links

United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
(none)
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Massachusetts's 4th congressional district

March 4, 1789 – March 4, 1793
Succeeded by
Henry Dearborn, George Thatcher, Peleg Wadsworth (General ticket)
(Maine District)
Preceded by
Benjamin Goodhue
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Massachusetts's 2nd congressional district

March 4, 1793 – March 4, 1795
alongside: Dwight Foster, William Lyman, Artemas Ward on a General ticket
Succeeded by
William Lyman
Preceded by
Fisher Ames, Samuel Dexter, Benjamin Goodhue, Samuel Holten (General Ticket)
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Massachusetts's 1st congressional district

March 4, 1795 – June 1796
Succeeded by
Thomson J. Skinner
Preceded by
Thomson J. Skinner
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Massachusetts's 1st congressional district

March 4, 1799 – March 4, 1801
Succeeded by
John Bacon
United States Senate
Preceded by
Caleb Strong
United States Senator (Class 2) from Massachusetts
June 11, 1796 – March 4, 1799
Served alongside: Benjamin Goodhue
Succeeded by
Samuel Dexter
Political offices
Preceded by
Jacob Read
President pro tempore of the United States Senate
June 27, 1798 – December 5, 1798
Succeeded by
John Laurance
Preceded by
Jonathan Dayton
Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives
December 2, 1799 – March 4, 1801
Succeeded by
Nathaniel Macon
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