was an American
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...
sea captain, merchant, and statesman from Hartford, Connecticut
Hartford is the capital of the U.S. state of Connecticut. The seat of Hartford County until Connecticut disbanded county government in 1960, it is the second most populous city on New England's largest river, the Connecticut River. As of the 2010 Census, Hartford's population was 124,775, making...
who profited from his position as a government official charged with supplying the Continental Army. He represented Connecticut
Connecticut is a state in the New England region of the northeastern United States. It is bordered by Rhode Island to the east, Massachusetts to the north, and the state of New York to the west and the south .Connecticut is named for the Connecticut River, the major U.S. river that approximately...
in both the Continental Congress
The Continental Congress was a convention of delegates called together from the Thirteen Colonies that became the governing body of the United States during the American Revolution....
and the United States House of Representatives
The United States House of Representatives is one of the two Houses of the United States Congress, the bicameral legislature which also includes the Senate.The composition and powers of the House are established in Article One of the Constitution...
He was a descendant of William Wadsworth
William Wadsworth was an early pioneer of New England, a founder of Hartford, Connecticut and the patriarch of numerous and prominent Wadsworth descendants of North America, including the poet Ezra Pound.-Origins:William’s exact origins have challenged descendants and researchers over the centuries...
, one of the founders of Hartford
Here are the 163 men and women listed in the Book of Distribution of Land as being those who settled in Hartford, Connecticut before February 1640. Their names are on a monument in Hartford's Ancient Burying Ground....
and a pastor of the town's Center Congregational Church. He went to sea in 1761 at the age of 18 for health reasons, starting as a regular sailor on one of his uncle's ships. He rose to become first mate of a vessel and eventually a captain who made his fortune in the West India trade.
During the American Revolution
When the war started, Wadsworth was appointed to a committee charged with buying 5,000 pairs of yarn stockings for the army (which had already been sent to Canada). He served on another committee to procure 1,800 pounds of "lawful money in specie" in exchange for bills for use by the army. The Connecticut General Assembly later commissioned him and Col. Jonathan Fitch to find a large number of tin kettles for the army. The next assignment was to buy up as much pork as he could (both to furnish the American army and to keep it out of the hands and stomachs of the British forces).
Having served effectively in these assignments in Connecticut, Congress elected him Deputy Commissary General of Purchases on June 17, 1777, but he resigned in August. When Congress reorganized the supply system, he became Commissary General in April 1778, resigneing in December 1779.
Reaching the rank of colonel, he became commissary for Comte de Rochambeau's army until the war's end. In the summer of 1783, he went to Paris to report to the French on his activities.
He is said to have turned a good profit for himself in his transactions for supplies.
Wadsworth was a good friend of Nathanael Greene and during the time Greene was Quarter-master General they formed some investment partnerships. After Greene's death in 1786 Jeremiah was both an adviser and suspected married lover to the widow Caty Greene.
After the Revolution
Wadsworth became a "pioneer in banking, insurance, and the breeding of cattle" after the war, according to historian North Callahan.
He was a member of the Continental Congress in 1788 and a member of the Connecticut convention which ratified the U.S. Constitution in 1788. From 1789 to 1795 he served three terms in the U.S. House of Representatives. He was a member of the Connecticut House of Representatives in 1795 and of the state Executive Council from 1795 to 1801.
He was appointed Treaty Commissioner, by George Washington
George Washington was the dominant military and political leader of the new United States of America from 1775 to 1799. He led the American victory over Great Britain in the American Revolutionary War as commander-in-chief of the Continental Army from 1775 to 1783, and presided over the writing of...
, at the Treaty of Big Tree
Treaty of Big Tree was a formal treaty, held from August 20, 1797 until September 16, 1797, between the Seneca nation and the United States of America. The delegates for both parties met at the residence of William Wadsworth, an early pioneer of the area and Captain of the local militia, in what is...
between the U.S. and the Seneca nation
The Seneca are a group of indigenous people native to North America. They were the nation located farthest to the west within the Six Nations or Iroquois League in New York before the American Revolution. While exact population figures are unknown, approximately 15,000 to 25,000 Seneca live in...
He died in Hartford, Conn., April 30, 1804, and is interred in the Ancient Burying Ground.