Sedgwick, Theodore, 1746-1813

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Theodore Sedgwick (May 9, 1746 – January 24, 1813) was an American attorney, politician and jurist, who served in elected state government and as a Delegate to the Continental Congress, a U.S. Representative, and a United States Senator from Massachusetts. He served as the fourth Speaker of the United States House of Representatives. He was appointed to the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court in 1802 and served there the rest of his life.

Born in West Hartford in the Connecticut Colony, Sedgwick was the son of Benjaman Sedgwick (1716–1755). His paternal immigrant ancestor Major General Robert Sedgwick arrived in 1636 in the Massachusetts Bay Colony, as part of the Great Migration.

Sedgwick attended Yale College, where he studied theology and law. He did not graduate, but continued in his study of law (to read law) under the attorney Mark Hopkins of Great Barrington. Hopkins was the grandfather of the Mark Hopkins who later became president of Williams College.

Sedgwick was admitted to the bar in 1766 and commenced practice in Great Barrington, Massachusetts. Among the prospective attorneys who learned the law in his office was Stephen Jacob, who later served on the Vermont Supreme Court. He moved to Sheffield. 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.

A Federalist, Sedgwick began his political career in 1780 as a delegate to the Continental Congress. He was elected as representative to the state house, and then as state senator. He was a charter member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1780.

In 1789 Sedgwick was elected as Representative to Congress from Massachusetts' first congressional district, and over time also represented Massachusetts' second district, serving until 1796. That year he was elected to the United States Senate, and served until 1799. In 1799 he was re-elected as a Representative, this time from the fourth district, and was elected the fifth Speaker of the House, serving until March 1801.

In 1802, Sedgwick was appointed a justice of the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts. He held this position until his death.

On January 24, 1813, Sedgwick died in Boston, Massachusetts at the age of 66. He was buried in Stockbridge, Massachusetts. His grave is at the center of the "Sedgwick Pie".

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
creatorOf Eustis, William, 1753-1825. Letters, 1779-1829. Massachusetts Historical Society
creatorOf Sedgwick, Theodore, 1746-1813. Letters, 1789-1801. Massachusetts Historical Society
creatorOf Strong, Caleb, 1745-1819. Papers, 1657-1818. Library of Congress
referencedIn Houghton Library printed book provenance file, R-Z and unidentified Houghton Library
referencedIn Records of the U.S. House of Representatives, 1789 - 2015. Journal of the House of Representatives, 3/4/1789 - 2000 National Archives Library, National Archives Records Administration
referencedIn Van Schaack, Peter, 1747-1832. Peter Van Schaack papers, 1776-1841. Library of Congress
referencedIn Princeton University Library, Dept. Of Rare Books & Mss., Ms. James Henry Coffin Papers.
creatorOf Sedgwick, Theodore, 1746-1813. Theodore Sedgwick correspondence, 1791 January 23. Library of Congress
referencedIn Hamilton, Alexander, 1757-1804. Papers, 1760-1830. [microform]. American Periodical Series I
creatorOf Sedgwick family. Sedgwick-Minot family papers, 1776-1908; bulk: 1823-1908. Massachusetts Historical Society
referencedIn John Lansing, Jr. papers, 1781-1870 New York Public Library. Manuscripts and Archives Division
creatorOf Norton family. Papers, 1492-1894, bulk: 1657-1858. Massachusetts Historical Society
referencedIn General Records of the Department of State, 1763 - 2002. Letters Received, 1789 - 1906 National Archives Library, National Archives Records Administration
creatorOf Gerry, Elbridge, 1744-1814. Letter, 1790 June 18, New York, to John Hancock, [Boston]. Boston Athenaeum
referencedIn Nathaniel Freeman papers, Freeman, Nathaniel papers, 1773- [1818] William L. Clements Library
creatorOf Gwathmey collection, 1708-1852 University of Virginia. Library
referencedIn King, Rufus, 1755-1827. Papers, 1783-1826. New-York Historical Society Library
creatorOf Sedgwick, Theodore, 1746-1813. Letter, 1777. Wisconsin Historical Society, Newspaper Project
creatorOf Otis, Harrison Gray, 1765-1848. Harrison Gray Otis papers, 1691-1870. Massachusetts Historical Society
creatorOf Sedgwick, Theodore, 1746-1813. Letter, 1786 Oct. 11. Boston Public Library, Central Library in Copley Square
referencedIn Nicholas Fish papers, Fish, Nicholas papers, 1775-1844 William L. Clements Library
referencedIn Schuyler, Philip John, 1733-1804. Journal, 1787. American Antiquarian Society
referencedIn Thomas Addis Emmet collection, 1483-1876 (bulk:1700-1800) New York Public Library. Manuscripts and Archives Division
creatorOf Child, Francis James, 1825-1896. Papers, 1787-1940. Library of Congress
referencedIn Hamilton, Alexander, 1757-1804. Alexander Hamilton papers, 1708-1903 (bulk 1777-1804). Library of Congress
creatorOf Bowdoin, James, 1726-1790. Shays' Rebellion papers, 1786-1787. Massachusetts Historical Society
referencedIn Van Schaack family. Papers, 1686-1887. Columbia University in the City of New York, Columbia University Libraries
referencedIn Frederick M. Dearborn collection of military and political Americana, Part I: The Revolution and the Administration, 1669-1958. Houghton Library
creatorOf Sibley, John Langdon, 1804-1885. Collected papers, 1627-1850. Massachusetts Historical Society
creatorOf Sedgwick, Catharine Maria, 1789-1867. Papers of Catharine Maria Sedgwick, 1801-1865 (bulk 1834-1865). University of Virginia. Library
creatorOf Gard, Daniel Hosmer, 1844-1925. Papers 1794-1925. Ohio History Connection, Ohio Historical Society
referencedIn Records of the National Park Service, 1785 - 2006. National Register of Historic Places and National Historic Landmarks Program Records, 2013 - 2017 National Archives Library, National Archives Records Administration
creatorOf Bancker, Gerard, 1740-1799. [New York and Massachusetts boundary papers], 1773-1787. Churchill County Museum
referencedIn King, Rufus, 1755-1827. Papers, 1783-1826 (bulk 1783-1826) New-York Historical Society
creatorOf Sedgwick, Catharine Maria, 1789-1867. Papers, 1798-1908. Massachusetts Historical Society
creatorOf Sedgwick family. Sedgwick family papers, 1717-1946 Massachusetts Historical Society
referencedIn Gratz, Simon. Alphabetical collection, 1677-1910. Historical Society of Pennsylvania
creatorOf Van Schaack, Henry, 1733-1823. Henry Van Schaack papers, 1734-1896, bulk 1756-1809. Newberry Library
creatorOf Davis, Caleb, 1738-1797. Papers, 1684-1826, bulk: 1750-1797. Massachusetts Historical Society
referencedIn Eli Porter Ashmun letter and autograph, 1811, 1812 New York Public Library. Manuscripts and Archives Division
referencedIn Alexander Hamilton Papers, 1708-1903, (bulk 1777-1804) Library of Congress. Manuscript Division
creatorOf Sedgwick, Theodore, 1746-1813. Autograph letter signed : Stockbridge, to Peter Van Schaack, 1792 Oct. 28. Pierpont Morgan Library.
referencedIn Autograph File, S, 1556-1996. Houghton Library
creatorOf Sedgwick, Theodore, 1746-1813. Theodore Sedgwick interleaved almanacs, 1786-1794. Massachusetts Historical Society
creatorOf Lowell, Charles, 1782-1861. Manuscripts, 1657-1853. Massachusetts Historical Society
Role Title Holding Repository
Relation Name
memberOf American academy of arts and sciences corporateBody
associatedWith Ashmun, Eli Porter, 1770-1819 person
correspondedWith Bourne, Benjamin, 1755-1808 person
associatedWith Child, Francis James, 1825-1896. person
associatedWith Davis, Caleb, 1738-1797. person
associatedWith Dearborn, Frederick M. (Frederick Myers), b. 1876 person
associatedWith Emmet, Thomas Addis person
associatedWith Emmet, Thomas Addis person
associatedWith Eustis, William, 1753-1825. person
associatedWith Freeman, Nathaniel, 1741-1827 person
associatedWith Gard, Daniel Hosmer, 1844-1925. person
associatedWith Gerry, Elbridge, 1744-1814. person
associatedWith Gratz, Simon. person
associatedWith Great Britain. 1794 Nov. 19. corporateBody
correspondedWith Hamilton, Alexander, 1757-1804. person
correspondedWith Henry, Joseph, 1797-1878 person
associatedWith Houghton Library. person
associatedWith King, Rufus, 1755-1827. person
associatedWith Lansing, John, 1754-1829 person
associatedWith Lowell, Charles, 1782-1861. person
memberOf Massachusetts. Supreme Judicial Court corporateBody
ancestorOf Minot, Katharine Sedgwick, 1820-1880. person
associatedWith Norton family. family
associatedWith Otis, Harrison Gray, 1765-1848. person
associatedWith Rufus King person
associatedWith Schuyler, Philip John, 1733-1804. person
parentOf Sedgwick, Catharine Maria, 1789-1867 person
associatedWith Sedgwick, Catharine Maria, 1789-1867. person
ancestorOf Sedgwick, Edie person
ancestorOf Sedgwick, Ellery, 1872-1960 person
associatedWith Sedgwick family. family
associatedWith Sedgwick family. family
ancestorOf Sedgwick, Henry Dwight, 1861-1957 person
relativeOf Sedgwick, John, 1813-1864 person
spouseOf Sedgwick, Pamela Dwight, 1753-1807. person
parentOf Sedgwick, Robert, 1787-1841 person
parentOf Sedgwick, Theodore, 1780-1839 person
associatedWith Sibley, John Langdon, 1804-1885. person
associatedWith Strong, Caleb, 1745-1819. person
associatedWith United States. Congress. corporateBody
memberOf United States. Congress. House of Representatives corporateBody
memberOf United States. Congress. Senate corporateBody
memberOf United States. Continental Army corporateBody
memberOf United States. Continental Congress corporateBody
associatedWith Van Schaack family. family
associatedWith Van Schaack, Henry, 1733-1823. person
associatedWith Van Schaack, Peter, 1747-1832, person
associatedWith William L. Clements Library corporateBody
alumnusOrAlumnaOf Yale University. corporateBody
Place Name Admin Code Country
West Hartford CT US
Boston MA US
Stockbridge MA US
District of Columbia DC US
Sheffield MA US
New York City NY US
Great Barrington MA US
Philadelphia PA US
Indians of North America--Government relations--1789-1869
Debts, Public
Account books
Home economics--Accounting
Justices of the peace
Speakers of the House, U.S. Congress
Senators, U.S. Congress--Massachusetts
Delegates, U.S. Continental Congress--Massachusetts
Representatives U.S. Congress--Massachusetts


Birth 1746-05-09

Death 1813-01-24






Ark ID: w69m51nn

SNAC ID: 84406068