Wadsworth, Elijah, 1747-1816 or 1817

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Elijah Wadsworth was a Western Reserve pioneer who came from Litchfield, Conn. to Canfield, Ohio in 1802. He was sheriff of Trumbull County and Major-General of the 4th Division, Ohio Militia during the War of 1812. His son, Frederick, was sheriff of Portage County, Ohio. Wedworth Wadsworth, a cousin, lived in Durham, Connecticut.

From the description of Elijah Wadsworth family papers, 1792-1868 [microform]. (Rhinelander District Library). WorldCat record id: 45857229

From the description of Family papers, 1792-1868. (Rhinelander District Library). WorldCat record id: 22407961

Elijah Wadsworth (1747-1817) was born in Hartford, Connecticut. At the time of the Revolutionary War he assisted in raising Sheldon's regiment of Dragoons in which he was commissioned Lieutenant; he was later made Captain. He married in 1780 and settled in Litchfield, Connecticut.

According to The Wadsworth Family in America (page 176), "In 1799, having become associated with the company who purchased the Connecticut Western Reserve from the State of Connecticut, he first went to the North Western Territory, and in the fall of 1802, he removed his family from Litchfield, Connecticut, to Canfield, Trumbull County, North Western Territory. On the organization of the state government of Ohio, he was elected Sheriff of the County of Trumbull, at the first general election in January, 1803, and when the Militia of the state was organized by the Legislature in the winter of 1803-1804, he was elected Major General of the 4th Division of the Ohio Militia which embraced more than one-third of the northern part of the state."

General Wadsworth retained command of the Militia during the War of 1812. He assumed the responsibility of paying and supplying his men which put him into debt personally to the amount of $26,551.02.

Elijah Wadsworth was born in November 1747 in Hartford, Connecticut. Prior to 1770, he moved to Litchfield, Connecticut, and was a resident at the time of the Revolution. Wadsworth was at West Point in 1780 when Major Andre, the British spy involved in the Benedict Arnold treason episode, was taken prisoner. Andre was placed in Wadsworth's custody. Wadsworth married Rhoda Hopkins in 1780, and they had five children.

At the time of the Revolution, Wadsworth helped to raise Sheldon's regiment of light dragoons. He became a lieutenant in this regiment which was placed under the immediate command of General George Washington and saw much action against the British. Wadsworth served honorably until the end of the war and was promoted to Captain.

In 1795, he was one of the earliest members of the land company which purchased the Western Reserve from the State of Connecticut. In 1799 he succeeded Nathaniel Church as the agent of the Proprietors of Canfield Township, Ohio. He spent the summers of 1799-1801 in the Western Reserve surveying, but returned to Connecticut each fall. In addition to his work as a civil engineer, Wadsworth accepted the postmastership of Canfield, Ohio, in 1801. He was instrumental in establishing the first mail route to the Western Reserve in 1803. He served as postmaster again in 1813. He spent the spring and summer of 1802 in the Western Reserve, and settled in Canfield, then in Trumbull County, Ohio, where he was a landowner.

Wadsworth was elected by the Ohio legislature in 1804 to be major general of the 4th Division, embracing the northeast section of Ohio which included Trumbull, Columbiana, and Jefferson counties. He had been elected sheriff of Trumbull County the previous year. As a major general, Wadsworth had the responsibility of organizing a militia for this area. Elisha Whittlesey was one of his aides.

After the surrender of the American General Hull's forces to the British at Detroit in August 1812, the entire northwestern frontier was exposed to enemy operations. Wadsworth's responsibilities were greatly enlarged as a result. In November of 1812, he reached the age of 65, retired from the service, and returned home. His last activity for the army was to organize a 1,500-man militia to join the northwestern army of William Henry Harrison.

Wadsworth died on December 30, 1817 in Canfield, Ohio. During the War of 1812, he had been an able commander, but in the securing of supplies for the subsistence of his troops, he incurred heavy personal debts. He died under a judgement in connection with these sums. Congress, however, discharged the judgement in 1825.

From the guide to the Elijah Wadsworth Family Papers, 1742-1868, (Western Reserve Historical Society)

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
creatorOf Wadsworth, Elijah, 1747-1817. Family papers, 1792-1868. Western Reserve Historical Society, Research Library
creatorOf Elijah Wadsworth Family Papers, 1742-1868 Western Reserve Historical Society
creatorOf Wadsworth, Elijah, 1747-1817. Elijah Wadsworth family papers, 1792-1868 [microform]. Western Reserve Historical Society, Research Library
creatorOf Whittlesey, Elisha, 1783-1863. Papers, 1811-1863. Western Reserve Historical Society, Research Library
creatorOf Beard, Jedediah. War of 1812 : collection of papers, 1792-1876. Western Reserve Historical Society, Research Library
creatorOf Coffinberry, James M., 1818-1891. Maria D. Coffinberry family papers, 1767-1930. Western Reserve Historical Society, Research Library
creatorOf Hine, Homer H., 1776-1856. Papers, 1796-1857. Western Reserve Historical Society, Research Library
creatorOf Huntington, Samuel, 1765-1817. Correspondence, 1801-1817. Western Reserve Historical Society, Research Library
creatorOf Huntington, Samuel, 1765-1817. Samuel Huntington correspondence, 1801-1817 [microform]. Western Reserve Historical Society, Research Library
referencedIn Whittlesey, Elijah. Notebook, ca. 1853. Western Reserve Historical Society, Research Library
Role Title Holding Repository
Relation Name
associatedWith Austin, Eliphalet. person
associatedWith Boardman, Elijah. person
associatedWith Bradley, Abraham. person
associatedWith Connecticut Land Company. corporateBody
associatedWith Granger, Gideon, 1767-1822. person
associatedWith Guitteau, Judson. person
associatedWith Hine, Homer H., 1776-1856. person
associatedWith Holmes, Uriel. person
associatedWith Huntington, Samuel, 1765-1817. person
associatedWith Johnston, John W. person
associatedWith Johnston, John W. person
associatedWith Kirby, Ephraim. person
associatedWith Kirby, Ephraim. person
associatedWith Kirtland, J. P. (Jared Potter), 1793-1877. person
associatedWith Ohio. Militia. Division, 4th. corporateBody
associatedWith Ohio. Militia. Division, 4th. corporateBody
associatedWith Skinner, Roger. person
associatedWith Skinner, Roger. person
associatedWith Sloane, John, 1779-1856. person
associatedWith Tallmadge, Benjamin, 1754-1835. person
associatedWith Tappan, Benjamin, 1773-1857. person
associatedWith Tiffin, Edward, 1766-1829. person
associatedWith Wadsworth family. family
associatedWith Wadsworth family. family
associatedWith Wadsworth, Frederick, 1786-1869. person
associatedWith Wadsworth, James. person
associatedWith Wadsworth, James, 1768-1844. person
associatedWith Wadsworth, Wedworth, 1782-1860. person
associatedWith Whittlesey, Elijah. person
associatedWith Whittlesey, Elisha, 1783-1863. person
associatedWith Wolcott, Frederick. person
associatedWith Wolcott, Frederick. person
Place Name Admin Code Country
Michigan--Monroe County
Ohio--Western Reserve
Ohio--Medina County
Western Reserve (Ohio)
Western Reserve (Ohio)
Ohio--Western Reserve
Ohio--Medina County
Michigan--Monroe County
United States
Trumbull County (Ohio)
Ohio
Ohio
United States
Trumbull County (Ohio)
Subject
Trumbull County (Ohio)--History--Sources
Ohio--Militia--History--War of 1812--Sources
United States--History--War of 1812--Sources
Western Reserve (Ohio)--Surveys
Wadsworth family
Western Reserve (Ohio)--Biography
Western Reserve (Ohio)--History--Sources
Real property--Ohio--Western Reserve
Real property--Ohio--Medina County
Ohio--Politics and government--1787-1865
Real property--Michigan--Monroe County
Connecticut Land Company
Real property
Wadsworth, Elijah, 1747-1817
Ohio--History--War of 1812--Sources
Occupation
Function

Person

Birth 1747

Death 1817

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