Justice Theodore Sedgwick (c.1746 - 1813) MP

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Theodore Sedgwick, US General, U.S. Senator & Speaker of the House's Geni Profile

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Birthplace: Hartford, Hartford, Connecticut
Death: Died in Stockbridge, Berkshire, Massachusetts, United States
Managed by: Michael Reid Delahunt, art teacher & lexicographer
Last Updated:

About Justice Theodore Sedgwick

A Patriot of the American Revolution for MASSACHUSETTS with the rank of LIEUTENANT COLONEL. DAR Ancestor #: A101376

Theodore Sedgwick was a delegate to the convention that ratified the U.S. Constitution. He served in the Continental Congress, then six years in the U.S. House of Representatives, three years in the U.S. Senate, and three more years in the House of Representatives as Speaker of the House (1799-1801).

Theodore Sedgwick's second wife was Pamela Dwight, daughter of Joseph Dwight and Abigail Williams Sergeant Dwight —€” former wife of Jonathan Sergeant. The house he built at Stockbridge (known as the old Sedgwick mansion) is still owned by the Sedgwick family at the beginning of the 21st century.

Following is Wikipedia's article about Theodore Sedgwick (2009) at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Theodore_Sedgwick

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.

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 [sic. This assertion is incorrect. The founder of Williams College was Pamela's maternal uncle, Ephraim Williams, Jr. (born March 7, 1715, Newton, MA, died September 8, 1755, Lake George, NY. Pamela's maternal grandfather was Ephraim Williams, Sr. (born October 21, 1691, Newton, MA, died August 10, 1754, Deerfield, MA).] They had ten children of whom three died within a year of birth.

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."

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

Mum Bett

As lawyers Theodore Sedgwick and Tapping Reeve pled the case of Brom and Bett vs. Ashley for Mum Bett (c. 1744-1829), a black slave who had fled from her master (Col. John Ashley's family in Sheffield, Mass.) on account of cruel treatment. In 1780, Mum Bett prevented her master's wife from striking another slave in the household, Lizzie, thought to be her sister. Mum Bett left the house and refused to return. When Ashley tried to use the force of law to compel her to return to the household, she went to Theodore Sedgwick and asked him to represent her in a suit for her freedom. 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.

According to tradition, before her legal action against the Ashleys, Mum Bett heard the discussions regarding the drafting of the Massachusetts constitution, most specifically the portion that reads: "All men are born free and equal, and have certain natural, essential, and unalienable rights; among which may be reckoned the right of enjoying and defending their lives and liberties; that of acquiring, possessing, and protecting property; in fine, that of seeking and obtaining their safety and happiness."

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. He also helped Elizabeth Freeman sue for her freedom. He helped her sue Colonel John Ashley of Sheffield, Massachusettes.

A trip to the Stockbridge Cemetery would not be complete without a visit to the famous Sedgwick Pie. Sedgwick lore has it that the graves are laid out with the patriarch and matriarch, Theodore and Pamela, in the center, with the rest in concentric circles around them, "so on Judgment Day, when they rose, they would see only Sedgwicks," Garrison said, although he added he believes that was a "joke they told on themselves."

There in the Sedgwick Pie stands the grave of Mum Bett, written as "Mumbet" on the gravestone, next to Catharine Sedgwick. People have sometimes placed stones on top of Mum Bett's grave in tribute to her.

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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Theodore_Sedgwick

Theodore Sedgwick (May 9, 1746 —€“ January 24, 1813) was a Delegate, a Representative, and a United States Senator from Massachusetts. He served as the fifth Speaker of the United States House of Representatives.

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.

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".

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

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. He also helped Elizabeth Freeman sue for her freedom. He helped her sue Colonel John Ashley of Sheffield, Massachusetts.

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Links:

http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=6654295&ref=wvr

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Theodore Sedgwick, US General, U.S. Senator & Speaker of the House's Timeline

1746
May 9, 1746
Hartford, Hartford, Connecticut
1772
1772
Age 25
1774
April 17, 1774
Age 27
1775
April 30, 1775
Age 28
1777
March 27, 1777
Age 30
1778
May 6, 1778
Age 31
1780
December 9, 1780
Age 34
Sheffield, Berkshire, MA, USA
1782
July 11, 1782
Age 36
1784
April 18, 1784
Age 37
1785
September 22, 1785
Age 39
Stockbridge, Berkshire, MA