Caroline Colt

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Caroline Colt (Henshaw)

Also Known As: "Julia", "Leicaster"
Immediate Family:

Wife of Col. Samuel Colt and John Colt
Mother of Samuel Caldwell Colt

Managed by: Private User
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Immediate Family

About Caroline Colt

Colt historian William Edwards wrote that Samuel Colt had married Caroline Henshaw (who later married his brother, John) in Scotland in 1838, and that the son she bore later was Samuel Colt's and not his brother John's. In a 1953 biography about Samuel Colt based largely on family letters, Edwards wrote that John Colt's marriage to Caroline in 1841 was a way to legitimize her unborn son as the real father, Samuel Colt, felt she was not fit to be the wife of an industrialist and divorce was a social stigma at the time. After John's death, Samuel Colt took care of the child, named Samuel Caldwell Colt, financially with a large allowance and paid for his tuition in what were described as "the finest private schools." In correspondence to and about his namesake, Samuel Colt referred to him as his "nephew" in quotes. Historians such as Edwards and Harold Schechter have said this was the elder Colt's way of letting the world know that the boy was his own son without directly saying so. After Colt's death in 1862, he left the boy $2 million by 2010 standards. Colt's widow, Elizabeth Jarvis Colt, and her brother, Richard Jarvis contested this. In probate Caroline's son Sam produced a valid marriage license showing that Caroline and Samuel Colt were married in Scotland in 1838 and that this document made him a rightful heir to part of Colt's estate, if not to the Colt Manufacturing Company.

On the morning of November 14, 1842, Colt and Henshaw were married in the prison at a small ceremony conducted by Rev Henry Anthon, an Episcopal Minister, and witnessed by Samuel Colt and John Howard Payne. After the ceremony and a few hours before the scheduled execution, a fire broke out in the Tombs. After the fire was extinguished, Colt's body was found in his cell. He had stabbed himself in the heart with a clasp knife, believed to have been smuggled to him by a family member. His body was taken by Rev Anthon and buried in the churchyard of St. Mark's Church in-the-Bowery.

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Caroline Colt's Timeline