Wolcott, 1873 (Oliver Wolcott)

July 31, 2020

Wolcott (Oliver), 1873

Oliver Wolcott (1760-1833) was appointed by President George Washington to be the 2nd Secretary of the Treasury.  He served from February 3, 1795 to March 3, 1797.  Wolcott was retained in office by President John Adams and Served from March 4, 1797 to December 31, 1800.  When Alexander Hamilton, the 1st Secretary of the Treasury, resigned from the Cabinet, President Washington appointed Wolcott, placing in the office a man known to be a vigorous supporter of Alexander Hamilton's financial program.

Wolcott, a third generation scion of an American family prominent in Connecticut and national affairs during the colonial and early national periods, had attracted attention as a specialist in public finance for his work in settling the financial dispute between Connecticut and the Federal Government in 1784.  After serving briefly as Comptroller of Accounts for Connecticut during 1788-1789, he was named Auditor (1789-1791) and then Comptroller of the United States, where he served from 1791 until 1795.  An enthusiastic proponent of Alexander Hamilton's financial philosophy and program, Wolcott spent much of his tenure as Secretary of the Treasury defending his increasingly unpopular financial program against the attacks of the Jeffersonians.

He was retained in office as Secretary of the Treasury by President John Adams, and served through that Administration until his resignation during the election campaign of 1800, effective December 31, 1800, to accept the U.S. Judgeship of Connecticut. Oliver Wolcott died on June 1, 1833 in New York City.  He had served briefly in the Continental Army during the American Revolution.

Type/Rig/Class: Steamer

Builder: Risden Iron Works, San Francisco, California

Dates of Service: 1873 - 1897

Disposition: Sold in 1897

Displacement: 235 tons

Length: 155'

Beam: 22'

Draft: 9' 7"

Machinery: Vertical cylinder, surface condensing steam engine

Complement: 8 officers, 31 enlisted

Armament: 2 guns of unknown type and caliber

Cutter History:

Oliver Wolcott, also known simply as Wolcott, was built between 1872-1873 by the Risden Iron Works at San Francisco.  She was accepted for service by Revenue Captain White on behalf of the Government on 3 July 1873. She was built of white oak and yellow fir from Oregon and Washington, with bilge keels and iron-wire standing rigging.  She replaced the cutter Wayanda whose crew cross-decked to Wolcott by 30 July 1873.  The cutter then operated out of Port Townsend, Washington, as part of the Bering Sea Patrol. 

Her crew deserted in 1882 for unknown reasons although it was probably due to low wages as her commanding officer at the time, Revenue Captain L. N. Stodder, was then ordered “to ship crew at port” with wages not to exceed $40.00 per month.  In 1883, at the request of the British Columbia authorities, she was directed to be present at Fort Simpson, to prevent an "Indian outbreak."

She was sold on 19 February 1897 to Joshua Green of Seattle, Washington, for $3,050.

USS Wolcott, Port Townsend, Washington, 1884


Donald Canney.  U.S. Coast Guard and Revenue Cutters, 1790-1935.  Annapolis, MD: Naval Institute Press, 1995.

U.S. Coast Guard.  Record of Movements: Vessels of the United States Coast Guard: 1790 - December 31, 1933.  Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1934; 1989.