SEDGWICK.ORG presents:
A Sedgwick Genealogy: Descendants of Deacon Benjamin Sedgwick
page 168

Description First Page Previous Page Next Page Last Page
It is a historic Sedgwick family heirloom and contains many invaluable family possessions, notably portraits.

Up to the final break with the mother country his loyalty to the Crown was unshaken. In July 1774 he acted as secretary of two meetings, one of lawyers and another of citizens, both held in Berkshire County, to formulate a practical course of peaceful resistance to British Usurpation. At the outset of the Revolutionary War he sided with the Colonies and ardently supported the cause of American Independence.

He served on the staff of General John Thomas in the disastrous attempt of 1776 to reinforce Arnold's siege of Quebec and during the latter part of that year and throughout 1777 he was commissary for the Northern Department of the Army and was active in securing and forwarding army supplies. He received many state and federal honors. He was a delegate to the convention which formed the Constitution of Massachusetts and of that which ratified the Federal Constitution; was District Attorney in the Western District of Massachusetts and later Attorney General of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

He was a member of the old Continental Congress, 1785-1786; was elected to the first Federal Congress, 1789, and was returned to the Lower House for the next six sessions or until 1796. He was then chosen United States Senator for three years serving as President pro tem one session. In 1799 he was returned to the Lower House and was chosen speaker 1799-1801.

In 1802 he was appointed to the Supreme Court of Massachusetts, where he continued to serve until his death in 1813.

Shortly after the adoption of the Massachusetts constitution he was counsel for Elizabeth Freeman (called Mumbet) a negro slave who had fled from her master on account of bad treatment. The court ruled that she was free, thus making the earliest application of the declaration of the Massachusetts Bill of Rights that "all men are born free and equal." This decision was later upheld by the Supreme Court after Judge Sedgwick became a member.

The woman was so grateful that she became a member of the Sedgwick household for life. She took care of the children, was buried in the family plot by the side of Catharine M., and her grave marked by monument.

Mrs. Pamela (Dwight) Sedgwick, the mother of his ten children, was conspicuous for a charming presence and a manner of singular refinement and grace. The following crisp sketch is

Home | Books