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Roger Griswold

Roger Griswold
A political cartoon of the Lyon-Griswold brawl.
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Connecticut's At-large district
In office
March 4, 1795 – 1805
Preceded by Chauncey Goodrich
Succeeded by Nathaniel Smith
6th Lieutenant Governor of Connecticut
In office
August 7, 1809 – May 9, 1811
Lieutenant John Cotton Smith
Preceded by John Treadwell
Succeeded by John Cotton Smith
22nd Governor of Connecticut
In office
May 9, 1811 – October 25, 1812
Governor John Treadwell
Preceded by John Treadwell
Succeeded by John Cotton Smith
Personal details
Born (1762-05-21)May 21, 1762
Lyme, Connecticut, U.S.
Died October 25, 1812(1812-10-25) (aged 50)
Norwich, Connecticut, U.S.
Citizenship  United States
Political party Federalist
Spouse(s) Fanny Rogers Griswold
Relations Matthew Griswold and Roger Wolcott
Parents Matthew Griswold and Ursula (Wolcott) Griswold
Alma mater Yale College and Harvard University
Occupation Lawyer, Judge, Politician

Roger Griswold (May 21, 1762 – October 25, 1812) was a nineteenth-century lawyer, politician and judge from Connecticut. He served as a member of the United States House of Representatives, judge of the Connecticut Supreme Court and the 22nd Governor of Connecticut, serving as a Federalist.


  • Biography 1
  • Lyon-Griswold brawl 2
  • Personal life 3
  • References 4
  • Further reading 5
  • External links 6


Griswold was born in Lyme, New London County, Connecticut to Matthew Griswold and Ursula (Wolcott) Griswold of the prominent Griswold Family.[1] He pursued classical studies, entered Yale College at the age of fourteen and graduated from Yale in 1780. He received a Doctor of Law degree from Harvard University in 1811, and a Doctor of Law degree from Yale in 1812.[2]

Griswold studied law with his father and was admitted to the bar in 1783.[3] He began the practice of law in Norwich, Connecticut. He returned to Lyme in 1794 and was elected as a Federalist candidate to the Fourth United States Congress and to the five succeeding Congresses. Griswold served in Congress from March 4, 1795 until his resignation in 1805 prior to the convening of the Ninth Congress.[4] During the Sixth Congress, he served as chairman of the Committee on Revisal and Unfinished Business and as a member of the Committee on Ways and Means.[5]

In 1803 Griswold, along with several other New England Federalist politicians, proposed secession from the union due to the growing influence of Jeffersonian Democrats and the Louisiana Purchase, which they felt would dilute Northern influence.[6] Griswold declined President John Adams' request for him to serve as the Secretary of War in 1801.[7]

Griswold served as judge of the Supreme Court of Connecticut from 1807 to 1809.[8] He was presidential elector on the Charles Cotesworth Pinckney and Rufus King ticket. He was the Lieutenant Governor of Connecticut from 1809 to 1811,[9] and was the Governor of Connecticut from 1811 until his death in Norwich on October 25, 1812. He is interred in Griswold Cemetery at Black Hall, in the town of Lyme (now Old Lyme, Connecticut).[10]

Lyon-Griswold brawl

On January 30, 1798, it was planned to remove William Blount from office in Tennessee. Matthew Lyon, a Democratic-Republican congressman from Vermont was ignoring Griswold on purpose, because they were from opposite parties. This led to Griswold calling Lyon a scoundrel to which Lyon retaliated by spitting in Griswold's face. Two weeks later, after Lyon was not removed from office for the spitting, Griswold attacked Lyon with his cane.[11][12]

Personal life

Griswold's father Matthew Griswold was the 17th Governor of Connecticut from 1784 to 1786. Griswold's maternal grandfather Roger Wolcott was the colonial governor of Connecticut from 1751 to 1754.[13][14][15][16]

Griswold married Fanny Rogers on October 27, 1798 and they had ten children together.[17][18]


  1. ^ "Roger Griswold,". Retrieved January 1, 2013. 
  2. ^ "Connecticut Governor Roger Griswold,". National Governors Association. Retrieved January 1, 2013. 
  3. ^ "Roger Griswold". Office of the Historian. Retrieved January 1, 2013. 
  4. ^ "Rep. Roger Griswold". Retrieved January 1, 2013. 
  5. ^ "GRISWOLD, Roger, (1762 - 1812)". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. Retrieved January 1, 2013. 
  6. ^ "Roger Griswold,". infoplease. Retrieved January 1, 2013. 
  7. ^ "Roger Griswold,". Governors of Connecticut. Retrieved January 1, 2013. 
  8. ^ "Griswold, Roger (1762-1812)". The Political Graveyard. Retrieved January 1, 2013. 
  9. ^ "Roger Griswold Papers". Connecticut Historical Society. Retrieved January 1, 2013. 
  10. ^ "Roger Griswold ,". Office of the Historian. Retrieved January 1, 2013. 
  11. ^ "The Spitting Lyon,". Vermont Historical Society. Retrieved January 1, 2013. 
  12. ^ "Roger Griswold Starts a Brawl in Congress – Today in History,". Retrieved January 1, 2013. 
  13. ^ "Griswold, Roger (1762-1812) ,". The Political Graveyard. Retrieved January 1, 2013. 
  14. ^ "Wolcott-Griswold-Ellsworth-Hotchkiss family of Connecticut". The Political Graveyard. Retrieved January 1, 2013. 
  15. ^ "Excellency Roger Griswold, Esq.". Connecticut Genealogy Trails. Retrieved January 1, 2013. 
  16. ^ "Griswold, Matthew (1714-1799)". The Political Graveyard. Retrieved January 1, 2013. 
  17. ^ "Roger Griswold Papers,". Connecticut Historical Society. Retrieved January 1, 2013. 
  18. ^ "Roger Griswold,". Retrieved January 1, 2013. 

Further reading

  • “Roger Griswold: Connecticut Federalist” by McBride, Rita M. (Ph.D. dissertation), published by Yale University, 1948.

External links

  • Biographocal Directory of the United States Congress: GRISWOLD, Roger, (1762 - 1812)
  • National Governors Association: Connecticut Governor Roger Griswold
  • Governors of Connecticut: Roger Griswold
  • Official Website of the State of Connecticut
  • The Political Graveyard: Griswold, Roger (1762-1812)
  • Rep. Roger Griswold
United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
Jonathan Trumbull, Jr.
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Connecticut's at-large congressional district

Succeeded by
Timothy Pitkin
Political offices
Preceded by
John Treadwell
Lieutenant Governor of Connecticut
Succeeded by
John C. Smith
Preceded by
John Treadwell
Governor of Connecticut
Succeeded by
John C. Smith
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