Elizabeth Hart Jarvis was born in Saybrook, Connecticut back in 1826 to William and Elizabeth. Growing up in Portland to an affluent and prominent family. In 1851 while in Newport, Rhode Island she met Samuel, the couple was married in 1856. The union produced four children all but on died in infancy except for one. Caldwell survived to adulthood but drowned at sea when he was 35.
In 1861, Samuel died from complications associated with gout. She inherited controlling interest in her husband manufacturing company worth 3.5 million. She served for 22 years as the president of the Union for Home Work. She was dubbed “The First Lady of Hartford”, for her work with the Hartford Soldiers Aid Society and organized the first Suffragette convention in Connecticut. She sold her interest in her husband’s company in 1901 and died in 1905.
What you may not know about Elizabeth (if you haven’t guessed it by now), is that she was the wife of Samuel Colt. She left a collection of nearly 1,000 objects, artworks, firearms and documents to the Wadsworth Atheneum. The Elizabeth Hart Jarvis Colt Memorial Wing was the first American museum wing bearing the name of a woman patron.
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