Henry W. Ellsworth

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Henry William Ellsworth (May 14, 1814 – August 14, 1864) was an American attorney, author, poet and diplomat who served as Minister to Sweden.

Life and career[edit]

The grandson of Oliver Ellsworth and son of Henry L. Ellsworth, Henry William Ellsworth was born in Windsor, Connecticut on May 14, 1814.[1] He graduated from Yale University in 1834,[2] graduated from the New Haven Law School,[3] and became an attorney in Lafayette, Indiana.[4]

In 1844 he was a Democratic Presidential elector from Indiana.[5] In 1845 he was appointed by President James K. Polk as Minister to Sweden and Norway, and he remained until 1849.[6]

Upon returning to the United States, Ellsworth resumed practicing law, and was retained by Samuel F. B. Morse to handle several lawsuits concerning the validity of Morse's telegraph patents.[7]

Ellsworth was a poet and frequent contributor to The Knickerbocker magazine.[8] His best known poems include "Lines to an Absent Wife" and "The Cholera King".[9] He was also an author of historical and other works, including 1838's "Valley of the Upper Wabash, Indiana".[10]

Ellsworth died in New Haven, Connecticut on August 14, 1864.[11] He was buried in Lafayette's Greenbush Cemetery.[12]


  1. ^ Arthur Wesley Shumaker, A History of Indiana Literature, 1962, page 51
  2. ^ William Turner Coggeshall, The Poets and Poetry of the West, 1864, page 316
  3. ^ Yale University, Obituary Record of Graduates, 1870, pages 172 to 173
  4. ^ Kate Milner Rabb, A Tour Through Indiana in 1840: The Diary of John Parsons of Petersburg, Virginia, 1920, page 241
  5. ^ Yale University, Obituary Record of Graduates, 1870, pages 172 to 173
  6. ^ Joel Myerson, Studies in the American Renaissance, 1991, page 148
  7. ^ Don Lago, On the Viking Trail: Travels in Scandinavian America, 2004, page 33
  8. ^ McBride's Magazine, Literary Men as Diplomatistes, Volume 62, 1898, page 143
  9. ^ Oliver Hampton Smith, Early Indiana Trials and Sketches, 1858, pages 223 to 224
  10. ^ Henry William Ellsworth, Valley of the Upper Wabash, Indiana, 1838, title page
  11. ^ Yale University, Yale Literary Magazine, 1864, page 184
  12. ^ Gravestone photo, Henry W. Ellsworth at Find A Grave, accessed March 6, 2013