Catharine Maria Sedgwick was born at Stockbridge, Mass., in 1789, the first year of the presidency of George Washington. She was a descendant from Robert Sedgwick, major general under Cromwell, and governor of Jamaica. Her father, Theodore Sedgwick, was a country boy, born in 1746, upon a barren farm in one of the hill towns of Connecticut. Here the family opened a country store, then added a tavern, and with the combined industries of farm, store and tavern, Theodore, most fortunate of the sons if not the favorite, was sent to Yale college, where he remained, until, in the last year of his course, he managed to get himself expelled. He began the study of theology, his daughter suggests, in a moment of contrition over expulsion from college, but soon turned to the law for which he had singular aptitude.