Elizabeth Hart Jarvis was the first child born to William and Elizabeth Miller Hart Jarvis. Her father was a noted Episcopal minister. Her mother was from a prominent family that included several Rhode Island royal governors as well as wealth from the West Indies trade.

Marriage to Samuel Colt

In 1856, Elizabeth married Samuel Colt who invented the Colt revolver and established Colt Armory in Hartford. Their marriage ended in 1862 when Sam died.

In the brief time they were married, Elizabeth was pregnant five times. The first two children died in infancy. At the time of Sam’s death, Elizabeth had a three-year-old son, sickly two-month-old daughter, and was pregnant with her fifth child. Ten days after Sam died, the sickly two-month-old died. The following July, Elizabeth gave birth to her final child who was stillborn.


When Sam died, Elizabeth was one of the richest women in the country having inherited an industrial empire. She helped manage Colt’s Patent Fire Arms Manufacturing Company from behind the scenes.

When the armory burned in 1864, it was Elizabeth who had insured the building beforehand. She managed its reconstruction, including making it fireproof and recreating the blue onion dome.

In addition to overseeing a multi-million-dollar business, Elizabeth was a prominent philanthropist and patron of the arts.

Section 2, Lot 2


Connecticut Women’s Hall of Fame. Elizabeth Hart Jarvis Colt. Accessed at https://www.cwhf.org/inductees/elizabeth-hart-jarvis-colt

Hosley, William. Colt: The Making of an American Legend. Amherst, MA: University of Massachusetts Press, 1996.

Lead-Her-ship. Elizabeth Hart Jarvis Colt: Hartford’s Greatest Giver. Accessed at http://www.lead-her-ship.com/tag/elizabeth-hart-jarvis-colt/

Photo Credit:

Elizabeth Colt, Public Domain