Jeremiah Wadsworth was born in Hartford, Connecticut, the son of the Rev. Daniel Wadsworth, pastor of the First Church of Christ, and Abigail Talcott, the daughter of Gov. Joseph Talcott. William Wadsworth, the first American ancestor of the family, came to America from England about 1632. Jeremiah was four years of age when his father died and he was placed in charge of his uncle, Matthew Talcott, a ship-owner of Middletown.