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Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Patriot Jonathan Trumbull

Elaine Marie Cooper


One of my most enjoyable pastimes in researching the American Revolution is discovering lesser-known figures whose role was crucial in helping the Continental Army win against the King’s Army. Jonathan Trumbull was one of these patriots.

Trumbull was the only Colonial governor to remain in office throughout the war, and then win election as the governor of his state following the Revolution. He served Connecticut for 15 years. Siding with the Patriot cause, Trumbull is credited with supplying the Continental Army with about 60% of the food and canons. Because of his efforts, Connecticut earned the unofficial title of “The Provision State.”

A former business owner, Trumbull’s store in Lebanon, Connecticut, became the War Office and a meeting place for the Council of Safety. Dignitaries who visited there during the Revolution included a veritable Who’s Who list of political and military dignitaries, including George Washington, the Marquis de Lafayette, Benjamin Franklin, and cousins Sam and John Adams.

Jonathan Trumbull’s family was among the first to settle in the colony of Connecticut in 1705. Jonathan was born in 1710. As he grew, he originally planned on becoming a minister. However, when his older brother was lost at sea, Jonathan was recalled home from his studies at Harvard to help with the family business.

He proved to be a successful businessman and his reputation led to becoming a leader in his community. He was elected in 1733 to the colonial general assembly. He also served as colonel in the Twelfth Connecticut Regiment during the French and Indian War. He was elected state governor in 1769.

His wife, Faith Robinson, was a direct descendant of John and Priscilla Alden who sailed to America aboard the Mayflower. Jonathan and Faith had six children. One of their sons, John, became a famous early American painter, best known for his depiction of the signing of the Declaration of Independence. 

Jonathan Trumbull was unchallenged in his bid for the office of Governor of Connecticut in 1775. In 1784, he decided not to run for another term.

Trumbull spent his retirement studying theology. He died of a stroke on this day in history, August 17, 1785.

In 1934, The Daughters of the American Revolution purchased Trumbull’s Lebanon home and his store (the “War Office”) and have operated both as a museum ever since. They are open to the public but are currently under restoration, and closed for the 2016 season.

For further information, visit here.

The Connecticut Historical Society has collections of his personal and business letters, including correspondence with George Washington and Benedict Arnold.


8 comments:

  1. This is great Elaine! What a rich history America has and so much of it goes unnoticed...I love that you research and share about these lesser-known figures involved in the American Revolution. That is one of the reasons I love CQ, I have learned so much about our country. Thank you for sharing.
    Blessings,Tina

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    1. You are very welcome, Mrs. Tina! I am learning right along with the readers! Thanks for commenting. :)

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  2. This is interesting! I'd heard of Trumbull but wasn't aware of all these details. Thanks so much for sharing, Elaine. Have a great weekend! :)

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    1. Thank you, Karen! I think I was more familiar with his son who was the painter. I learned more history while researching this blog. :) Hope you have a great weekend as well!

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  3. This is a fascinating post, Elaine. Thanks for sharing about Jonathan Trumbull and his connections to other notable Americans.

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    1. It was so interesting studying this man's history! If I'm ever in Connecticut, I'd love to visit the Historical Society and read his correspondence! Thanks for commenting, Janet!

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  4. That's quite interesting! CT had such a perfect placement as a cornerstone in the revolution. It would probably been a different outcome if CT and Trumball had fought as hard for the crown!

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    1. You are probably right, Debra! With New York being such a Loyalist stronghold, it was almost a necessity for the Patriots to have strong backing in its neighboring state or, like you said, there might have been a different outcome! Thought provoking. Thanks for commenting.

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