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Jonathan Trumbull

Born: October 12, 1710
Place: Lebanon, Connecticut
Died: August 17, 1785
Place: Lebanon, Connecticut

Jonathan Trumbull Jonathan Trumbull was born on October 12, 1710 in Lebanon, Connecticut. His family had first settled in Lebanon in 1705. At that time, the region was very sparsely populated. Jonathan's father Joseph instilled rigid work ethics on both Jonathan and Jonathan's older brother, Joseph Jr., as they managed both the family farm and a trade business. As the boys grew older, Jonathan's father retained Joseph Jr. to work at the family business, while sending Jonathan off to Harvard to prepare for the ministry. Jonathan and his brother apparently had little say in their futures as their plans were laid out by their father. However, in 1732, Joseph Jr. was lost at sea, and Jonathan was recalled from his pursuit of the ministry to take his brother's place in the family trade business.

Jonathan proved himself to be a competent businessman. He and his father became well-known merchants, but his father's health began to fail, and Jonathan was soon successfully running the business by himself. He gained widespread recognition for his business acumen, and his reputation as a successful merchant launched him into the forefront of the public eye. In 1733 he was elected to the colonial general assembly. Trumbull's career in public life included both military and political achievements. He was a colonel in the Twelfth Connecticut Regiment during the French and Indian War. His expertise as a merchant benefited the Continental Army during the American Revolution. Although Connecticut is now sometimes referred to as The Constitution State, or The Nutmeg State, during colonial times it was often called The Provisions State, in large part because of Trumbull's ability to secure and deliver supplies to the Continental Army. General George Washington's troops in Valley Forge were suffering terribly for the lack of provisions, but Trumbull can be credited with arranging delivery of provisions, including a cattle drive, to Washington's men. In 1766, Jonathan Trumbull served as an assistant to the Governor of the Connecticut colony, and then in 1769 he himself became Governor. He held this position for 15 years.

In 1735 Jonathan Trumbull married a direct descendent of John and Priscilla Alden, and the Pilgrim leader John Robinson. Her name was Faith Robinson. They had six children, one of whom, Jonathan Jr., would also become Governor of Connecticut, and another, named John Trumbull, who would become one of the most famous of all early American painters.

Interested in Connecticut's early history? Visit the NETSTATE Connecticut State Book Store for our history recommendations.


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