Skip navigation
Jonathan Trumbull
Jonathan Trumbull
Jonathan Trumble
Governor Jonathan Trumbull
American, 1710 - 1785
Biography: Jonathan Trumbull was the Revolutionary governor of Connecticut from 1769-1784. Born in Lebanon, Connecticut on 12 October 1710, son of Captain Joseph and Hannah (Higley) Trumble. (He did not adopt the present spelling of the name until 1766.) He graduated from Harvard in 1727, and studied for the ministry. He was licensed to preach by the Windham Association and was considering a call to the church of Colchester when his elder brother Joseph died. Jonathan took his brother's place in the family business. By the 1760s Trumbull was one of the outstanding figures of Connecticut commerce; but in 1766, for reasons not entirely clear, his business suffered a reversal from which it never recovered. He was forced into virtual - though not legal - bankruptcy. Trumbull married Faith Robinson (1718-1780) on 9 December 1735. She was the fifth daughter of Reverend John and Hannah (Wiswall) Robinson of Duxbury, Massachusetts. They had four sons and two daughters. The eldest son, Joseph, 1737-1778, was the first commissary-general of the Continental Army; Jonathan, 1740-1809, after a military and political career, also became governor of Connecticut; and John, 1756-1843, acquired fame as a painter. Daughter Faith Trumbull, executed needlework pictures in the collection of CHS. John Trumbull, 1750-1831, the poet and wit, was a second cousin to these four. While Trumbull was still in his early twenties he entered politics. First sent to the General Assembly in 1733 as a representaive from Lebanon, he was returned frequently and in 1739 served as speaker. He was chosen assistant in 1740, and he was regulary reelected until a political reversal in 1750- 51 led to his loss of the assistanship. Elected again to the Assembly, he served twice more as speaker. He was restored to the council in 1754 in his previous order of seniority. In 1766, he became deputy governor for three and a half years. As deputy governor he was frequently named chief justice of the superior court. In 1744 he had become a justice of the quorum and from 1746-1749 he was named judge of the Windham county court, and he also served as judge of the Windham probate court from 1747. Upon the death of Gov. William Pitkin, 1694 -1769 in October 1769, the Assembly named Trumbull to the governorship, a position which he continued to fill until his voluntary reetirement in 1784. He served as Lieutenant of the County Troop 1735; Lieutenant Colonel of the 12th Regiment 1739; Colonel 1753. Trumbull was the only colonial governor to take the radical side for independence. During the Revolution Connecticut became a principal source of supply for the American troops. Trumbull made his chief contribution as a patriot in supervising the provisionning of General Washington's men with food, clothing and munitions. He died in Lebanon on 17 August 1785.