Huntington, Samuel

Variant first names: Samuell
honorificMr.; Esquire
Birth: July 5, 1731 in Windham, CT
Death: January 5, 1796 in Norwich, CT
Affiliation:

Connecticut Board of the Society in Scotland for Propagating Christian Knowledge; Colony of Connecticut

Education:

Huntington received his basic education from local minister Ebenezer Devotion, the same man who prepared some of Huntington's brothers for college. Huntington did not attend college himself, but he did receive numerous honorary degrees later in his life (from the College of New Jersey, Yale, and Dartmouth).

Nationality:

Anglo-American

Occupation:

Lawyer and politician

Marital status:

Married Mary Devotion, daughter of his teacher Rev. Ebenezer Devotion, in 1761. The two had no children, but they did raise a nephew and a niece—two of the children of Rev. Joseph Huntington of Coventry (a great admirer of Eleazar Wheelock).

Biography:

Samuel Huntington was a Norwich lawyer who went on to become one of Connecticut’s most important politicians during the Revolution and Early National Period. During his tenure in Norwich, he became a member of the Connecticut Board of the Society in Scotland for Propagating Christian Knowledge, the missionary society that Eleazar Wheelock established in 1764 to sponsor Moor’s Indian Charity School. Huntington remained active on the board until its dissolution in the 1770s, and seems to have been an important political connection for Wheelock during the volatile 1760s. Although he never attended college, Samuel Huntington began practicing law in Windham, CT in 1754. In 1758, he moved to Norwich, where family connections helped him rise to prominence. His influence expanded gradually: he was elected to Connecticut’s lower house (1765) and appointed to New London County’s superior court (1773). From 1770 on, he had clients throughout the state. Because Huntington was a widely known and respected figure, he was a natural choice for Connecticut’s delegation to the Continental Congress. He is especially well-known for signing the Declaration of Independence. Politically, Samuel Huntington was a moderate Whig, and thus commanded a broad base of support. He was a popular politician even in the early National Period: after a brief stint in Congress in 1783, he became Lieutenant-Governor and Chief Justice of Connecticut in 1784. He was elected governor in 1786 and consistently reelected until his death in 1796.

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Sources:

Buel, Richard Jr. “Huntington, Samuel (1731-1796).” In Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Oxford University Press, 2004. Online Edition. Accessed 5/2/2014. Caulkins, Francis Manwarring. History of Norwich, Connecticut, From Its Settlement in 1660, to January 1845. Norwich: Thomas Robinson, 1845. Accessed via GoogleBooks. Cuthbertson, Gilbert M. “Huntington, Samuel.” In American National Biography Online. February 2000. Accessed 5/2/2014. Dartmouth College Library. A Guide to the Microfilm Edition of the Papers of Eleazar Wheelock. Hanover: Dartmouth College Library, 1971. Richardson, Leon. An Indian Preacher in England. Hanover: Dartmouth College Press 1933.

General note:

In an MS not in the project, Whitaker refers to SH as "Lawyer Huntington" (Richardson 45-46). If the Congress (777101) refers to the Continental Congress, and this is likely, then this organization should be included as one of SH's affiliations.