-Our first delegate from Connecticut.
-He signed both the Declaration of Independence and the Articles of Confederation.
-Lived from July 3rd, 1731 – January 3rd, 1796.
-Born on a farm near Windham, Connecticut.
-He was the fourth of ten children, but the eldest son.
-Growing up, Huntington helped his father on the farm and spent his spare time reading and studying. His education came from the library of Reverend Ebenezer Devotion (whose daughter he later married) and books borrowed from other lawyers.
-From ages 16-22, he was apprenticed to a cooper to learn barrel making.
-After his apprenticeship, he studied law on his own. By the time Huntington was 27, he was admitted to the bar and began practicing law in Windham.
-He married Martha Devotion in 1761. They didn’t have any children, but adopted their niece and nephew after the death of Samuel’s brother. Their adopted son later became the Governor of Ohio.
-He began his public service at age 33 when he was elected to the Colonial Legislature.
-He also served as King’s attorney until the American War for Independence ended colonial government. As Donald E. Cooke wrote in Our Nation’s Great Heritage: The Story of the Declaration of Independence, “Although [serving in this post] right up to the outbreak of the revolution, he never faltered in his work for the patriot cause once the colonies had set their course toward independence.”
-He was a Christian, and author B. J. Lossing said of him, “…Hence a devoted Christian and a true patriot, he never swerved from duty, or looked back, after he had placed his hand to the work.”
-He suffered from an attack of smallpox while in Congress, but recovered.
-Huntington was well loved by the citizens of Connecticut.
-He supported the ratification of the U.S. Constitution.
-He was a strong advocate of both freedom and justice.
-Received honorary degrees from Princeton, Yale, and Dartmouth and was appointed one of the original trustees of Plainfield (Connecticut) Academy.
His other public service included:
-Serving as a member of the lower house of the Connecticut Legislature
-Serving as Associate Justice of Connecticut’s Superior Court
-Serving as President of Congress
-Serving as Chief Justice of the Superior Court of Connecticut
-Serving as both Lieutenant Governor and then Governor of Connecticut
-In later years, he saw the transition of Connecticut from a colony into a U.S. State and resolved the issue of a permanent state capital at Hartford. He also oversaw the construction of the state house (now the Old State House in Hartford, Connecticut).
-Huntington County, Indiana as well as Huntington Mills, Pennsylvania are both named for him.
-Photo credit: Wikipedia public domain – “photo courtesy of Samuel Huntington Historical Trust. This portrait was painted in 1783 by Charles Wilson Peale, when Samuel Huntington was 52. It’s the only known portrait of Samuel Huntington. It hangs in the Charles Wilson Peale Gallery in Philadelphia. Samuel Huntington, it can be argued, was this first president of the United States. This is because Huntington was president of the Continental Congress when the Articles of Confederation were ratified on March 1, 1781, the document that created the new nation officially known at the time as the United States of Congress Assembled.”
-For You They Signed, 2009, Marilyn Boyer
–Our Nation’s Great Heritage: The Story of the Declaration of Independence, Donald E. Cooke
–Biographical Sketches of the Signers of the Declaration of Independence; the Declaration Historically Considered; and a sketch of the leading events connected with the adoption of the Articles of Confederation, and of the Federal Constitution, B. J. Lossing