Governor Jonathan Trumbull (1710-1785)
Jonathan Trumbull, born October 12, 1710, was the second son of Joseph Trumbull a merchant who moved to Lebanon, Connecticut, in 1705. At the age of 13, Trumbull entered Harvard, studying to be a minister. By 1731, he was a licensed preacher. He was preparing to accept a position with a congregation in Colchester when his older brother, Joseph Jr., died at sea. Trumbull moved back to Lebanon to help run the family business.On December 9, 1735, Trumbull married Faith Robinson (1718-1780), who came from an old and well respected New England family. Jonathan and Faith Trumbull had six children, Joseph (1737-1775), Jonathan Jr. (1740-1809), Faith (1743-1775), Mary (1745-1831), David (1751-1822), and John (1756-1842).
In 1736, Trumbull was elected to Connecticut’s House of Representatives. By 1740, he became Speaker of the House. Trumbull was an important member of the General Assembly, helping to resolve issues ranging from religious disputes to international disagreements. Trumbull was elected deputy-governor in 1766, and governor in 1769. In the 1770s, Governor Trumbull oversaw a colony that was becoming increasingly divided between Patriots and Loyalists. By 1775, Governor Trumbull was speaking out for the patriot cause and pushing the General Assembly to pass legislation that would prevent loyalists from serving as officers in the Connecticut militia. Governor Jonathan Trumull was the only one of the 13 colonial governors to support the Revolution.
During the Revolutionary War, Governor Trumbull worked tirelessly to ensure Connecticut could provide supplies such as food, lumber, clothing, and livestock, to the Continental Army and the Connecticut Militia. Between 1775 and 1783, he held over 1,000 meetings at his store in Lebanon. This store, now known as the War Office, is open to the public. See the Visitor Information page to learn more. Governor Trumbull controlled inflation during the war by limiting the amount of paper money that was issued and by increasing taxes. He called for embargoes of various materials to ensure Connecticut would be able to meet the supply needs of the war effort.
In October 1783, Governor Trumbull went before the Connecticut General Assembly and announced he would not run for office again. His last term as Governor expired in May of 1784. During his last year of life, Governor Trumbull was forced to address the massive debt he had accumulated primarily in support of the Revolution.. Despite paying off a small portion of his debt, he still owed ₤14,000 at the time of his death. He also used his retirement to study Hebrew. Governor Jonathan Trumbull died on August 17, 1785.