Samuel Huntington (statesman)

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Samuel Huntington (July 16, 1731 [O.S. July 5, 1731] – January 5, 1796) was a jurist, statesman, and Patriot in the American Revolution from Connecticut. As a delegate to the Continental Congress, he signed the Declaration of Independence and the Articles of Confederation. He also served as President of the Continental Congress from 1779 to 1781, chief justice of the Connecticut Supreme Court from 1784 to 1785, and the 3rd Governor of Connecticut from 1786 until his death.


Personal life

Samuel was born to Nathaniel and Mehetabel Huntington on July 16,[1][2] 1731 in Windham, Connecticut (his birthplace is now in Scotland, Connecticut, which broke off from Windham). He was the fourth of ten children, but the oldest boy. He had a limited education in the common schools, then was self educated. When Samuel was 16 he was apprenticed to a cooper, but also continued to help his father on the farm. His education came from the library of Rev. Ebenezer Devotion and books borrowed from local lawyers.

In 1754 Samuel was admitted to the bar, and moved to Norwich, Connecticut to begin practising law. He married Martha Devotion (Ebenezer's daughter) in 1761. They remained together until her death in 1794. While the couple would not have children, when his brother (Rev. Joseph Huntington) died they adopted their nephew and niece. They raised Samuel H. Huntington and Frances as their own.

Political career

After brief service as a selectman, Huntington began his political career in earnest in 1764 when Norwich sent him as one of their representatives to the lower house of the Connecticut Assembly. He continued to be returned to that office each year until 1774. In 1775 he was elected to the upper house, the Governor's Council, where he was reelected until 1784.[3] In addition to serving in the legislature, he was appointed King's attorney for Connecticut in 1768 and in 1773 was appointed to the colony's supreme court, then known as the Superior Court. He became chief justice of the Superior Court in 1784.[3]

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