Trumbull, Jonathan

Trumbull, Jonathan,

1710–85, colonial governor of Connecticut, b. Lebanon, Conn. He was prominent in the colony after 1733, serving in the assembly, of which he became speaker, and in other offices. He was chief justice of the superior court and deputy governor before becoming governor in 1769. He served until 1784 and rendered great services to George Washington in the American Revolution. There is a tradition that the name Brother Jonathan, for an American, arose from a remark of Washington about Trumbull.


See biographies by J. Trumbull (1919), a descendant, and G. Weaver (1956).

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Trumbull, Jonathan

(1740–1809) merchant, governor; born in Lebanon, Conn. (brother of John Trumbull, painter). He was a Continental army paymaster (1775–78), the first comptroller of the treasury (1778–79), and George Washington's secretary (1781–83). He served as a congressman (1789–94; Speaker of the House 1791–94) and senator (1795–96) before becoming governor of Connecticut (1797–1809). In 1809 he refused to deploy Connecticut militiamen to enforce the Embargo Act.

Trumbull, Jonathan

(1710–85) patriot, governor; born in Lebanon, Conn. (father of John Trumbull, the painter, and of Jonathan Trumbull, the governor). Originally a successful merchant, he was governor of Connecticut (1769–84). He was the only colonial governor to adopt a radical stance at the start of the American Revolution. He made Connecticut a principal source of supplies for the Continental army.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.