Maj-Gen Jabez Huntington 1719-1786Leave a Comment
Biography of Maj. Gen. Jabez Huntington 3/06/12 by D.W. Chester
Birth: August 7, 1719 Norwich, Conn. Great- Great Grandson of Simon Huntington, the Puritan Immigrant. [Huntington Family in America, 1915]
Death: Oct. 5, 1786 in Norwich, Conn. [Huntington Family in America, 1915]
Marriage: He married, first Elizabeth, dau. of Samuel & Elizabeth (Tracy) Backus, Jan. 20, 1741-2. She died July 1, 1745. He married his second wife, Hannah Williams of Pomfret, July 10, 1746.
Children: Maj. Gen. Jedediah Huntington, Continental Army, served to close of War, b.8/4/1743, founding member SOC.; Andrew b. 6/21-2, 1745, Commissary of Brigade; Joshua b. 8/16/1751, Lt. Col. 20th Reg. Conn. Militia, founding member SOC; Hannah b. 7/3/1753 died 9/27/1761; Ebenezer b. 12/26, 1754, Lt.Col 1st Reg. Conn. Continental Line, later Maj. Gen. Conn. War of 1812, founding member SOC; Elizabeth b. 2/9/1757 married Col. John Chester, founding member SOC; Mary b. 3/24/1760; Zachariah b. 11/2/1764, served Brig. Gen. War of 1812[ Huntington Genealogy & Officers Eligible to the SOC, Metcalf]
Education: Attended Yale University and graduated in 1741.
Cincinnati: “Norwich. Appointed Dec, ’76, second Maj. Gen. over the whole military of the State. Appt. first Maj. Gen succeeding Wooster, May’1777. Retired May, 1779, on account of ill health induced by exertions in public service. [Conn. Men in Milt. & Naval Service during the War of the Rev., Henry P. Johnston] First represented by a current Hereditary member who joined in 2011.
Occupation: Jabez entered the West Indies trade and according to the Huntington Genealogy, “by an honorable and efficient business career, laid the foundation of one of the amplest fortunes of that age.” In 1750 he was elected to the General Assembly and served in that body until 1764, serving as clerk from 1757 to 1760 and as Speaker from 1760 to 1764.In 1764 he was elected to the Governor’s Council. In 1765 Jabez and six other members (of a total of twelve) walked out of the council rather than take an oath to enforce the Stamp Act.
Discussion: While the advent of the revolution could only be financially disastrous to one engaged in the shipping industry, Jabez was active from the beginning in the patriot cause and in constant correspondence with Washington, Lafayette, Hancock, Sherman, Trumbull and many leading patriots of the time. Of his fortune he gave largely to the cause, and when ammunition was scarce, it is said that he at one time “permitted even the leaden weights, by which his windows hung, to be cast into bullets”. In 1776 he and Gen Wooster were appointed Major Generals in command of the entire state militia. When Wooster fell at the Battle of Danbury the following year, Jabez assumed sole command of the militia reporting directly to Gov. Trumbull. During the revolution he was a member of the Council of Safety, which, together with Gov. Trumbull, provided the political leadership of the State at this time. Three of its ten members were Huntington’s. Next to the Governor, Jabez Huntington was it’s most influential member and attended over 1200 meetings in the years 1776-1779. At Huntington’s funeral in 1786, the minister said “ As the train of melancholy distress which brought him to his end probably originated from his painful and unremitted exertions for his country, in the time of danger, surely, will not withhold the tear of grateful sorrow, but pay deserved respect to his memory, and teach succeeding generations to revere his dust; and as they pass his urn, to say, ‘there lies the man who devoted his all to the public good; who sacrificed his ease, his health, and eventually his life, to serve and save his country.’ There are articles on Gen. Huntington in the Dictionary of American Biography and in the American National Biography. His portrait, painted by John Trumbull, the son of the Governor, hangs in the Connecticut State Library in Hartford. [ The Huntington Family in America, Huntington Family Assoc. 1915; Old Houses of the Ancient Town of Norwich, by Mary E. Perkins, Norwich, Conn. 1895]