Jonathan Trumbull, Jr. – Continental Army Staff Officer


Jonathan Trumbull, Jr. (March 26, 1740 – August 7, 1809) was an American politician who served as the second Speaker of the United States House of Representatives.


Born in Lebanon, Connecticut, the second son of Jonathan Trumbull, Sr. (the eventual Governor of Connecticut) and his wife Faith Robinson, daughter of Rev. John Robinson. Trumbull graduated from Harvard College in 1759, and gave the valedictory address when he received his master’s degree in 1762. He married Eunice Backus and they had one son and four daughters; Jonathan Trumbull (b. December 24, 1767, d. January 14, 1768), Faith Trumbull Wadsworth (b. February 1, 1769), Mary Trumbull (b. December 27, 1777), Harriet Trumbull Silliman (b. September 2, 1783, d. January 1850), and Maria Trumbull (b. February 14, 1785).


Carrying on the family’s tradition of public service,Trumbull began with town and colony offices: lister, grand juror, surveyor of highways, justice of the peace, and selectman. In 1774 he was elected deputy. the first of seven terms representing Lebanon. He served in the state legislature three times; from 1774 to 1775, from 1779 to 1780, and in 1788, serving as Speaker of the House in 1788.

Trumbull served in the Continental Army as paymaster general of the Northern Department from 28 July 1775 to 29 July 1778. He was included in the general orders of June 8, 1781: “Jonathan Trumbull. Esqr., Junior, is appointed Secretary to the Commander in Chief and to be respected accordingly.” He served for the duration of the war as aide-de-camp to General George Washington until 28 December 1783. After the war, he became an original member of the Connecticut Society of the Cincinnati.

Elected to the First, Second, and Third Congresses, Trumbull served in the United States House of Representatives from March 4, 1789 to March 4, 1795. He was the Speaker of the House in the Second Congress, both preceded and succeeded by Frederick A. C. Muhlenberg. He did not seek re-election for a fourth term and instead ran for the United States Senate.

When Trumbull was elected to the United States Senate, he served from March 4, 1795 to June 10, 1796. He resigned to become Lieutenant Governor of Connecticut. When the Governor died in December 1797, he became governor and was re-elected to eleven consecutive terms until his death in Lebanon, Connecticut.


Trumbull died August 7, 1809 (age 69 years, 134 days). He is interred at Trumbull Cemetery, Lebanon, Connecticut. He was one the original members of the board of trustees of Bacon Academy. His brother John Trumbull was a noted painter of the Revolution. His daughter, Harriet, married scientist, Benjamin Silliman.