The Huntingtons of Norwich are one of the noted families of Connecticut, and the period of the Revolution is recognized as one of the most important in the history of this country. The correspondence here published, consisting as it does of letters written in large part by and to two Huntington brothers during the Revolutionary War, when one of them was in active service in field and camp and the other, perhaps no less active, in the necessary occupations of home pursuits and business affairs, relating in part to the war, makes a volume of wide and lasting interest and value.
The originals of these letters are from two sources. Those in the first part of the volume, comprising the correspondence of Col. Joshua Huntington, are owned by his great-great-grandson, Mr. Roger Wolcott of Milton, Mass. They were copied and edited for the press by Mr. Edward Gray of Milton, through whose courtesy and that of their owner this Society is enabled to print them; and they are here printed as submitted by the editor without comparison with the originals by this Society.
The originals of the Gen. Jedediah Huntington correspondence, which forms the second part of the volume, are the property of the Connecticut Historical Society, and have been in its possession since 1909. They were presented to it by the late William C. Gilman of Norwich, Conn., a descendant of the Huntingtons, in whose possession they had previously been for many years.
Digital Copy of the Huntington Papers
Introduction to Joshua and Jedediah Huntington
Joshua Huntington, son of Jabez Huntington and his second wife, Hannah (Williams), was born at Norwich, Connecticut, on August i6, 1751. At the age of twenty, he started in business in his native town as a merchant, and married, on December 11, 1771, Hannah Huntington (1750-1815), daughter of Judge Hezekiah and Dorothy (Williams). After the battle of Lexington, he hastened to Cambridge, and was commissioned first lieutenant in John Durkee’s company, General Putnam’s regiment on May i, 1775; but towards the end of the year, when the army was reorganized, he went home to assist his father with his business, rejoining the army in 1776, during the operations around New York. At the end of 1776, he left the army for good, and engaged in commercial pursuits, in forwarding supplies to the troops, and in building the Continental frigate “Confederacy.” He was commissioned captain in the Connecticut militia in 1776, major, in May 1777, and lieutenant colonel, in May 1780. At the close of the war, he continued his commercial enterprises, and died, at Norwich, on January 31, 1821.
The majority of the following letters are either to, or from him; the remainder of them are to other members of his family, all of whom, were active in the cause of the Colonies, either serving in the army or furnishing supplies to the fighting forces.
Jedediah Huntington was born in Norwich, Conn,, Aug. 4, 1743, the eldest child of Gen. Jabez Huntington and his first wife Elizabeth (Backus). He was graduated from Harvard College in the class of 1763, and also received a master’s degree from Yale College in 1770, Returning to Norwich, he engaged with his father in commercial pursuits. He was active in the militia, rising to the rank of colonel in 1774. The following year he entered active service at the breaking out of the Revolution, and in July was commissioned colonel of the eighth regiment raised in the state for Continental service. Later he became colonel of the 1st regiment “Connecticut Line” and on May 12, 1777 he was promoted to brigadier general in the Continental Army, it is said at the request of General Washington. He continued in active service throughout the war and re-tired with the disbanding of the army in June 1783.
Present, no doubt, at the battle of Lexington, as he was in camp at Roxbury five days previous; he continued in service around Boston until after its evacuation by the British, when he marched with the army to the vicinity of New York. He aided during 1776 in repulsing the British at Danbury; the next year was with General Putnam at Peekskill, later was near Philadelphia and endured the hardships of the winter at Valley Forge.
Again he was in various places around New York and on the Hudson. He continued at West Point until the autumn of 1783, and while there was one of a committee which drafted the constitution of the Society of the Cincinnati. At the close of the war he was brevetted a major general.
He resumed business in Norwich and held many public offices. Was a member of the state convention which adopted the constitution of the United States. In 1789 he was appointed collector of customs for the port of New London and continued in the office until shortly before his death, which occurred in that city Sept. 25, 1818.
General Huntington married for his first wife May i, 1766, Faith, the daughter of Governor Jonathan Trumbull. She died in December 1775, at the age of 32, leaving one child. His second wife, whom he married April 9, 1778, was Ann, often called Nancy, the daughter of Thomas Moore of New York City. She survived her husband, and was the mother of six children. A. C. B.