Joseph Trumbull (governor)

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For other people of the same name, see Joseph Trumbull (disambiguation).
Joseph Trumbull
35th Governor of Connecticut
In office
May 2, 1849 – May 4, 1850
Lieutenant Thomas Backus
Preceded by Clark Bissell
Succeeded by Thomas H. Seymour
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Connecticut's 1st district
In office
March 4, 1839 – March 3, 1843
Preceded by Isaac Toucey
Succeeded by Thomas H. Seymour
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Connecticut's at-large district
In office
December 1, 1834 – March 3, 1835
Preceded by William W. Ellsworth
Succeeded by Elisha Haley
Personal details
Born (1782-12-07)December 7, 1782
Lebanon, Connecticut
Died August 4, 1861(1861-08-04) (aged 78)
Political party Whig
Spouse(s) Harriet Champion, Eliza Storrs

Joseph Trumbull (December 7, 1782 – August 4, 1861) was a U.S. lawyer, banker, and politician from Connecticut. He represented Connecticut in the U.S. Congress and served as the 35th Governor of Connecticut from 1849 to 1850.


Joseph was born to David Trumbull and his wife nee Sarah Backus in Lebanon, Connecticut. He lived in the family home known as Redwood, on the Lebanon green. David and Sarah had five children. Joseph's siblings were:

  • Sarah Trumbull (1779–1839), who married William Trumbull Williams (1779–1839), her cousin
  • Abigail Trumbull (1781–1861), who married Peter Lanman (1771–1854)
  • John Trumbull (1784–1859), who married Anne Gibbons (1789–1823), Hanna Wallace Tunis (1800–1823) and Eliza Bruen (1793–1857)
  • Jonathan G. W. Trumbull (about 1790-1853), who married Jane Eliza Lathrop (1795–1843)

Joseph first married Harriet Champion (1789–1823) in 1818, daughter of General Henry Champion and née Abigail Tinker. This marriage produced one child, Henry Champion Trumbull (1821–1855). Harriet died in 1823 and Joseph married Eliza Storrs (1784–1861) on December 1 of the following year. His second marriage also produced one child, Eliza Storrs Trumbull (1826–1862).

He died as a result of typhoid fever on August 4, 1861. Two days later, his second wife Eliza died. Amazingly, within a year of his death ten of his close relatives died, including his sister Abigail, his wife Eliza, his brother-in-law William L. Storrs, Joseph and Eliza's daughter Eliza, their son-in-law Lucius Robinson and Lucius' father David Robinson.[1] Joseph and his two wives are buried in the Old North Cemetery, Hartford, Connecticut.[2]

Early life[edit]

He entered Yale in 1797 and graduated in 1801. He immediately studied law with his cousin, William Trumbull Williams.[3] In 1802 he moved to the Connecticut Western Reserve (now Trumbull County, Ohio) and was admitted to the Ohio bar. Shortly thereafter he moved back to Hartford. He was admitted to the Connecticut bar in 1803 and established his practice at Hartford.[4] In 1828 he became the president of the Hartford Bank and held that office until he resigned in 1839. He was also president of the Providence, Hartford & Fishkill Railroad Co.

In 1849 he received an honorary Doctor of Laws degree from Yale, his alma mater.

Political career[edit]

Joseph Trumbull was born into an influential and politically active family. His grandfather, Jonathan Trumbull, was a colonial Connecticut governor and was the first governor of the State of Connecticut, serving a total of fourteen one year terms. His uncle, Jonathan Jr. also served as governor for ten terms. Another uncle, John Trumbull, served as a personal aide to George Washington during the Revolutionary War and later became a famous painter. Several of his paintings are hanging in the Capitol Rotunda in Washington, D.C. His aunt Mary Trumbull married William Williams, a political activist and signer of the Declaration of Independence.

He also married into powerful families. His first wife, Harriet Champion, was the daughter of Henry Champion, a general in the Revolutionary War. His second wife was the sister of William L. Storrs, a U.S. Congressman and later the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Connecticut.

Trumbull began his political career with his election to the state's House of Representatives in 1832. He was sent to the U.S. Congress in December 1834 to complete the term of William W. Ellsworth who had resigned, and was elected as a Whig to the Twenty-sixth and Twenty-seventh Congresses (March 4, 1839-March 3, 1843).[5] Trumbull served as governor of Connecticut in 1849 and 1850.


  1. ^ "Death of Mrs. Eliza Trumbull Robinson". The Hartford Courant (Hartford). 30 August 1862. p. 2. 
  2. ^ Thomas E. Spencer (1998). Where They're Buried: A directory Containing More Than Twenty Thousand Names of Notable Persons Buried in American Cemeteries. Baltimore, Maryland: Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc. p. 406. 
  3. ^ Norton, Frederick Calvin (1905). The Governors of Connecticut. Hartford: The Connecticut Magazine Company. 
  4. ^ Franklin Bowditch Dexter (1911). Biographical Sketches of the Graduates of Yale College with Annals of the College History V. New York: Henry Holt and Company. 
  5. ^ Trumbull’s Congressional biography "TRUMBULL, Joseph, (1782 - 1861)". Retrieved 4 Oct 2011. 

External links[edit]

United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
William W. Ellsworth
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Connecticut's at-large congressional district

Succeeded by
Elisha Haley
Preceded by
Isaac Toucey
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Connecticut's 1st congressional district

Succeeded by
Thomas H. Seymour