HUNTINGTON, JABEZ. (1719–1786). Merchant, militia general. Connecticut. Born at Norwich, Connecticut, on 7 August 1719, Jabez Huntington graduated from Yale College in 1741. He became a wealthy West Indies trader of great social and political prominence in his home town. An early opponent of increased imperial control, in May 1775 he became a member of the council of safety—the executive authority in Connecticut government—and was one of its most active and important members over the next four years. He devoted himself and his fortune to the patriot cause, even as the war took a heavy toll on his shipping interests. In December 1776 the General Assembly commissioned him major general of the militia in eastern Connecticut and named him to succeed David Wooster as commander of all state militia after Wooster was mortally wounded during the Danbury raid in April 1777. Huntington played an important role in organizing and equipping the militia, but he never took the field himself. In February 1779 he was incapacitated by a nervous disease brought on by overwork. All four of his sons served with distinction in the war. His eldest son, Jedediah Huntington, who married Faith Trumbull, daughter of Jabez's good friend Governor Jonathan Trumbull, retired from the Continental Army as a brevet major general.
revised by Harold E. Selesky