HUNTINGTON, SAMUEL. (1731–1796). Signer. Connecticut. Born in Windham, Connecticut, on 3 July 1731 and distantly related to Jabez and Jedediah Huntington (both families were descended from Simon Huntington, who died on the trip to the colonies in 1633), Samuel Huntington was apprenticed to a cooper at the age of sixteen and later worked on his father's farm and in his shop. He studied Latin and the law by himself and, after reading law with a local attorney, was admitted to the bar in 1758. He settled in Norwich two years later and was elected to the General Assembly in May 1765. Appointed King's Attorney for Connecticut the same year, he resigned because he opposed the Stamp Act. The Assembly appointed him a justice of the peace (1765–1775) and a judge of the superior court (1773). An increasingly prominent supporter of colonial rights, he was elected to the governor's council (the upper house of the General Assembly) from 1775 through 1784. In May 1775 the Assembly named him to the committee for the colony's defense and in October elected him to the Continental Congress. One of three Connecticut delegates to sign the Declaration of Independence, he was elected president of Congress, to succeed John Jay, on 29 September 1779. He served until 6 July 1781, when he resigned due to poor health; he returned in 1783 for another year. He was elected lieutenant governor in May 1785 and served as governor from 1786 to 1796. He was a strong supporter of the federal Constitution and helped to get it ratified in Connecticut. He died at Norwich on 5 January 1796.
Gerlach, Larry R. Connecticut Congressman: Samuel Huntington, 1731–1796. Hartford, Conn.: American Revolution Bicentennial Commission of Connecticut, 1976.
revised by Harold E. Selesky