General Jedediah Huntington
Jedediah Huntington was born August 4, 1743, in Norwich, Conn., to Jabez and Elizabeth (Backus) Huntington. He
was graduated at Harvard College in 1763, with distinguished honor. The social rank
of his family is evinced by the order of his name on the college catalogue, it being the
second on the list of his class, above that of Josiah Quincy. The Master's degree was also
conferred on him by Yale College in 1770. After the close of his academic course, he engaged
with his father in commercial pursuits, and, with the approach of the struggle for independence,
became noted as a Son of Liberty, and an active captain of the militia. Promoted to the command
of a regiment, he joined the army at Cambridge, April 26, 1775, just a week after the battle of
Lexington. His regiment was part of the force detailed for occupying Dorchester heights; and,
after the evacuation of Boston by the British, marched with the army to New York. He
entertained the Commander in Chief, on the way, at Norwich. During the year 1776, he was at
New York, Kingsbridge, Northcastle, Sidmun's bridge, and other posts. In April of that year,
he helped repulse the British at Danbury, Conn., assailing the enemy's rear, and effecting a
junction with his fellow townsman, Benedict Arnold. In March, 1777, Roger Sherman
writes that Col. Huntington was recommended by Gen. Washington as a fit person for brigadier,
but that Connecticut had more than her share. On May 12 of that year, he was promoted to that
rank, as Mr. Sherman stated, "at Gen. Washington's request." In July, he joined Gen. Putnam
at Peekskill, with all the Continental troops which he could collect; whence, in September, he
was ordered to join the main army near Philadelphia, where he remained at headquarters, at
Worcester, Whippin, White Marsh, Gulph Hills, etc. In November, on the information of the enemy's movement upon Red Bank, he was detached with his brigade, among other troops, to its relief, but
Cornwallis had anticipated them. Having shared the hardships of his companions in arms at Valley Forge, through the winter of 1777-8, he, together with Col. Wigglesworth, was, in March, appointed by the Commander in Chief, "to aid Gen. McDougall in inquiring into the loss of forts Montgomery and Clinton, in the State of New York; and into the conduct of the principal officers commanding those posts." In May, he was ordered with his brigade to the North River, and was stationed successively, at Camp Reading, Highlands, Neilson's Point, Springfield, Shorthills, Totowa, Peekskill, West Point, etc. In July, he was a member of the court martial which tried Gen. Charles Lee for misconduct in the battle of Monmouth; and in September he sat upon the court of inquiry to whom was referred the case of Major Andre. In December of 1780, his was the only Connecticut Brigade that remained in the service. On the 10th of May, 1783, at a meeting of officers, he was appointed one of a committee of four to draft a plan of organization, which
resulted in their reporting, on the 13th, the Constitution of the Society of the Cincinnati. On the 24th of June, Washington writes that the army was "reduced to a competent garrison for West Point; Patterson, Huntington, and Greaton being the only brigadiers now left with it, besides the adjutant general." At the close of the war he received the brevet rank of major general. His greatness was rather intellectual and moral than physical, as there is in existance a memorandum of the weighing of several revolutionary officers at West Point, August 19, 1788; when Gen. Washington weighed 209 pounds, Gen. Lincoln, 224, Gen. Knox, 280, and Gen. Huntington, 132.
On retiring from the army he resumed business in his native town, and was successively chosen sheriff of the county, treasurer of the state, and delegate to the state convention which adopted the Constitution of the United States. In 1789, he was apointed by President Washington collector of the customs at New London, then the port of entry for eastern Connecticut and Connecticut River, which office he retained under four administrations, and resigned shortly before his death. He died in New London, September 25, 1818, where his remains were first interred, though subsequently transferred to the family tomb at Norwich.
At the age of twenty-three, he made a public profession of religion, and was for many years, an officer and pillar of the church of which he was a member. "His munificence, for its profusion, its uniformity, its long continuance, and for the discretion by which it was directed," was pronounced, "without an example, or a parallel, in his native state."
His first wife was Faith, daughter of Gov. Trumbull. She died at Dedham, Mass., in December of 1775, on her way to the camp. Two of her brothers, one of them the distinguished painter, were associated with her husband in the war, of which her father was one of the main supports. She left a son, Jabez.
His second wife was Ann, daughter of Thomas Moore, who was born in New York, received his education at Westminister school, London, engaged in commercial pursuits in his native city, at the approavh of the Revolution retired with his family to West Point, and driven thence by violence, returned to the city, where he occupied a place in the custom house through the war. He died in the house of his daughter, in Norwich. Her brother was the late venerable Bishop Moore, of Virginia. Her uncle Stephen was the proprieter of the spot now occupied by our national military academy, which Gen. Huntington advised should be established there. She survived her husband, and was the mother of seven children: Elizabeth M., Ann C., Faith T., Harriet S., Joshua, Daniel, and Thomas.
Sketch (with slight modifications) taken from 1915 Genealogical Memoir published by the Huntington Family Association. Graphic image of Jedediah courtesy of Charles A. Huntington, Jr.
Jedediah is H.N. 188.8.131.52.1.1
Last updated 22 Aug 1998 by Sara (Huntington) Abbott