SAMUEL HUNTINGTON, Connecticut’s first governor was born on July 3, 1731, in Windham, Connecticut. He attended Windham’s public school system irregularly and advanced his education through self-tutoring. At 22, Huntington studied law, and was admitted to the bar in 1754. He practiced law, and first entered politics in Norwich, Connecticut. He served as the town’s tax collector, justice of the peace, town-meeting moderator, and the town’s chief attorney. He was appointed to the Superior Court in 1773, and served in the Continental Congress from 1776 to 1784. Huntington was one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence, and a respected member of Congress who was rewarded in 1779 when he was elected president, a position he held from September 28, 1779 to July 6, 1781. He retired from Congress in 1781, due to ill health, and returned to his duties in Connecticut. In 1784, he was appointed to the bench of the Supreme Court as chief justice, and was elected to the lieutenant governor’s office later that same year. On April 10, 1786, he was elected Governor of Connecticut, and on May 11, 1786, he was sworn into office. Huntington won reelection the next eleven years. During his tenure, he sanctioned the ratification of the new Federal Constitution, and he advocated for improving schools, and roads, and for the development of a progressive civil legal system and a more stringent fiscal reform program. Huntington also was a proponent of abolishing slavery, and he authorized the construction of what is now the Old State House Building. Governor Samuel Huntington died in office on January 5, 1796, and is buried in the Norwichtown Cemetery, Norwich, Connecticut.
Sobel, Robert, and John Raimo, eds. Biographical Directory of the Governors of the United States, 1789-1978, Vol. 1, Westport, Conn.; Meckler Books, 1978. 4 vols.