Lake County Ohio GenWeb

Samuel Huntington

This biography is taken from History of Geauga and Lake counties; Williams Brothers, 1878.

Transcribed and submitted by Becky Falin, 1996.

Samuel Huntington, one of the most distinguished characters in early Ohio history, was born in Coventry, Connecticut, October 4, 1765, and was designated, as the Norwich records show, Samuel 3d. He was the protege and adopted son of Samuel Huntington, one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence, president of Congress, and governor of Connecticut. The subject of this sketch graduated at Yale, 1785, and had for those times a very complete education. He was a man of great refinement, and very polished and courtly in his manner and address. Old letters speak of him as being small in person, but of fine presence, and a man of remarkable activity. He was married in 1791 to Hannah, daughter of Judge Andrew Huntington; was admitted to the bar in Norwich, and remained there practicing his profession with his uncle until his decease,w hen he made a visit to Ohio. This was in the year 1800, and in the following year Mr. Huntington removed to Cleveland, bringing his wife. He was immediately introduced to public life, and it followed naturally that, with his talents, acitivity, ambition, and force of character, he was successful. He appears to have belonged to the moderate Republican faction in politics, and to have retained the confidence of the Federalists. He was appointed by Governor St. Clair in 1802 lieutenant-colonel of the Trumbull county militia regiment, and a little later one of the justices of quorum. He took by common consent priority on the bench of quarter sessions, and his advancement was rapid from the time he first entered the country until his untimely death. In 1802 he was one of the delegates to the convention which framed the State constitution, and after its adoption was elected senator from Trumbull county, which then included the whole Reserve; and on the meeting of the first Legislature at Chillicothe was chosen speaker. The first commission given under the authority of the State, made by Governor Tiffin, appointed him as one of the three judges of the Supreme Court. In the following year he was made chief judge, and he held this position until 1808; when he was elected governor. The office of receiver of pubic moneys at Steubenville was offered him by President Jefferson, as was also that of judge in the territory of Michigan; but both were declined. During the war of 1812 he was paymaster in the army of the Northwest. Old records show that Samuel Huntington was one of the largest among the original land-owners of Cleveland. City lots 1 to 6, 61, 75, 76, 78, 80 to 84, 190 to 194, 206 and 210 , were in his possesssion. About the time that he removed to Painesville he exchanged a portion, if not the whole, of these lots with John Walworth for the present farm property of his sons, Colbert and Julian C. He came to Painesville in the year 1805, and remained in that place during the few years left of his life. He was one of the original proprietors of Fairport, and aided in founding that place. Governor Huntington's interests and acquaintance were at no period confined to the immediate locality in which he dwelt. He was known and honored throughout the State, traveled about much through the Reserve, always occupied with some project for the advancement of the country's condition, and constantly exerted a strong influence. Once, while making a journey to Cleveland upon horseback, it is related that he came very near to losing his life from the rapacity of a pack of wolves, which attacked him while his horse was floundering through a swamp near what is now the corner of Euclid and Willson avenues. The horse did his part nobly, and the rider, who had no firearms upon his person, kept the savage animals at safe distance with an umbrella, though they followed him almost to the door of the big double log house south of Superior street, at which he stopped. It should be borne in mind that Mr. Huntington rose to the dignified and honorable position of governor when only about forty-three years of age. He was a man capable of filling almost any position ably, and had his career extended over a few more years than it did he would doubtless have attained even a higher place in the service of the State or nation than that of governor. As it was, he made an impression upon the men of his time that outlasted his life, and exerted an influence that no doubt had a very favorable effect upon Cleveland and Painesville, the places of his residence. He died June 8, 1817, and his widow November 29, 1818.

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