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1781 Patriot Chaplain Benjamin Trumbull (1735-1820) Signed Bolton, Connecticut Tax Abatement Document

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BENJAMIN TRUMBULL, (1735-1820). American Revolutionary War Period Patriot Chaplain, Preacher and Historian, who published “Twelve Discourses on the Divine Origin of the Holy Scriptures”, “A General History of the United States of America”, “A Complete History of Connecticut, Civil and Ecclesiastical, from the Emigration of Its First Planters from England, in 1630, to the Year 1764; and to the Close of the Indian Wars” and others.

September 25, 1781-Dated Revolutionary War Period, Manuscript Document Signed, “Benj. Trumbull” as one of the Selectmen of Bolton, Connecticut, Very Fine. This Document measuring about 4.25” x 8.25”, 1 page, easily readable, being written on laid period paper at Bolton, Connecticut (Incorporated in October 1720). On November 11th, 1723, Jonathan Edwards was Installed as the Pastor of Bolton. There are some scattered spots, one of which affects the right end of Trumbull’s signature. This Tax Abatement consists in the stated amount of, “... two pence on the Pound Silver Money ...”. Signed by two of the town’s Justices of the Peace, and three Town Select Men, including “Benj. Trumbull”. A rare “Benjamin Trumbull” signature, the we offered was sold by EAHA over two decades ago, back in 2001.


Benjamin Trumbull (December 1735-February 1820) was an early American historian and religious Preacher.

Born in Hebron, Colony of Connecticut, Trumbull graduated from Yale in 1759, and received his theological education under Reverend Eleazer Wheelock, who delivered his ordination sermon in 1760, commending him to the people of North Haven as “not a sensual, sleepy, lazy, dumb dog, that could not bark back.”

He continued in that charge for nearly sixty years, his preaching being interrupted only by the Revolution, in which he served both as a volunteer and as chaplain. After the war he published a pamphlet sustaining the claim of Connecticut to the Susquehanna purchase, which influenced the decision of Congress in her favor. Yale gave him the degree of D.D. in 1796.

He published Twelve Discourses on the Divine Origin of the Holy Scriptures (Hartford: Hudson and Goodwin, 1790); A General History of the United States of America; from the Discovery, in 1492, to 1792, ... that was intended to be three volumes, but he lived only to complete the first, Vol. I: Exhibiting a General View of the Principal Events, from the Discovery of North America, to the Year 1765 (New York: Williams & Whiting, 1810); and A Complete History of Connecticut, Civil and Ecclesiastical, from the Emigration of Its First Planters from England, in MDCXXX, to MDCCXIII (Hartford: Hudson & Goodwin, 1797).

Later, Trumbull expanded in a second edition to A Complete History of Connecticut, Civil and Ecclesiastical, from the Emigration of Its First Planters from England, in 1630, to the Year 1764; and to the Close of the Indian Wars (New Haven, CT: Maltby, Goldsmith, & Co. and Samuel Wadsworth, 1818) .

The manuscript collections from which this history is compiled are in the Yale library. His grandson, Lyman Trumbull, was a U.S. Senator from Illinois.

Trumbull was elected a Member of the American Antiquarian Society in 1814. AAS holds original copies of over 40 titles related to, or authored by Trumbull, as well as the manuscript of his General History of the United States. He died in North Haven, Connecticut.

Originally part of the town of Hartford, the area was referred to as Hartford Mountains or Hanover, until incorporation in October 1720. On 11 November 1723, Jonathan Edwards was installed as the Pastor of Bolton.

Bolton was known for its high quality schist stone in the 18th century, and many tombstone carvers such as Gershom Bartlett and Jonathan Loomis sourced their stone from Bolton quarries.

Bolton was removed from Hartford County when Tolland County was originally formed on 13 October 1785. The northern half of Bolton was set aside in 1808 to form the town of Vernon. Quarries played a significant role in the area's developing economy, and Bolton Notch became the location of the small community of Quarryville. Prior to the railroad, granite was taken by oxcart to the Connecticut River where it was then shipped to major cities on the East Coast.

The Bolton historical society has been actively purchasing sites throughout the town in their effort to preserve the town's history and rural character. The most recent of these purchases was Rose's Farm, a several hundred-acre site where the Comte de Rochambeau camped with his troops during the American Revolutionary War.
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