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Drawn portrait of Faith Trumbull Huntington

Faith Trumbull Huntington

Faith Trumbull Huntington was the daughter of a Royal Governor who joined the patriot cause. For Faith, the war would prove too heavy a burden.

"A few days ago I had a dear affectionate daughter Faithy. Alas! She is no more with us."

On June 17, 1775 the Battle of Bunker Hill claimed the lives of 226 British and 450 Patriot combatants. Still 1,000 more were wounded, captured, or missing from both sides. The American Revolution was still in its infancy, and while seasoned veterans may have expected the ensuing violence, no one was prepared for the carnage of Bunker Hill, not least of which was the young Faith Trumbull Huntington.

Privileged early in life

Born in 1743 to Jonathan and Faith Trumbull in Lebanon, daughter Faith came of age in a prominent and respected Connecticut family, which also included younger brother John Trumbull, born in 1756, who was destined to become one of the era's most important artists. On May 1, 1766 Faith married Jedidiah Huntington, and the couple welcomed a son, Jabez, in September 1767.

A family of patriots

At the onset of the war, the Trumbulls and the Huntingtons quickly mobilized and made known their patriot loyalties. Faith's father, at that time the Royal Governor of Connecticut, refused to deliver manpower to support the British army's advances against the colonists in Boston, and became a patriot hero whom George Washington held in high esteem.

Jedidiah Huntington advanced to colonel in the Connecticut militia, and soon saw action at the Siege of Boston. Faith's father, husband, and brothers dedicated themselves to the patriot cause. Her sister Mary was married to a member of the Sons of Liberty and future signer of the Declaration of Independence.

Illustrated map showing the location of Roxbury MA.

Unprepared for the carnage of war

With the family entrenched in the increasing warfare in spring of 1775, Jedidiah arranged for Faith and some friends to visit him and his fellow officers at Roxbury.

Map showing the location of the Battle of Bunker Hill.

While there, Faith found herself witness to the .

Map showing the location of the Battle of Bunker Hill.

The battle was particularly gruesome. British Marine Lt. John Waller described the scene inside a redoubt which was “streaming with Blood & strew'd with dead & dying Men the Soldiers stabbing some and dashing out the Brains of others.”

Image: The Battle of Bunker's Hill by John Trumbull; Yale University Art Gallery. Faith's brother John painted this iconic moment from the very battle that set Faith on a path of deep melancholy.

A sight too dreadful

A professional soldier himself, Waller admitted that it was “a sight too dreadful for me to dwell on any longer.” Faith saw these horrors of battle, coming face to face with the dangers that threatened her father, brothers, and husband.

Faith fell into a deep depression, experiencing alternating bouts of "calm tranquility and composure," which would give way to "great and surprising pain and distortion." On November 24, Faith hanged herself in her bedroom.

A casualty of war?

After her death Faith's family and community tried to make sense of what drove her to the act that deprived them of the “goodness, love, and friendship” of Faith's life. Her father, Governor Trumbull, seemed to blame the uncertainly of life: "the world after all is a little pitiful thing; not performing any one promise it makes us for the future." The local newspaper, however, laid the blame for Faith's death squarely on the present war:

"The authors of American oppression and the whole public calamity are accountable for her death, and that of thousands more.."

Themes of the period
Modern-day Legacy

Governor Jonathan Trumbull House: Lebanon, CT

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