Manuscripts Division
William L. Clements Library
University of Michigan

Finding aid for
Samuel Huntington Papers, 1768-1828

Finding aid created by
Philip Heslip, December 2009

Summary Information
Title: Samuel Huntington papers
Creator: Huntington, Samuel, 1765-1817
Inclusive dates: 1768-1828
Extent: 0.25 linear feet
The Samuel Huntington papers contain letters and documents of a prominent Ohio settler and political leader. Included are items on his business, political, and military activities.
Language: The material is in English
Repository: William L. Clements Library, University of Michigan
909 S. University Ave.
The University of Michigan
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1190
Phone: 734-764-2347
Web Site:

Access and Use
Acquisition Information:

1998. M-4004.

Access Restrictions:

The collection is open for research.


Copyright status is unknown

Processing Information:

Cataloging funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) and the "We the People" project.

Preferred Citation:

Samuel Huntington Papers, William L. Clements Library, The University of Michigan


This collection is organized into three series:

  • Series I: Correspondence and Documents
  • Series II: Account Book
  • Series III: Photograph and News Clippings

The Correspondence series is ordered chronologically.


Samuel Huntington was born in Coventry, Connecticut, in 1765. His father, Reverend Joseph Huntington, was a member of a prominent New England family and brother of Samuel Huntington (1731-1796), signer of the Declaration of Independence, president of the Continental Congress, and governor of Connecticut. The elder Samuel Huntington adopted the younger when he was around 7 years old, and ensured that he had a privileged upbringing. Huntington graduated from Yale in 1785 and was admitted to the Connecticut bar in 1793. He set up a practice in Connecticut and invested in land on the frontier through the Erie Company and the Connecticut Land Company.

Huntington married his cousin, Hannah Huntington, in 1791; they had six children: Francis (1793-1822), Martha D. (b. 1795), Julius C. (b.1796), Cobert (b.1797), Samuel (1799-1804), and Robert G. (1800). In 1800 he traveled to Ohio and the following year he and his family settled in the small town of Cleveland, where he owned a sizeable plot of land. They moved to a number of towns in the Western Reserve in Ohio over the next decade, and eventually founded the town of Fairport, Ohio. Huntington owned land and business interests in Ohio, including several mills in the area and over 4,000 acres along Lake Erie. Huntington also served in a number of government positions in Ohio. He was appointed lieutenant colonel of the Trumbull County militia and justice of the peace, and was elected as a delegate to the Ohio Constitutional Convention in 1802. The following year, he was elected to the state senate's first general assembly and was appointed chief justice of the state supreme court. He left his judgeship to become the third governor of Ohio, from 1808 to 1810. After his governorship, Huntington ran for United States Senate, but lost. During the War of 1812, he served as Army paymaster under William Henry Harrison. He died from an illness in 1817.

Collection Scope and Content Note

The Samuel Huntington papers (60 items) contain letters and documents of a prominent Ohio settler and political leader. The Correspondence and Documents series contains 23 letters and 27 documents and financial records. Many of the early items are records and receipts for sales of land and legal services. Other documents include an agreement for Elija Gunn to build a fence around Huntington's home (November 10, 1804), a transfer of land in Cleveland Township from Huntington to Augustus Gilbert (May 4, 1808), Huntington's payment receipt for his services to the Ohio Militia (May 24, 1813), and numerous other land transactions.

Notable letters include:

  • A letter from fellow Ohio settler David Bryant asking for investments to buy a still for whiskey making (August 28, 1801)
  • A letter from Turhand Kirtland, Connecticut Land Company agent, inquiring about the companies' interests in settling new towns (March 27, 1802)
  • A second letter from Kirtland discussing politics and congratulating Huntington on his election as Trumbull County delegate to the constitutional convention (March 3, 1803)
  • A congratulatory letter from William Law on Huntington's election as state governor accompanied by a number of state policy requests (December 18, 1808)
  • A personal letter from Samuel Huntington to his eldest son, Francis, that describes his travels through Cincinnati, including an Indian attack, and provides instructions to his son for handling the tax collector (July 3, 1813)

Items related to the military include four Quartermaster documents from Detroit and Washington (August 11, 1813-July 16, 1814), and Samuel Huntington's letter to Simon Huntington of Grand River, Ohio, in which he discussed his opinions on the War of 1812 (December 14, 1814). The collection concludes with a farewell letter and religious diatribe from the dying 86-year-old Moses Lyman, a prominent citizen of Goshen, Connecticut.

The Account Book series consists of a 23-page booklet of "Copies of Notes and other Obligations due to me with their Indorsments" (1795-1814). These notes record large transactions (most between $70 and $1,000 with one as high as $4,716.96), and provide details on reasons for the deals and the parties involved.

The Photographs and Newspaper Clippings series holds one of each item. The clipping is undated and likely from a local Cleveland newspaper. The clipped article is "Colonel Samuel Huntington Surveys his Property" by S.J. Kelly, about Huntington's early property holding in Cleveland. The photograph is unlabeled but is possibly a painted portrait of Huntington.

Subject Terms

    • Accounts receivable.
    • Business.
    • Cincinnati (Ohio)
    • Connecticut Land Company.
    • Erie Company.
    • Finance, Personal.
    • Indians of North America--Ohio.
    • Law.
    • Legal services.
    • Lyman, Moses, ca. 1743-1829.
    • McArthur, Duncan, 1772-1839.
    • Ohio. Constitution (1802)
    • Ohio. Governor.
    • Ohio--History--1787-1865.
    • Ohio--Militia.
    • Ohio--Politics and government--1787-1865.
    • Ohio. Supreme Court.
    • Painesville (Ohio)
    • Property.
    • Real property--Ohio.
    • Trumbull County (Ohio)
    • United States. Army. Infantry Regiment, 19th (1812-1815)
    • United States. Army--Pay, allowances, etc.
    • United States--History--War of 1812.
    • Western Reserve (Ohio)
    Genre Terms:
    • Deeds.
    • Legal documents.
    • Letters (correspondence)
    • Newspaper clippings.
    • Photographs.
    Contents List
    Container / Location Title
    Box   1  
    Correspondence and Documents [series]
    Folder   1  
     September 12, 1768;  December 17, 1791
    Folder   2  
     February 17, 1801;  May 1801
    Folder   3  
     August 28, 1801;  August 28, 1801
    Folder   4  
     September 12, 1801;  September 17, 1801
    Folder   5  
     September 21, 1801;  October 1, 1801
    Folder   6  
     March 27, 1802;  May [1802]
    Folder   7  
     July 1, 1802;  July 17, 1802
    Folder   8  
     March 3, 1803;  September 15, 1804
    Folder   9  
     November 10, 1804-May 4, 1808
    Folder   10  
     May 4, 1808-March 6, 1809
    Folder   11  
     May 12, 1809-September 16, 1810
    Folder   12  
     January 21, 1811-November 12, 1811
    Folder   13  
      March 12, 1812-June 1812
    Folder   14  
     July 5, 1812-July 3, 1813
    Folder   15  
     [August 1,]-11, 1813
    Folder   16  
     January 1, 1814-July 16, 1814
    Folder   17  
     December 19, 1814-May 1, 1815
    Folder   18  
     September 1815
    Folder   19  
     October 10, 1816-December 22, 1828
    Box   1  
    Account Book [series]
    Folder   20  
     March 4, 1795-[December 21, 1814]
    Box   1  
    Photograph and News Clipping [series]
    Box   1 Folder   21
    Additional Descriptive Data
    Related Materials

    Miscellaneous: Samuel Huntington to William Woodbridge, June 1, 1806

    The Clements library also has many letters of Samuel Huntington's famous Uncle, Samuel Huntington (1731-1796), including items sent to Nathaniel Greene, Henry Clinton, and George Washington, among others.


    Brown, Jeffery P. "Samuel Huntington: A Connecticut Aristocrat on the Ohio Frontier." Ohio's Western Reserve . Lupold, Harry F. and Haddad, Gladys (eds.) Kent State, Ohio. Kent State University Press. 1988.

    Smith, S. Winifred. "Samuel Huntington." The Governors of Ohio. Columbus: Ohio Historical Society. 2nd ed. 1969.