SAMUEL HUNTINGTON JR. (October 4, 1765 – June 7, 1817) was Ohio’s third governor, informally adopted by his uncle Samuel Huntington, signer of the Declaration of Independence. The younger Samuel studied at Dartmouth and Yale, graduated from Yale in 1785, and became a Connecticut lawyer, politician and land speculator. When his stepfather died, Huntington moved in 1801 to Ohio’s WESTERN RESERVE as a land agent and hotel keeper. Already politically well known, Huntington sided with the Chillicothe Republican faction at Ohio’s constitutional convention, expecting to be given a U.S. Supreme Court seat, but he was instead shunted to the chief justiceship of the Ohio Supreme Court. Frustrated, Huntington for several years tried to win new appointments in new territories.
In 1808, Huntington was elected governor (1808-1810) during a power struggle between the legislature and judiciary. He tried to remain neutral, but won only harsh criticism from both sides. In 1810, Huntington lost a Senate race to Thomas Worthington. In later years, Huntington served in the assembly, leading the anti-Chillicothe Republican faction. He was an Army district paymaster in the War of 1812. Huntington married his cousin, Hannah Huntington, on December 20, 1791, and they had six children. Seriously ill for years and injured in an accident, Huntington died in 1817.
One page, 7 3/4 x 10, ALS, August 12, 1810, Painesville [Ohio] to Boston bookseller and librarian William Blagrove regarding the Bunker Hill Association’s renowned July 4th oration, which the association prepared and delivered every year in celebration of America’s independence. The association sent copies to many people, including Thomas Jefferson and likely John Adams a month earlier, and apparently intended to send a copy to Huntington, who writes of not receiving it. Blagrove was a member of the Bunker Hill Association committee as were J.E. Smith and Benjamin Homans, who are mentioned in Huntington’s letter.
Huntington writes, “I had the honor to receive by the last mail a letter addressed to me by yourself and Messrs Homans and Smith in conformity to a vote of the general committee of the ‘Bunker Hill Association.’ And by some accident the oration delivered on the fourth of July to which you refer has not come to hand. Accept my thanks for the flattering manner in which you have personally expressed yourselves toward me and be assured that nothing in my power shall ever be wanting to encourage the same feelings and principles that led to a glorious revolution and to support the Republican Institutions of our Country. Under the fullest conviction of the useful tendency of those associations, which are designed to commemorate the events of our revolution; so recall to memory the feelings and principles that led to it and to keep unimpaired the Institutions that are truly Republican; I cannot but regret the course that has deprived me of the pleasure of preserving our oration that appears to have been delivered for such purposes.
“You will be pleased to consider this letter as addressed to yourself and your associates on the committee to receive on their behalf the tender of my respects, my best wishes for the accomplishment of the objects of your association.”
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