Ezekiel Williams, a successful merchant in Wethersfield, was born in Lebanon, the son of prominent First Church minister Solomon Williams and the brother of Declaration of Independence signer and Council of Safety member William Williams. Ezekiel Williams moved to Wethersfield in 1752, built a large house on the Broad Street Green in 1759 and, a year later, married Prudence Stoddard. In 1761 he joined the militia as a captain and in 1767 he was appointed Hartford County sheriff, a position he held for 22 years.
Strong support for the cause of independence seemed to run in this branch of the Williams family. In 1774, Williams led Wethersfield’s effort to provide supplies for blockaded Boston and was elected to the Committee of Correspondence. He also served on the Committee of Inspection seeking out Loyalist sympathizers and the Committee of the Pay-Table which audited Connecticut war accounts.
In May 1775, Williams was one of eleven men appointed to take charge of prisoners of war in the state and in 1777 he took full charge of such prisoners when he was appointed Commissary of Prisoners. This involved far more that being a jail warden, since most imprisoned officers and gentlemen were housed in private homes and were allowed (on the promise of good behavior or parole) to mingle freely within the community. Williams found safe housing, authorized travel permits, and carried out prisoner exchanges. He also managed the prison ships on which British and
Tory enlisted men were kept.
One of four brothers who served as Revolutionary soldiers, Samuel Beaumont built a small farm house “four miles and 59 rods” from the original meeting house in Lebanon. It was moved to its current site in 1975.
The Beaumont House is owned by the Lebanon Historical Society.
Jonathan Trumbull Jr. served as the northern army’s paymaster general, and then as military secretary to General George Washington. He served with Washington at Yorktown and until the Treaty of Paris was signed in 1783. General Washington probably stayed in his house March 4, 1781.
The Trumbull Jr. House is owned by the Town of Lebanon and open to the public.
From 1775-1783, Gov. Jonathan Trumbull Sr. and the Council of Safety met more than 500 times at this small storehouse to plan Connecticut’s military, logistical, financial, and political actions during the American Revolution.
From fiery sermons against English rule to pleas for parishioners to send donations to the people of blockaded Boston, Lebanon’s clergy helped push local residents to support independence. The current church was designed by Revolutionary War veteran and artist John Trumbull in 1804.
The Trumbull Cemetery contains many examples by Obadiah Wheeling, considered the greatest of the rural carvers in the area.
856 Trumbull Highway, Lebanon, CT
PO Box 151, Lebanon, CT 06249
860-642-6579; fax 860-642-6583
The mission of the Lebanon Historical Society is to preserve and interpret all aspects of the history of Lebanon, from its earliest inhabitants to the present day, with a special emphasis on the role of Lebanon in the American Revolution.
Elizabeth Alden ran a tavern that served military and political advisers visiting Governor Trumbull and the Council of Safety, as well as many soldiers, merchants, and citizens traveling the busy highway crossroads in Lebanon’s center.
Trumbull was born in Lebanon on October 10, 1710, the younger son of Joseph and Hannah (Higley) Trumbull. He graduated from Harvard with a B.A. in 1727 and after three years of study with the Reverend Solomon Williams of Lebanon, he was licensed to preach. By 1731 he was in business as a merchant with his father and older brother who died at sea in 1732. In 1735, he married Faith Robinson (1718-1780) of Duxbury, MA with whom he had six children.
A committed public servant, Trumbull served in local government, supported the local Congregational church, and helped established both a library and a school. In 1733 Lebanon elected Trumbull as delegate to the General Assembly and in 1740 the colony appointed him as an Assistant in the upper house.
Trumbull strongly opposed the Stamp Act and, in 1765 with other Assistants, walked out of a meeting of the Governor’s Council when Governor Thomas Fitch took the oath to support the act. In 1766 Trumbull was elected deputy governor and in 1769 when William Pitkin died in office, Trumbull became governor. He served in this capacity until 1784, the only colonial governor to serve through the American Revolution.
During the War, Trumbull devoted himself to managing the state, commanding the state militia and navy, and providing support for the Continental and French armies. Having lost his wife, eldest son, and one daughter during the war years, Trumbull resigned his office in 1785 and died in Lebanon August 17, 1785.