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Jonathan Trumbull of Ephratah


The original spelling of Trumbell is said to have been Trumbull, and was derived from the bravery of a young Scot who seeing his King in peril while hunting in the forest, caught the enraged animal by the horns turned him aside and allowed the King to escape.  The grateful monarch knighted the young man and named him Turnbull, granted him an estate near Peebles, Scotland, and a coat-of-arms bearing the device of three bulls heads with the motto:  "Fortuna facet audaci".  The coat-of-arms is perpetuated in the American branch of the Trumbull family.  Probably no family among early colonial and revolutionary stock has contributed so many distinguished men to their country's service in so many widely varied walks of life.  They stand pre-eminent among statesmen, warriors, divines, poets, painters, and historians, while the affectionate nickname bestowed on Governor Jonathan Trumbull, of Connecticut  - of "Brother Jonathan", has spread until it now applies to all citizens of the United States as "John Bull" applies to every Englishman.

John Trumbull, ancestor of the Connecticut family, came from Cumberland county, England, and settled in Rowley, Massachusetts, where his second son John was made a free man in 1640; deacon of the church in 1686; lieutenant of militia in 1689, then removed to Suffield, Connecticut.  He had four sons:  John, Joseph, Ammi, and Benoni.  John(3), eldest son, was a clergyman of Watertown, Connecticut, father of John Trumbull, the poet, author of "McFingal" and other works.  Captain Joseph was the father of Governor Jonathan Trumbull, was governor of Connecticut, a man of the highest type, an ardent and self sacrificing patriot who helped in every to gain independence for his native land.  Ammi was a prosperous farmer of East Windsor, Connecticut.  Benoni, was the father of Benjamin Trumbull, the historian, who is well known as the author of an early history of Connecticut.  John trumbull, youngest son of Governor Trumbull, was an officer of the revolution, but best known as the artist who painted the great national pictures by order of Congress:  "Declaration of Independence," "Surrender of Burgoyne," "Surrender of Cornwallis," and the  "Resignation of Washington".  He painted numberless other portraits and pictures, many being historic in character, which were of the highest artistic merit and entitle him to front rank among the greatest artists of the world.  He was president of the Academy of Fine Arts from its foundation.  He married; left no issue.  Jonathan Trumbull, of Connecticut, born 1775, was the progenitor of the family that at an early day settled in Fulton county, New York, and now are of Schenectady.

(V)  Solomon, son of Jonathan Trumbull, was born in Connecticut in 1797, died in the town of Ephratah, Fulton county, New York in 1887, at age of ninety years.  He was a young man removed to New York where he settled on a farm in Fulton county, town of Ephratah.  He was a man of influence and an active, earnest member of the Methodist church, to whose interests both he and his wife were devoted.  He was a Whig during the days of that party, and later a Republican.  He married Maria Penny, born in Connecticut, died in Ephratah, New York, in 1907, at great age of ninety-seven years.  Maria Penny was the daughter of Rev. Amial Penny, an early Methodist preacher of great power.  He continued his ministerial labor until the end of his useful life, expiring in the pulpit while delivering a sermon.  She and Solomon Trumbull were the oldest couple in the county at the time of his death, and passed together a married life of sixty years.  They are buried in the Methodist burying ground. Children:

  1.   Amial Penny, eldest son of Solomon and Maria (Penny) Trumbull, was born in Ephratah, Fulton county, New York, September 1829, died there March 20, 1888.  He was a farmer and a Methodist.  He married in Ephratah, 1859, Sarah E. Dempster, born at the village of Lassellville in 1841, and is still residing in the neighborhood.  She is a lifelong Methodist, and deeply interested in church work as her husband and father-in-law.  She is a daughter of James and Theresa (Brockett) Dempster, and a granddaughter of Joel Dempster.  James Dempster was of Scotch parentage and possessed all the admirable qualities of that race, qualities that were transmitted to his children and made them the  sterling family that they were.  The family were prominent Methodists, Sarah E., being a niece of Rev. John Dempster, the powerful and noted Methodist Evangelist, under whose eloquent pleading hundreds were led into church.  Children:
    1.   Ida, born in Ephratah, 1860, married Elijah Miles, a farmer of Lassellville, same town; son Arthur
    2.   Charles W., son of Amial Penny and Sarah E. Dempster, was born in Ephratah, Fulton County, New York, April 4, 1862.  He grew up with little opportunity for early education but, nevertheless, succeeded by hard work and by improving every moment to obtain a preparatory education.  He entered Union College, literally worked his way through, and was graduated A. B. and C. E., class of 1892.  He specialized in physics and after leaving the college was elected principal of the Union Fee School at Palatine Bridge.  He was a successful instructor and earned a reputation that brought him a professorship in The Case School of Applied Science at Cleveland, Ohio.  In 1896 he retired from pedagogy and became assistant engineer in charge of a party of surveyors on the New York canal improvement system.  In 1900 he located in Schenectady, and occupied an important engineering position on barge canal improvements.  In 1902-03 he was city surveyor; 1904-05-06, canal division engineer; 1908-09 surveyed and laid out the line of Schenectady and Troy electric Railroad.  During these years he had purchased and laid in city lots a subdivision of the city, which he has improved and converted into residential property.  He has erected twenty-five properties, all of which he still owns.  He is also the owner of a large business block at the corner of Center and Liberty streets.  In 1910 he erected the largest garage in the city, located in the East End of Bedford Road.  He also purchased a tract of two hundred acres near his old home in Ephratah, which he operates as a stock and dairy farm.  Both he and his wife attend Park Avenue Presbyterian Church.  He married, June 20, 1894, in Schenectady, Georgia Penny, born and educated in that city, daughter of Frank and Mary (Switts) Penny.  Child of Charles W. and Georgia (Penny) Trumbull:  Florence, born December 6, 1896.
    3.   Cora, born 1864; married Milford Mosher; daughter Jane, born 1892
    4.   Clinton, died at age of seven years
    5.   Jane, married Del Smith of Fort Plain, New York
  2.   Jonathan
  3.   Edward
  4.   Solomon
  5.   Alma
  6.   Mary
  7.   Jane (now 1910, the only living child), married Cyrus Sponable of Lassellville, Fulton county, New York.

Source:  Cuyler Reynolds, "Hudson-Mohawk Genealogical and Family Memoirs", Vol. II (New York:  Lewis Historical Publishing Co.)1911, pgs. 662-663.

Copyright ©1999 Jeanette Shiel
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