Friday, May 8, 2020

When was Gov. Jonathan Trumbull's War Office built?




When was Gov. Jonathan Trumbull's War Office built?



Cabinet Card Photograph of the War Office, Lebanon, Connecticut
P. F. Rockett, Photographer, Willimantic, Connecticut

This photograph was taken sometime between 1891 and 1896, after the War Office was, "repaired and restored to its original condition, under the ownership of the Connecticut Society of Sons of the American Revolution."[1] The photograph appeared in Mary Clarke Huntington's article on, "Early Lebanon," which appeared in, "The Connecticut Quarterly," Vol. II, No. 3, July, August, September, 1896, page 255.




Tradition states that the War Office in Lebanon, Connecticut was built circa 1727 by Captain Joseph Trumble, Sr., Patriarch of the Trumble/Trumbull Family of Lebanon, Connecticut. The War Office is registered as the, "War Office (Captain Joseph Trumbull Store and Office) Lebanon," State of Connecticut, Connecticut Historical Commission, The National Register of Historic Places. The Connecticut Society of the Sons of the American Revolution have owned and maintained the War Office since 1891.



War Office Sign (1988-2010), Lebanon, Connecticut


The numerous stories and traditions around this building support that viewpoint, but I must admit that I have a strong bias towards this view since Captain Joseph Trumble, Sr., was my ancestral grandfather.

Over the past twenty five years, while docenting, taking part in school programs, participating at living history events/reenactments and historical commemorations, I have heard many stories and legends about Gov. Jonathan Trumbull and the War Office. During the last five years or so, I have spent a lot of time researching the written record on the history and traditions of this building.



My first visit to the War Office in Lebanon, Connecticut


It has been suggested that the War Office was built by Jonathan Trumbull in 1758. Personally, I do not believe this, since there is no real evidence to back this claim. This theory is derived from entries in Jonathan Trumbull's account book regarding expenditures for work on a shop in 1758. The BIG question is what shop? The location of this shop is not specified, and the Trumbulls had several stores/shops. I believe a stronger case can be made that the shop mentioned in Trumbull's account book in 1758 was the shop/warehouse in East Haddam, Connecticut, known as, "The Counting House." Jonathan Trumbull had, "a store, wharf, and land at East Haddam."[2] This fits the narrative of a shop or store being built in East Haddam for Jonathan Trumbull's nephew, Joseph Sluman, prior to 1759.



Modern day sketch of the shop/warehouse in East Haddam, Connecticut, as it may have 
looked in the late 1750's. Today the building is a private residence.


In William Warren's book, "Isaac Fitch of Lebanon, Connecticut, Master Joiner 1734-1791,"[3] Warren suggests the possibility that Trumbull's store in Lebanon, known today as the War Office, was built in 1758. This was first published in a two-part article in 1976, and later as a book in 1978. I've noticed in the last twenty years or so, that this theory has been taken by some historians and authors as evidence of proof, citing this book as their source, without any evidence to support it. There is no proof, it's supposition, a theory. No one knows the actual date that the War Office was built? There are several statements in this book that I have questions about, or that I do not agree with, which may be discussed at a later time. 


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(Note: I will however mention one item of importance that I have discussed before. The illustration of the War Office pictured in Warren's book on page 11 was originally published in the same book as the illustration on page 12.[4] Both of these illustrations were created AFTER, not before, both buildings were moved in 1824. Also, the portico or porch pictured was a "modern addition"[5] to the War Office. Regarding Barber's illustration on page 12, Warren states that it, "shows the Trumbull buildings after they were moved to their present locations."[6] This is wrong, this is where the War Office stood from 1824-1844, before it was moved a second time to its current location in 1844. The Gov. Trumbull House was only moved once in 1824. These two Barber illustrations were created sometime in the 1830's and appeared in his book published in 1836. There is an illustration of the War Office, based on Barber's illustration (many copies were made), that does appear in Stedman's, "Pilgrimage to Historic Lebanon," published in 1918, but it incorrectly lists it as being, "in the Colonial Period."[7]  As I stated previously in other blog posts, there is no known illustration of the War Office in its original location as it looked during the American Revolution. The earliest are Barber's illustrations from the 1830's.


Barber's book illustrations of the War Office,[8] First and Second Editions 




John Warner Barber's illustrations (created circa 1830's) for his book, "Connecticut Historical Collections: Containing a General Collection of Interesting Facts, Traditions, Biographical Sketches, Anecdotes, &c., Relating to the History and Antiquities of Every Town in Connecticut, with Geographical Descriptions," published in 1836. I highlighted where the War Office stood from 1824-1844, and where the Gov. Trumbull House has stood since 1824.)



Monument marking the original site of the War Office

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Warren does briefly mention the store or shop in East Haddam, "Trumbull also had another shop, or warehouse, down on the Connecticut River at East Haddam, locally known as the "Counting House," where his goods were unloaded and stored before being brought up to Lebanon."[9] And as a comment on a footnote, "Perhaps this store was the shop mentioned in the inventory of Joseph Sluman's holdings."[10] I'm not sure why the East Haddam shop wasn't given more consideration, since it fits more closely into the historical 1758 time frame?

In the book, "Jonathan Trumbull, Connecticut's Merchant Magistrate (1710-1785)," Weaver states, 

"During the French and Indian War years Sluman was employed by Trumbull in the provisions business and in army supply. Some time before 1759 he also went into business for himself in East Haddam. Sluman's business -- which was chiefly a retail trade -- was largely financed by credit from Trumbull."[11]

It is also stated that, "In 1763 -- as shown by the unpublished papers of Joseph Trumbull -- Mr. Sluman was connected with some of the business enterprises of the Trumbulls, and made voyages to the West Indies and elsewhere."[12] There is a published letter from Joseph Sluman to his cousin, Jonathan Trumbull, Jr., discussing business written from Martinique in 1763.[13]

The United States Department of the Interior Heritage Conservation and Recreation Service, National Register of Historic Places Inventory -- Nomination Form for East Haddam National Register District, East Haddam, CT., refers to the "Counting House," several times.

"The most significant is the Counting House, #6. This structure was used as a warehouse and store by Jonathan Trumbull's nephew, Joseph Sluman, who was active as a merchant in East Haddam in the 1750s. Tradition says that Trumbull provided the capital for the commencement of his nephew's career and paid for this building's construction."[14]

"Counting House, c. 1755, 1 1/2 stories, frame, gambrel roof, clapboards. Originally built for use as a warehouse and store for a nephew of Gov. Trumbull, now a private residence."[15]

"Pre-Revolutionary Colonial structures include: the Tinker House, #1; the Counting House, #6; the David Annable House, #8; the Reuben Cone House, #12; the Nathan Hale School, #53 (Fig. 5); and #74. Of these buildings, the most important is the Counting House; for large commercial structures dating from this period are extremely rare."[16]

The following is a very rough outline of Joseph Sluman's life. It's a very interesting story, and deserves more research and possibly its own blog post in the future. Jonathan Trumbull was Joseph Sluman's uncle. Jonathan Trumbull's sister, Hannah Trumble, married Joseph Sluman in Lebanon, Connecticut on February 27, 1734/5.[17] Their son, Joseph Sluman, was born in Lebanon, Connecticut on November 2, 1736.[18] Both of Joseph Sluman's parents died while he was young. His mother, Hannah (Trumble) Sluman died on November 7, 1736,[19] and his father, Joseph Sluman, died on June 18, 1744.[20] After his father's death in 1744, Joseph Sluman lived with his uncle, Jonathan Trumbull, and when he was of age, attended Harvard.[21] Joseph Sluman was named in the will of his grandfather, Captain Joseph Trumble, Sr., who died in 1755.[22] He received twenty five pounds. He graduated from Harvard College in 1756, in the same class as his cousin, Joseph Trumbull.[23]

Joseph Sluman married sometime in 1759 or 1760 and, "settled at East Haddam, New London County, Connecticut."[24] I have not been able to find any further information about his marriage, or if he had any children? After his graduation he went to work for his uncle Jonathan Trumbull, as mentioned in several of the quotes above. In the late 1750's he went into business for himself, but he was still involved in business with the Trumbulls.

Joseph Sluman's business in East Haddam closed in the mid 1760's. His property became Jonathan Trumbulls in 1767, who deeded it to his son Jonathan Trumbull, Jr., who then sold it in 1768.[25]

Joseph Sluman was a member of the Susquehanna Company (as was Jonathan Trumbull), and he first moved out to Wyoming in Spring 1773.[26] Possibly earlier?[27] He became involved in the Pennamite War, or the Pennamite-Yankee War (1769-1799) which was a conflict between Pennsylvania and Connecticut over claims to the land in the Wyoming Valley along the Susquehanna River. In, "The History of Wyoming,"[28] it states that, "The name of Joseph Sluman, occurs frequently in the old records. From his being often named on committees, and several times chosen member of Assembly, it would appear that he was trusted and honoured, . ."[29] "At a town-meeting of Wyoming settlers held at Wilkes barre in September, 1773, Joseph Sluman, Esq., of East Haddam, Conn., a member of the Susquehanna Company, and a Nephew of Jonathan Trumbull, then Governor of Connecticut, was chosen to present to the General Assembly at its session in October a petition relative to establishing some regular and permanent form of government at Wyoming."[30] Over the years he would travel between Pennsylvania and Connecticut.

On April 26, 1775 he is listed as attending the Connecticut General Assembly Meeting in Hartford representing Westmoreland.[31]

Joseph Sluman was present at the conference with the Six Nations at Wilkes Barre on July 27th and 28th, 1775, "Present. Col. Zebulon Butler, Joseph Sleuman, Esq., & many others. As also Ieyeounghkmojahaugh, a Tuscarora Chief, with several Head-men of the Six Nations, . . ."[32] In one of Butler's speeches, he states, "Brothers -- We are willing to have a Wyoming Fire, which shall be lasting, and we will apply to our Great Chief, Governor Trumbull, that he may appoint some chiefs to meet you at the Wyoming Fire so often as shall be thought best, which we doubt not will be done."[33]

At a meeting held on August 8, 1775 in Wilkes Barre, Joseph Sluman was chosen as a member of the Committee of Correspondence. "The meeting then voted that the inhabitants of the town would "unanimously join our [their] brethren in America in the common cause of defending our [their] liberty;" and "Mr. John Jenkins, Joseph Sluman, Esq., Nathan Denison, Esq., Mr. Obadiah Gore, Jr., and Lieut. William Buck" were chosen "a Committee of Correspondence for the town of Westmoreland."[34]

On September 28, 1775, Joseph Sluman was captured and taken prisoner by the Northumberland militia, and spent several months in a Philadelphia jail, being released sometime after December 20, 1775. "Immediately upon their arrival [at Warrior Run], they [the Yankees] were attacked and fired upon by about 500 Northumberland militia -- one man being killed and several wounded; the party all taken prisoners, robbed of their horses and all of their furniture; Messrs. Judd and Sluman sent to Philadelphia gaol; three others confined in Sunbury gaol; and the others dismissed."[35] His property taken included a large pistol and saddle.[36] The conditions of these jails were poor, they were usually cold and damp, prisoners were ill fed, and the jails were full of sickness and disease. It is possible this confinement led to his early death, around the age of 40, in 1776?

"Joseph Sluman died peacefully and quietly in 1776 at East Haddam, about eighteen miles south-west of Norwich, . . ."[37] It appears that Joseph Sluman died prior to October 10, 1776, "The Assembly also appointed Nathan Denison to be Judge of the Court of Probate of the district of Westmoreland until June 1, 1777, as the successor of Judge Joseph Sluman, who had died a short time previously."[38]

Joseph Sluman, the nephew of Jonathan Trumbull, should not be confused with Joseph Slocum, or his son Jonathan Slocum who immigrated to Wilkes Barre from Rhode Island.[39]

In conclusion, with the little we do know, it seems to me that the shop in East Haddam, Connecticut fits the 1758 time frame better then the shop (War Office) in Lebanon, Connecticut? As discussed above, this too is supposition, a theory. This shop in question could also be referring to a shop that we don't know anything about? Lost to history? 




Notes:


1) Jonathan Trumbull, Governor of Connecticut, 1769-1784, by his Great-Great-Grandson Jonathan Trumbull, Boston, 1919, pages 156-157. Digitized by Google, Google books, <https://books.google.com>.
2) Life of Jonathan Trumbull, Sen., Governor of Connecticut, I. W. Stuart, Crocker and Brewster, Boston, 1859, page 73. Digitized by Google, Google books, <https://books.google.com>.
3) Isaac Fitch of Lebanon, Connecticut Master Joiner 1734-1791, William L. Warren, The Antiquarian & Landmarks Society, Inc., of Connecticut, Hartford, Connecticut, 1978.
4) Connecticut Historical Collections: Containing a General Collection of Interesting Facts, Traditions, Biographical Sketches, Anecdotes, &c., Relating to the History and Antiquities of Every Town in Connecticut, with Geographical Descriptions," John Warner Barber, B. L. Hamlen, New Haven, 1836, pages 322-323. Digitized by Google, Google books, <https://books.google.com>.
5) Ibid. page 323; see also: History of New London County, Connecticut, with Biographical Sketches of many of its Pioneers and Prominent Men, compiled under the supervision of D. Hamilton Hurd, Philadelphia, 1882, pages 489-490.
6) Isaac Fitch of Lebanon, Connecticut Master Joiner 1734-1791, William L. Warren, The Antiquarian & Landmarks Society, Inc., of Connecticut, Hartford, Connecticut, 1978, page 11.
7) Pilgrimage to Historic Lebanon, Souvenir of the Pilgrimage of Connecticut's Third "War Governor" to the Homes of the First and Second "War Governors". . ., Joe Stedman, Auspices of the Connecticut State Council of Defense and Lebanon War Bureau, 1918; Historic Lebanon, The Home of "Brother Jonathan," A Printing Ink Pilgrimage to the Cradle of Liberty of the Connecticut Colony and the Homes of Patriots who Rocked it, Joe Stedman, The Stedman Press, Westerly, R. I., 1923, page 8.
8) Connecticut Historical Collections: Containing a General Collection of Interesting Facts, Traditions, Biographical Sketches, Anecdotes, &c., Relating to the History and Antiquities of Every Town in Connecticut, with Geographical Descriptions," John Warner Barber, B. L. Hamlen, New Haven, 1836, page 323. Digitized by Google, Google books, <https://books.google.com>; Ibid, Second Edition, 1837, page 320, <digitized at archive.org>. 
9) Isaac Fitch of Lebanon, Connecticut Master Joiner 1734-1791, William L. Warren, The Antiquarian & Landmarks Society, Inc., of Connecticut, Hartford, Connecticut, 1978, page 11.
10) Ibid. pages 67-68
11) Jonathan Trumbull, Connecticut's Merchant Magistrate (1710-1785), Glenn Weaver, The Connecticut Historical Society, Hartford, 1956, pages 139-140. <digitized at archive.org>
12) A History of Wilkes-Barre, Luzerne County, Pennsylvania, From its First Beginnings to the Present Time; Including Chapters of Newly-Discovered Early Wyoming Valley History Together with Many Biographical Sketches and Much Genealogical Material, Oscar Jewell Harvey, A. M., Volume II, Wilkes-Barre, 1909, pages note on pages 769-770. Digitized by Google, Google books, <https://books.google.com>.
13) The Fitch Papers, . . ., Collections of the Connecticut Historical Society, Volume XVIII, Published by the Society, Hartford, 1920, page 229. Digitized by Google, Google books, <https://books.google.com>.
14) The United States Department of the Interior Heritage Conservation and Recreation Service, National Register of Historic Places Inventory -- Nomination Form for East Haddam National Register District, East Haddam, CT., page 32. mentions its source as: Report of the Historic District Study Committee, East Haddam, 1973.
15) Ibid. page 22.
16) Ibid. page 34.
17) Hyde Genealogy: or the Descendants, in the Female as well as in the Male Lines, from William Hyde, of Norwich, . . ., Reuben H. Walworth, LL. D., Volume I, Albany, 1864, page 209; Barbour Collection of Connecticut Vital Records, from Lebanon Vital Records, 1:281.
18) Ibid.
19) Ibid.
20) Ibid.
21) Jonathan Trumbull, Connecticut's Merchant Magistrate (1710-1785), Glenn Weaver, The Connecticut Historical Society, Hartford, 1956, page 139. <digitized at archive.org>
22) Windham Probate District, estate of Joseph Trumble Sr., Lebanon 1755, File #3830.
23) Quinquennial Catalogue of the Officers and Graduates of Harvard University 1636-1905, Published by the University, Cambridge, Massachusetts, 1905, page 125.
24) A History of Wilkes-Barre, Luzerne County, Pennsylvania, From its First Beginnings to the Present Time; Including Chapters of Newly-Discovered Early Wyoming Valley History Together with Many Biographical Sketches and Much Genealogical Material, Oscar Jewell Harvey, A. M., Volume II, Wilkes-Barre, 1909, pages note on pages 769-770. Digitized by Google, Google books, <https://books.google.com>.
25) Jonathan Trumbull, Connecticut's Merchant Magistrate (1710-1785), Glenn Weaver, The Connecticut Historical Society, Hartford, 1956, pages 139-140. <digitized at archive.org>
26) A History of Wilkes-Barre, Luzerne County, Pennsylvania, From its First Beginnings to the Present Time; Including Chapters of Newly-Discovered Early Wyoming Valley History Together with Many Biographical Sketches and Much Genealogical Material, Oscar Jewell Harvey, A. M., Volume II, Wilkes-Barre, 1909, note on pages 769-770. Digitized by Google, Google books, <https://books.google.com>.
27) Jonathan Trumbull, Connecticut's Merchant Magistrate (1710-1785), Glenn Weaver, The Connecticut Historical Society, Hartford, 1956, page 140. <digitized at archive.org>
28) History of Wyoming, In a Series of Letters, from Charles Miner, to his son William Penn Miner, Esq., Published by J. Crissy, No. 4 Minor Street, Philadelphia, 1845. Digitized by Google, Google books, <https://books.google.com>.
29) Ibid. page 159.
30) The Harvey Book: Giving the Genealogies of Certain Branches of the American Families of Harvey, Nesbitt, Dixon and Jameson, and Notes on many other Families, Together with Numerous Biographical Sketches, Oscar Jewell Harvey, A. M., Wilkes Barre, PA., 1899, page 904. Digitized by Google, Google books, <https://books.google.com>.
31) American Archives: Fourth Series. Containing a Documentary History of the English Colonies in North America, from the King's Message to Parliament, of March 7, 1774, to The Declaration of Independence by The United States, Volume II, Peter Force, Washington, October, 1839, pages 409-410. Digitized by Google, Google books, <https://books.google.com>.
32) A History of Wilkes-Barre, Luzerne County, Pennsylvania, From its First Beginnings to the Present Time; Including Chapters of Newly-Discovered Early Wyoming Valley History Together with Many Biographical Sketches and Much Genealogical Material, Oscar Jewell Harvey, A. M., Volume II, Wilkes-Barre, 1909, page 828. Digitized by Google, Google books, <https://books.google.com>.
33) Ibid. pages 829-830.
34) The Harvey Book: Giving the Genealogies of Certain Branches of the American Families of Harvey, Nesbitt, Dixon and Jameson, and Notes on many other Families, Together with Numerous Biographical Sketches, Oscar Jewell Harvey, A. M., Wilkes Barre, PA., 1899, page 922. Digitized by Google, Google books, <https://books.google.com>.
35) A History of Wilkes-Barre, Luzerne County, Pennsylvania, From its First Beginnings to the Present Time; Including Chapters of Newly-Discovered Early Wyoming Valley History Together with Many Biographical Sketches and Much Genealogical Material, Oscar Jewell Harvey, A. M., Volume II, Wilkes-Barre, 1909, page 843. Digitized by Google, Google books, <https://books.google.com>.
36) Ibid.
37) Ibid. note on page 770.
38) Ibid. page 908.
39) Ibid. pages 1113-1144; The Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography, Historical Society of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, 1880, pages 397, 516. Digitized by Google, Google books, <https://books.google.com>.










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