Declaration of Independence

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. - That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Mary Trumbull Williams

William Williams, signer of the Declaration of Independence, married Mary Trumbull, second daughter of "Brother Jonathan" Trumbull, War Governor of Connecticut, in 1771. She was twenty-five years old at the time of the marriage, and she was "a handsome, educated, and accomplished young woman of excellent family." It seemed to be a good match because Williams was "one of the most prominent citizens of Lebanon, which town he had represented for many years in the General Assembly." He was also "a successful and prosperous business man" who also held the office of Town Clerk.

Williams took his bride home to a "handsome house," which was located close to the home of his in-laws. The Trumbull home was known as the "War Office" during the Revolutionary War, and Jonathan Trumbull was the only Colonial governor to remain true to the cause of liberty. "Patriots from all parts of New England came to consult with him and lay plans for future actions."

Mary was one of the few women during the Revolutionary War period that stood in "close relation with the great men who were supporting the cause." William was very aware of how the British ministry had encroached on the freedoms and rights of the colonists; he also knew from his experience in the French and Indian War of the contempt that the British officers held for the colonists and their rights. He was in addition the trusted son-in-law of Governor Trumbull, and Trumbull was in "constant correspondence with Samuel Adams and the other patriots of Massachusetts, and the confidant and adviser of General Washington." Mary was well aware of the situations and concerns during the years prior to the Declaration of Independence. She was probably very supportive when her husband was elected as a delegate to the Continental Congress in 1775. Mary's "patriotism and public spirit were equal" to her husband's and she loyally supported him in his duties.

William resigned his position as colonel of the Twelfth Regiment of militia in order to serve in the Congress. He seemed to understand the seriousness of the situation because he closed his business affairs in order to attend to the public affairs of the colonies. Throughout the war, the Williams' home was to soldiers; in fact, the Williams moved out of their home to live in other quarters and opened their home to the officers of a nearby detachment.

William and Mary were parents of three children: Solomon, Faith, and William T. Solomon died in New York when he was about twenty-eight years of age, and his death was a mighty blow to his father. William died within a year, and his last words were the name of his son. Mary survived her husband for about twenty years and died in 1831 in Lebanon.

Facts and quotes for this post are from Wives of the Signers - The women behind the Declaration of Independence, pp 100-103.

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