Trumbull, Lyman

Lyman Trumbull, detail

Lyman Trumbull grew up in New England, matured in the Deep South, and in the Midwest had a long and eventful political career driven by principle and law. He was born in Connecticut, spent several years as a school principal and lawyer in Georgia, and arrived in Belleville, Illinois in 1837. By 1840 he was sitting in the Illinois house and soon after became Illinois Secretary of State. Characteristically, he resigned that post on a matter of principle in 1853. The Illinois legislature selected him over Abraham Lincoln for the U.S. Senate in 1854, and he went to Washington as a rebellious Democrat in opposition to the Nebraska Bill. By 1856 was voting as a Republican. Tall and slim, with a reputation as cold and conservative, the interplay between events and his deeply help principles seemed to drive Lyman Trumbull all his life. The Dred Scott decision appalled him, secession moved him to call for compromise, and during the war he fretted publically about the administration’s use of executive power. But he supported the Emancipation Proclamation and, most famously, co-authored the Thirteenth Amendment, after he insisted that an end to slavery could not be achieved with a mere act of Congress. He again infuriated his radical critics when he voted against the impeachment of President Johnson in 1868. This was electoral suicide and despite a run for governor as a Democrat in 1880, he never held office again. He died of cancer in June 1896 in Chicago. (By John Osborne)

Life span

Life Summary

Full name
  Lyman Trumbull
Place of Birth
Burial Place
Birth Date Certainty
Death Date Certainty
Sectional choice
  Free State
No. of Spouses
No. of Children
Benjamin Trumbull (father), Elizabeth Mather (mother), Julia Maria Jayne (first wife, 1843), Mary Ingraham (second wife, 1877)
Other Education
  Bacon Academy, Colchester, CT
  Attorney or Judge
Relation to Slavery
  White non-slaveholder
Political Parties
  Liberal Republican
Other Political Party
  People’s Party
Other Affiliations
Other Affiliation
  US Senate
  State legislature
  State supreme court
  Other state government

Note Cards



Date Title
02/09/1855 Abraham Lincoln to Elihu Benjamin Washburne, February 9, 1855
02/16/1855 Abraham Lincoln to Jesse Olds Norton, February 16 1855
03/04/1855 David Davis to Julius Rockwell, March 4, 1855
05/09/1857 Abraham Lincoln to Charles D. Gilfillan, May 9, 1857
03/20/1858 Israel Washburn to James Shepard Pike, March 20, 1858
06/08/1858 New York Times, “Senator Douglas and the Republicans of Illinois,” June 8, 1858
06/21/1858 New York Times, "Illinois Republican State Convention," June 21, 1858
07/01/1858 Chicago (IL) Press and Tribune, "The Passage at Arms between Lincoln and Douglas in 1854," July 1, 1858
07/10/185811/02/1858 Recollection by Gustave Koerner, Lincoln-Douglas Debates
07/11/1858 (St. Louis) Missouri Republican, "Mr. A. Lincoln," July 11, 1858
08/12/1858 Gustave Philipp Koerner to Abraham Lincoln, August 12, 1858
08/13/1858 New York Herald, “The Illinois Campaign,” August 13, 1858
08/16/1858 David Davis to Ozias Mather Hatch, August 16, 1858
08/17/1858 Ozias Mather Hatch to Abraham Lincoln, August 17, 1858
08/19/1858 New York Times, "Hot Work in Illinois," August 19, 1858
08/23/1858 New York Times, "Meeting of Douglas and Lincoln," August 23, 1858
08/25/1858 B. Lewis to Abraham Lincoln, August 25, 1858
08/25/1858 Quincy (IL) Whig, "Lincoln and Douglas," August 25, 1858
08/27/1858 Joseph Medill to Abraham Lincoln, August 27, 1858
08/29/1858 Richard James Oglesby to Abraham Lincoln, August 29, 1858
09/01/1858 Norman Buel Judd to Abraham Lincoln, September, 1858
09/18/1858 Recollection by Henry Clay Whitney, Charleston Debate, September 18, 1858
10/09/1858 Chicago (IL) Press and Tribune, “The Galesburg Debate,” October 9, 1858
11/05/1858 New York Times, "The Illinois Election," November 5, 1858
11/15/1858 Abraham Lincoln to Norman Buel Judd, November 15, 1858
07/02/1859 Chicago (IL) Press and Tribune, “Trumbull on the Constitution,” July 2, 1859
03/17/1860 Lowell (MA) Citizen & News, “Kellogg on Douglas,” March 17, 1860
06/29/1860 Cleveland (OH) Herald, “A Difference of Opinion,” June 29, 1860
11/23/1860 New York Herald, “Untitled,” November 23, 1860
06/13/1863 New York Times, “The Military and the Civil Power,” June 13, 1863
02/19/1866 Andrew Johnson, Freedmen's Bureau Bill veto message, February 19, 1866