John Trumbull, the eighth child and third son of John Trumbull, of Suffield (then of Massachusetts, afterwards in Connecticut), and grandson of Joseph Trumbull, of Rowley and Suffield, was baptized in Suffield, April 23, 1715. His mother was Elizabeth, daughter of David and Elizabeth (Filley) Winchell, of Windsor, Connecticut. The first Governor Trumbull was his first cousin, as was also the father of Benjamin Trumbull (Y. C. 1759).
He studied theology, and was licensed to preach by the New Haven County Association of Ministers, May 29, 1739. Very soon he began to preach in the parish of Westbury, just organized in Waterbury, Connecticut, which subsequently (in 1780) became the township of Watertown. He was ordained pastor of this society, January 16. 1739-40, and continued in sole charge until May, 1785, when a colleague was settled; his connection as senior pastor was terminated by his death, after a lingering illness, December 13, 1787, in his 73d year.
Though not particularly distinguished as a preacher, he acquired great influence over his people by his generosity, hospitality, and friendliness. He was a large landholder, and for the times was considered wealthy. He was a member of the corporation of Yale College, from September, 1772, till his death. He preached the Election Sermon in 1782, but it was not published. He was an" Old Light" in theology.
He married, July 4, 1744, Sarah, daughter of the Rev. Samuel Whitman, of Farmington, and sister of his classmate. She died March 24, 1805, in her 87th year. Of their eight children, only three survived their father. The only son was graduated at this College in 1767, and became distinguished as a poet. One of the daughters married the Rev. Timothy Langdon (Y. C. 1781).
The sermon preached at his funeral by the Rev. Simon Waterman, pastor of the Second Church in Watertown, was published. (Hartford, 1788. 8o, pp. 32.)
Barber, Conn. Historical Collections, 500-01. Bronson, Hist, of Waterbury, 258-60. Centennial Proceedings of the North and South Consociations of Litchfield County, 77. New-Haven Gazette, Dec. 27, 1787, p. 356. Sprague, Annals of the Amer. Pulpit, p. 356. Wolcott Memorial, 224.