Image of Trumbull, Lyman

Trumbull, Lyman

b. October 12, 1813, in Colchester, Connecticut; d. June 25, 1896, in Chicago, Illinois. Lyman Trumbull attended Bacon Academy in Colchester, Connecticut, and subsequently taught school in Georgia from 1833 to 1836. He was admitted to the bar in 1836 in Georgia, and moved the following year to Belleville, Illinois, to practice law. In 1840, voters elected him to the Illinois House of Representatives on the Democratic ticket. The following year, Governor Thomas Carlin appointed him as Secretary of State, a position he held for two years. Trumbull continued to practice law until 1848, when he was elected to fill out a term as justice of the Illinois Supreme Court. Abraham Lincoln appeared before Lyman Trumbull in the Illinois Supreme Court in thirty-four legal cases. Trumbull was reelected for a nine-year term on the bench in 1852, but he resigned in July 1853. He returned to the practice of law until he won election as an Anti-Nebraska Democrat to the United States House of Representatives in 1854. In January 1855, the Illinois legislature elected Trumbull to the United States Senate over Abraham Lincoln, James Shields, and Governor Joel Matteson. While in the Senate, Trumbull began to support the Republican Party, and in 1858, he supported Abraham Lincoln’s candidacy for U.S. Senate. Trumbull chaired the Senate judiciary committee and introduced the resolution that became the Thirteenth Amendment, which abolished slavery and involuntary servitude in 1865. He voted against the impeachment of Andrew Johnson and was associated with the Liberal Republican movement. Trumbull returned to the Democratic party in the 1870s. He served in the Senate until the expiration of his third term in 1873. Trumbull moved to Chicago and continued the practice of law until his death.
John A. Garraty and Mark C. Carnes, eds., American National Biography (New York: Oxford University Press, 1999), 21:877-79; Allen Johnson, ed., Dictionary of American Biography (New York: Charles Scribner’s & Sons, 1964), 10:1:19-20; Mark M. Krug, Lyman Trumbull: Conservative Radical (New York: A.S. Barnes, 1965); Mark E. Neely Jr., The Abraham Lincoln Encyclopedia (New York: McGraw Hill, 1982), 313-15; Usher F. Linder, Reminiscences of the Early Bench and Bar of Illinois (Chicago: The Chicago Legal News Company, 1879), 163-69; John Palmer, ed., The Bench and Bar of Illinois: Historical and Reminiscent (Chicago: Lewis Publishing Co., 1899), 1:51-54, 2:618; United States Biographical Dictionary: Illinois Dictionary (Chicago: American Biographical Dictionary, 1876), 14-15. Illustration courtesy of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library, Springfield, IL.