Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
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HINMAN, Benjamin, soldier, born in Woodbury, Connecticut, in 1720; died in Southbury, Connecticut, 22 March, 1810. He served in the French war in 1751 as quartermaster of a troop of horse in General Roger Wolcott's command, was commissioned captain in 1755 in Colonel Elizur Goodrich's regiment, defended Crown Point and its vicinity, was promoted lieutenant-colonel in 1767, and in 1771 colonel of the 13th regiment of horse. He was commissioned captain of the 4th continental regiment in May, 1775, and served at Ticonderoga and various other engagements until failing health compelled his retirement in 1777. He represented Woodbury, Connecticut, in the legislature during twenty sessions, and after the incorporation of Southbury was its delegate for eight sessions. He was also a member of the State convention that ratified the constitution of the United States.--His nephew, Royal Ralph, scholar, born in Southbury, Connecticut, 5 June, 1785; died in New York city, 1"5 October, 1868, was graduated at Yale in 1820, settled in Southbury in the practice of law, served four sessions in the legislature, and was secretary of state from 1835 till 1842. During this period he was twice chairman of the committee to revise the laws of Connecticut, and in 1844 he was appointed collector of customs at New Haven. His latter years were spent in New York city, in the study of the history and antiquities of Connecticut, especially in tracing the genealogies of the original and early settlers in Hartford, New Haven, and Saybrook colonies. He published "Official Letters between the Kings and Queens of England and the Early Governors of Connecticut in 1635-'79" (Hartford, 1836); "Historical Recollections of Connecticut in the American Revolution" (New York, 1842); "Catalogue of the First Puritan Settlers of the Colony of Connecticut" (Hartford, 1852-'8);" A Family Record of the Descendants of Sergeant Edward Hinman" (1856); and several volumes of statutes and public and private acts.--Benjamin's grandson, Joel, jurist, born in Southbury, Connecticut, in 1802; died in Cheshire, Connecticut, 21 February, 1870, received an academic education, was admitted to the bar of New Haven in 1821, and for several years practised law, attaining to no special eminence until his election in 1842 to the bench of the superior court. From this event he steadily rose in public esteem, and his opinions were regarded as models of clearness and common sense. From 1851 till 1861 he was an associate justice of the supreme court of the state, becoming chief justice at the latter date. His judicial opinions extend through twenty volumes of Connecticut reports.
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