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Samuel Huntington First President of The United States in Congress Assembled - A Stan Klos Company

Samuel Huntington
1st President of the United States
in Congress Assembled
March 1, 1781 to July 6, 1781
Signer of the Declaration of Independence

President of the Continental Congress
September 28, 1779 to February 28, 1781
By: Stanley L. Klos

SAMUEL HUNTINGTON was born on July 16, 1731 at Scotland, Connecticut, the son of a Puritan farmer. The date of July 16th differs from the official Congressional Biography as during the restoration of the tomb a 207 year old plaque was discovered with the bodies stating:

His Excellency
Samuel Huntington Esq.
Governor of the State of Connecticut
was born July 16th AD 1731
and died January 5th AD 1796
aged 64 years

Both Martha and Samuel Huntington were re-interred on November 24, 2003 Old Norwichtown Cemetery, Norwich, New London County, Connecticut (see editorial below).

President Huntington was a self-educated man who at age sixteen, was apprenticed to a cooper. He taught himself Latin at night and devoured every book on law he could find. At twenty-seven he was admitted to the bar, then moved to Norwich, a larger town offering more opportunity. After a year, however, he married Martha Devotion the local minister's daughter, and set up what would eventually become a most lucrative law practice.

In 1764, Huntington was elected to the provincial assembly, and in quick succession became a justice of the peace, the king's attorney for Connecticut, and a member of the colony's council. He was elected and served in the second Continental Congress of the United Colonies of America representing Connecticut at Independence Hall in Philadelphia.

Huntington worked hard and long for independence, however quietly. A fellow delegate wrote:

He is a man of mild, steady, and firm conduct and of sound methodical judgment, tho' not a man of many words or very shining abilities. But upon the whole is better suited to preside than any other member now in Congress.

After signing the Declaration, Huntington served in the Continental Congress for three more years when, on September 28, 1779, he was elected President. Huntington presided over the Confederation Congress during a critical period in the War for Independence. His commitment to Independence and his Presidency is renowned among scholars as his unwavering leadership held our nation together during a succession of military losses, sedition and defections:

October 10th, 1779 - American attempt to recapture Savannah, GA fails. Winter of 1779-80 - was the coldest of the war and provisions for Washington and his army were scarce Morristown, NJ. causing a mutiny. May 12, 1780 - British capture Charleston, SC. May 1780 - Former Continental Congress President Henry Middleton pledges his allegiance to the crown after the Fall of Charleston. May 29, 1780 - British crush Americans at Waxhaw Creek. August 16, 1780 - British rout Americans at Camden, SC. September 25, 1780 - Major General Benedict Arnold's plans to cede West Point to the British discovered.
January 1, 1781 - Mutiny of unpaid Pennsylvania soldiers.
January 14, 1781 - Benedict Arnold burns Richmond. March 15, 1781 - British win costly victory at Guilford Courthouse, NC. April 25, 1781 - General Greene defeated at Hobkirk's Hill, SC. May 15, 1781 - Cornwallis clashed with Greene at Guilford Courthouse, NC. June 6, 1781 - British hold off Americans at Ninety Six, SC . July 6, 1781 - General Anthony Wayne repulsed at Green Springs Farm, VA

By the fall of 1780 three years had elapsed since Burgoyne's surrender at Saratoga. The fortunes of the Americans, instead of improving, had grown worse to the point of desperation. France’s aid had thus far proved to be quite minor, the southern army had been annihilated, US paper money, the Continental had become worthless, US credit abroad hinged on the dwindling fortunes of patriots like Robert Morris and Haym Salomon. The founding Articles of Confederation which were to form the perpetual Union of the United States of America, after four years, had yet to be ratified. Legally, the nation that sought foreign recognition and aid was not a united country as its own "constitution" was no ratified by all 13 states. Prospects of the United States's survival were far past bleak as the country had never been formed!

The army, clothed in rags, half-starved and not paid, was ripe for the mutiny and desertions to the British lines averaged more than 100 a month. Samuel Huntington's Presidential Predecessor, former Continental Congress President Henry Middleton betrayed his fellow patriots and declared a renewed loyalty to King George III. Even George Washington wrote that "he had almost ceased to hope."

In the summer of 1780 the spirit of desertion now seized Washington's greatest General, Benedict Arnold, with whom the British commander had for some time tampered through the mediation of John Andre and an American loyalist, Beverley Robinson. Stung by the injustice he had suffered, and influenced by history surroundings, Arnold made up his mind to play a part like that which General Monk had played in the restoration of Charles II to the British throne. By putting the British in possession of the Hudson river at West Point, Arnold would deliver the British all that they had sought to obtain by the campaigns of 1776-'77. Once West Point was secured the American cause would thus become so hopeless that an occasion would be offered for negotiation.

Want to know about Samuel Huntington  and the 9 other US Presidents before George Washington?   Please buy our book so we can keep the research and the 30,000+ Sites Going.


President Who? Forgotten Founders 

In this landmark work on Early Presidential History, Historian Stanley L. Klos unravels the complex birth of the US Presidency while providing captivating biographies on the Four Presidents of the Continental Congress and ten Presidents of the United States before George Washington.  The book is filled with actual photographs of Pre-Constitutional letters, resolutions, treaties, and laws enacted by the Confederation Congress and signed by the Presidents of the Confederation Congress as “President of the United States.”

From the United Colonies Birth in 1774 to the Constitutional Convention of 1787 the author clearly and concisely maps out the role and duties of the Presidents who led the fledging nation through the Revolutionary War and the formation of the United States under the Articles of Confederation.  Accounts include the birth of the Presidency and the United Colonies in Philadelphia’s City Tavern (Yes the first “convening” of the Continental Congress occurred in a tavern), the US Capitol “road show” as it moved from town to town fleeing the British Military Forces, the 1781ratification of the Articles of Confederation in Philadelphia forming the first US Presidency, the entire US Government being held hostage in Independence Hall in 1783 by its own Military, the near collapse of Confederation Government in 1786 due to its failure to govern under the threat of Shay’s Rebellion, the rebirth of the United States under the Philadelphia Convention of 1787 called to revise the Articles of Confederation and finally President Abraham Lincoln’s use of the Articles of Confederation as his central legal argument to “Preserve the Perpetual Union of the United States of America” in 1861.   

President Who? Forgotten Founders  brings to life the Presidential Personalities from 1774 to 1788 and most importantly sets the historical record straight on Who, Samuel Huntington not George Washington, was the First US President and which State, Virginia not Delaware, was the first to form the Perpetual Union of the United States of America.

Click Here to View Norwich Bulletin Feb. 19, 2004 Story


President Who? Forgotten Founders 

This is a brilliant and most enjoyable book which helps us to rediscover our rich history and heritage. Stan Klos clearly establishes that Virginia -- not Delaware -- became the first State in the Perpetual Union of the United States America ... because it was the first to ratify the Articles of Confederation (1779). You too will want to read his documentation complete with photographs and facsimiles of primary source documents of our lively and enlightening Americana history. 
  -- G. William Thomas, Jr., President,  
 James Monroe Memorial Foundation

A well-written and extremely thought provoking piece of historical scholarship.  By using extensive primary source materials, Stan Klos effectively proves his point that from 1781 to 1789 ten men served as President of the United States in Congress Assembled.  Mr. Klos does not wish to displace George Washington as "Father of Our Country."  Rather, Mr. Klos is seeking recognition for Washington's predecessors.  A must read for anyone interested in American Presidential history.

 -- Greg Priore
   Archivist, William R. Oliver Special Collections Room
   Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh


It is a masterpiece in defining presidential history.  Stanley Klos clearly presents the historic path of the presidency beginning with the first President of the United States in Congress Assembled Samuel Huntington, to the eleventh President, George Washington.  It is a must read for any serious student of American History.  

--  Senator Bill Stanley
     President of the Norwich Historical Society


… a thought provoking argument for “righting” our history books about the very early years of our democracy.  Samuel Huntington, His Excellency the President of the United States in Congress Assembled, indeed! 

- Lee Langston-Harrison, Curator
  James Madison’s Montpelier

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Presidents of the Continental Congress as
The United Colonies of America

Peyton Randolph
September 5, 1774 to October 22, 1774 
and May 20 to May 24, 1775

Henry Middleton

October 22, 1774 to October 26, 1774

John Hancock
October 27, 1775 to July 1, 1776


Presidents of the Continental Congress
United States of America

John Hancock
July 2, 1776 to  October 29, 1777

Henry Laurens
November 1, 1777 to December 9, 1778

John Jay
December 10, 1778 to September 28, 1779

Samuel Huntington
September 28, 1779 to February 28, 1781


Presidents of the United States
In Congress Assembled

Samuel Huntington
1st President of the United States 
in Congress Assembled
March 1, 1781 to July 6, 1781

Thomas McKean
2nd President of the United States 
in Congress Assembled
July 10, 1781 to November 5, 1781

John Hanson
3rd President of the United States 
in Congress Assembled
November 5, 1781 to November 4, 1782

Elias Boudinot
4th President of the United States 
in Congress Assembled
November 4, 1782 to November 3, 1783

Thomas Mifflin
5th President of the United States 
in Congress Assembled
November 3, 1783 to June 3, 1784

Richard Henry Lee
6th President of the United States 
in Congress Assembled
November 30, 1784 to November 23, 1785

John Hancock
7th President of the United States 
in Congress Assembled
November 23, 1785 to June 6, 1786

Nathaniel Gorham
8th President of the United States 
in Congress Assembled
June 1786 - November 13, 1786

Arthur St. Clair
9th President of the United States 
in Congress Assembled
February 2, 1787 to October 29, 1787

Cyrus Griffin
10th President of the United States 
in Congress Assembled
January 22, 1788 to March 4, 1789


Presidents of the United States
United States Constitution


George Washington (F)

John Adams (F)

Thomas Jefferson (D-R)

James Madison (D-R)

James Monroe (D-R)

John Quincy Adams (D-R)

Andrew Jackson (D)

Martin Van Buren (D)

William H. Harrison (W)

John Tyler (W)

James K. Polk (D)

David Atchison (D)*

Zachary Taylor (W)

Millard Fillmore (W)

Franklin Pierce (D)

James Buchanan (D)

Abraham Lincoln (R)

Jefferson Davis (D)**

Andrew Johnson (R)

Ulysses S. Grant (R)

Rutherford B. Hayes (R)

James A. Garfield (R)

Chester Arthur (R)

Grover Cleveland (D)

Benjamin Harrison (R)

Grover Cleveland (D)

William McKinley (R)

Theodore Roosevelt (R)

William H. Taft (R)

Wilson  Woodrow (D)

Warren G. Harding (R)

Calvin Coolidge (R)

Herbert C. Hoover (R)

Franklin D. Roosevelt (D)

Harry S. Truman (D)

Dwight D. Eisenhower (R)

John F. Kennedy (D)

Lyndon B. Johnson (D)

Richard M. Nixon (R)

 Gerald R. Ford (R)

James Earl Carter, Jr. (D)

Ronald Wilson Reagan (R)

George H. W. Bush (R)

William Jefferson Clinton (D)

George W. Bush (R)


*President for One Day

**President Confederate States of America



Current Order of Presidential Succession

The Vice President
Speaker of the House
President pro tempore of the Senate
Secretary of State
Secretary of the Treasury
Secretary of Defense
Attorney General
Secretary of the Interior
Secretary of Agriculture
Secretary of Commerce
Secretary of Labor
Secretary of Health and Human Services
Secretary of Housing and Urban Development
Secretary of Transportation
Secretary of Energy
Secretary of Education
Secretary of Veterans Affairs



National Archives and Records Administration


Control Number NWL-46-ELECTION-1AH1-1
Media Textual records
Descr. Level Item
Record Group 46
File Unit 1AH1
Item 1
Title Governor Samuel Huntington letter transmitting a list of all the persons voted for by the electors in the state of Connecticut for a President and Vice President of the United States
Dates 02/05/1789
Sample Record(s) (larger access file - 104178 bytes)
Creating Org. Congress. Senate.
Record Type/Genre Letters
See Also File Unit Description
Access Unrestricted.
Use Restrictions None.
Items 1 item(s)
Contact Center for Legislative Archives (NWL), National Archives Building, 7th and Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20408 PHONE: 202-501-5350 FAX: 202-219-2176

Electoral College explained: click here

Who Was the First President of the United States?

The obvious answer is George Washington but this is technically incorrect.

The United States of America was actually formed on March 1, 1781 with the adoption of The Articles of Confederation by Maryland whose delegates delayed its ratification over a western border dispute with Virginia and New York. Upon the March 1 ratification the President of the Continental Congress officially became President of the United States in Congress Assembled.  

To make matters even more perplexing some historians claim that John Hanson was the first President of the United States as he was the first person to serve the full one-year term (1781–82), under the ratified Articles of Confederation.  This again is incorrect.

The ratification occurred during the term of Samuel Huntington who served as President from September 28, 1779 to July 6, 1781. Consequently, Samuel Huntington was the first President of the United States in Congress Assembled.

Start your search on Samuel Huntington.

The Congressional Evolution of the United States Henry Middleton

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