American soldier, legislator, and judge.
Practiced law in East Greenwich, Rhode Island. Colonel (1774), then brigadier general (December 1776) in Rhode Island militia. Brigadier general in Continental Army (February 1777); resigned (1779). U.S. Congressman (1780-81, 1787). Director of the Ohio Company (1787). Judge of the Northwest Territory (1788). Active Freemason.
Son of Samuel and Hannah (Mitchell) Varnum of Dracut, Massachusetts. Studied at Harvard and Brown (B.A., 1769). Married Martha Child (1770); no issue.
First letter in correspondence: February 23, 1787; DAB; John A. Garraty and Mark C. Carnes, American National Biography (24 vols., New York, 1999).